(Reuters) – Pink will get the Super Bowl party started by singing the national anthem before the championship game in Minneapolis on Feb. 4, the NFL said on Monday.
The performance will mark the Grammy award-winning singer’s first appearance on the Super Bowl stage, which has been graced by artists such as Luke Bryan, Lady Gaga and Idina Menzel in recent years.
Performances of the national anthem have been a major talking point during the NFL season as players have used the occasion to take knees, sit or link arms during the song to protest about racial inequality and police brutality in the U.S.
The protests have been criticized by the Trump Administration, which has chosen to interpret the demonstrations as offensive to the U.S. military.
Vice President Mike Pence walked out of an NFL game in Indianapolis earlier this season when players protested during the anthem.
The NFL previously announced that singer Justin Timberlake would headline the halftime show.
The NFL also announced on Monday that Alexandria Wailes will perform in American Sign Language both the national anthem and “America The Beautiful.”
The Super Bowl is the most-watched event on U.S. television, drawing more than 100 million viewers.
(Reporting by Rory Carroll, editing by Pritha Sarkar)