US, Canada in national anthem showdown at NBA finals

Both countries bring out top performers

By Amir Vera, CNN
Getty Images

Musicians James Hetfield and Kirk Hammett of Metallica perform the national anthem prior to Game Five at the Oracle Arena on June 14, 2015 in Oakland, California.

OAKLAND, Calif. - Before the Warriors and Raptors duke it out on the court, another battle royale takes place at the NBA Finals. And if you're skipping it, you're missing out.

It's the Battle of the National Anthem Dominance between the US and Canada.

Here, we look back at the showdown and rank who's winning:

 

Game 1
Jordan Smith vs. The Tenors

 

Jordan Smith, he of the "The Voice" fame, came out swinging. His high notes were pristine; his delivery of the last stanza of "The Star Spangled Banner" was flawless and crisp. It's clear he sang in a church choir growing up.

Representing Canada were The Tenors. Excellent harmony: check. A backing track to give it a symphonic, cinematic feel: check. And yet ...

The winner: Smith. He upstaged a trio by himself.

 

Game 2
Fantasia vs Alessia Cara

 

R&B singer Fantasia did her thing, soulfully rendering the Star Spangled Banner, and making everyone at Jurassic Park -- including former President Barack Obama -- proud to be an American.

Alessia Cara decided to go a cappella for her version of "O Canada." One verse into it, she asked the crowd to join in. "Let me hear you!" she yelled. They obliged ... heartily.

The winner: Both were good, but Cara takes this one for making a national anthem an audience singalong.

 

Game 3
Tenille Arts vs. Metallica

 

Canadian country music singer Tenille Arts brought a little too much vibrato to her performance of "O Canada" at Oracle Arena.

Metallica bandmates James Hetfield and Kirk Hammett didn't need to sing. The metal gods channeled Hendrix and let their guitars do the talking. Nothing is cooler than that.

The winner: Metallica! Arts' performance, meanwhile, was panned online.

 

Game 4
Ne-Yo vs. Walk Off the Earth

 

Three-time Grammy award winner Ne-Yo had a solid performance. Like Fantasia, he essentially turned the U.S. national anthem into an R&B hit.

Multiplatinum recording artists Walk Off the Earth decided to bring a little folksy twist to "O Canada." And they did it with a guitar. Four people. One guitar. It was quite a sight.

Winner: Walk Off the Earth because ... four people playing a guitar!!!

 

Game 5
Monica vs. Doug Tranquada

 

Multiplatinum, Grammy award-winning singer Monica knew that sometimes, less is more. And her restrained performance was smooth enough to give anyone goosebumps.

The crowd joined in singing with opera singer Doug Tranquada, who then left it up to the crowd as he just mouthed the words. The voices of Raptors fans echoed throughout the Scotiabank Arena.

Winner: This was a tough call. Monica was solid and Tranquada would have sealed the deal because of the audience participation -- but didn't we see that with Alessia Cara just a few nights ago? We'll call this one a draw.

So the score still stands at:

Canada: 2

USA: 2

Who knows what's in store for the rest of the finals? If the Canadians bring out Drake, Justin Bieber or Celine Dion, it may be game over.

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