The NFL is calling an audible.
Former American Idol contestant Lee DeWyze was scheduled to perform the National Anthem for Sunday's NFC Championship Game at Soldier Field. But the NFL is working to finalize the wishes of the Bears, an organization that clearly wanted Jim Cornelison to perform the honor.
"It's about the fans, and they love the anthem when Jim does it, and this is the biggest championship game ever, so we want it to start right," said Scott Hagel, the Bears senior director of corporate communications.
Cornelison, whose rousing version can be heard at Blackhawks games, performed three times this season, most recently Sunday before the Bears defeated the Seattle Seahawks 35-24. His performance has created a buzz locally and nationally with one clip on Youtube nearing 1 million views.
The newest season of American Idol is about to start on Fox, which is broadcasting the NFC title game. DeWyze, who is from Mount Prospect, was the winner of the ninth season of American Idol.
DeWyze will now perform at halftime instead.
Cornelison is in his fourth season as the Blackhawks' full-time National Anthem singer, although he's performed regularly at the United Center since 1996.
He has a background in opera, and he's performed with Plácido Domingo and Zubin Mehta.
According to his Blackhawks bio, "he's known as a heroic tenor for the dark color of his voice but ability to sing in a tenor range."
Not surprisingly, he's won some awards.
Full disclosure: I've been a lot of events, and I've heard a lot of renditions, most of them very nice. Whitney Houston's at a Super Bowl was beautiful, and Boyz to Men, one of my favorite groups as a teenager, did a cool A cappella version. But Cornelison's was chilling on Sunday, especially capped by the flyover.