Tori Kelly will sing the National Anthem at Saturday’s (May 1) 147th Kentucky Derby. According to USA Today, the two-time Grammy winner is boning up on her horse sense in advance of the gig, the first leg of the Triple Crown renowned for the often wild fashions sported by attendees who descend on Louisville’s Churchill Downs for the annual tradition.
“I’m stoked because I’ve always wanted to go to the Kentucky Derby,” Kelly told the paper. “It’s such an iconic event and historic event. It’s all really exciting.” Knowing that she has to bring her hat A-game, Kelly added that she’d be “crazy” not to fully embrace the event’s legendary vibe. She’s already had a fitting with her stylist and plans to rock a custom fascinator on Saturday, where anyone who’s anyone makes the scene with eye-catching, unnecessarily elaborate headwear.
And though she said she hasn’t yet tried the Derby’s traditional drink of choice, the Mint Julep, Kelly plans to pour one up on Saturday. She’s already a “Star-Spangled Banner” veteran, with performances at a number of NFL games, as well as an ace at singing the notoriously tricky anthem while following COVID-19 protocols at such previous events as last year’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and the Rockefeller Center tree lighting ceremony.
“I’m so grateful to even be getting asked to do these things through COVID,” Kelly said, noting that she has no problem following whatever protocols are necessary to keep herself and others safe. “It doesn’t throw me off too much as far as mental preparation and getting ready for the performance because I’m just so happy to be there.”
The Kentucky Derby will air on NBC at 5 p.m. ET on Saturday.
— 🟣 Ralphie Aversa (@ralphieaversa) April 26, 2021