National Museum of American History Announces Grand Prize Winner of National Anthem YouTube Singing Contest

May 18, 2009

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, home of the Star-Spangled Banner, the flag that inspired the national anthem, announced today that Jordan Shelton of Arvada, Colo., was selected as the grand-prize winner of the Star-Spangled Banner YouTube Singing Contest, held in partnership with USA Weekend Magazine. Shelton’s performance can be found at this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mq6-hxM94i4.

Shelton was chosen from 15 semi-finalists who had been selected according to popularity on YouTube, vocal performance, originality and accuracy of lyrics. A diverse group of 868 people from all age groups, ethnic backgrounds and across the country originally entered in the contest. The top video was chosen by a panel of celebrity judges and representatives from the Smithsonian, the Baltimore Orioles and USA Weekend Magazine.

A Colorado native, Shelton has been singing on stage since age 3 when she sang “America the Beautiful” at church camp. She performs often at weddings, local venues and sports events. Together with her husband, a former U.S. Marine Corps staff sergeant, she enjoys spending time in the mountains.

“I want to congratulate Ms. Shelton on winning the contest and look forward to having her showcase her talent at the museum June 14, Flag Day,” said Brent D. Glass, director of the museum. “Most of all, we want to thank all the participants for taking part in the Smithsonian’s first You Tube contest and for being engaged with their flag and their anthem.”
 
The following artists generously agreed to donate their time and expertise to select the winning performance:

Tampa Bay, Fla., pop singer-songwriter DeLyn released her debut album “DeLyn ElektroFrotonic” in 2006 that features the hit single “Waiting.” DeLyn supports the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation through the sale of this album.

José Feliciano, international, multiple Grammy Award-winning guitarist and singer of Puerto Rican descent, is well known for performing the national anthem during the 1968 World Series and his personalized Latin Jazz rendition became a charted top-40 recording.

Residing in Washington, D.C., Marcus Johnson is a jazz keyboardist, composer and producer who recently released a three-CD series, each debuting in the Top 15 on Billboard’s Contemporary Jazz charts. Johnson’s mission is to promote jazz to the masses, and he cites Thelonius Monk as an early influence.

Jordin Sparks is an American pop singer-songwriter who rose to fame as the winner of the sixth season of TV’s “American Idol.” Her self-titled debut album went platinum in the Unites States and garnered an American Music Award for Favorite Artist: Adult Contemporary Music, a National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Award for Outstanding New Artist and a Grammy nomination in 2008.

As the grand-prize winner, Shelton will perform the national anthem at the museum and at the Baltimore Orioles versus Atlanta Braves game in Baltimore on Flag Day, June 14. She and a guest will receive a trip to Washington, D.C., including airfare, hotel accommodation for three nights, tickets and transportation to the game and $400 spending money. Air fare will be provided courtesy of Grand Blanc Travel. The JW Marriott hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue will provide lodging.

To view all entries in the contest, visit http://www.youtube.com/group/Starspangledbanner.

The National Museum of American History collects, preserves and displays American heritage in the areas of social, political, cultural, scientific and military history. To learn more about the museum, please visit http://americanhistory.si.edu. For Smithsonian information, the public may call (202) 633-1000, (202) 633-5285 (TTY).