Singing the national anthem before a San Francisco 49ers game can be a pretty effective diet plan.
“I lost four pounds this week,” says Lorena Peril, the vocalist for “Fantasy” at the Luxor who is both a devoted Niners fan and the singer of the national anthem before the team’s home opener against the Detroit Lions.
“I’m very nervous, and I’m very excited,” Peril said in a phone conversation today. “Every time I get asked about it, I say, ‘Hang on!’ and run to the bathroom.”
Peril was chosen as one of five at-large anthem singers for the upcoming 49ers season during a contest hosted by the team and staged at California’s Great America theme park, near the team’s headquarters in Santa Clara, Calif. Peril was the last singer chosen in the finals of the contest and was told the following week that she earned a choice spot as the singer who would open the season before the nationally televised home opener on NBC against the NFC rival Lions.
Peril is not sure if her rendition will actually be televised. The “Football Night America” telecast is set to begin at 5 p.m., with kickoff around 5:30. Typically, games on a national scale -- the Sunday Night and Monday Night Football contests -- are more likely to show the anthem than a game that falls in the regular Sunday morning and afternoon schedules.
Regardless, Peril has been rehearsing for this moment. That is a change in approach from previous anthem assignments, where she has appeared at the Thomas & Mack Center before Runnin’ Rebel basketball games and at the Staples Center before L.A. Kings games and L.A. Clippers contests.
“I don’t want to start too low or too high,” she says. “I don’t want to do a Christina Aguilera thing (meaning singing the song with such force that she might forget the words) and don’t want to change it. I just want to do it right.”
Peril was among 3,000 applicants who responded to an online posting in May on the team’s website inviting singers to take a shot at winning a spot in the lineup of singers to perform during the regular season at Candlestick Park. Contestants turned in clips of themselves singing the anthem along with a head shot.
The Top 33 submissions were invited to a three-hour contest fashioned after “American Idol,” and Peril’s name was called only after the other four winners were called out. It was a monumental moment, and not only because Peril will sing in front of a crowd of 70,000 and (possibly) a national TV audience. She grew up in San Francisco and has been a 49ers fan since Joe Montana was a rookie. Joining her on the field for the big moment is her father, Barry Baker, and husband, Las Vegas rocker Ray Jon Narbaitz, whose band Red Light headlines at Planet Hollywood’s Extra Lounge.
“It’s a lot different when you’re singing for your team. I mean, I was a fan even before I was a singer, and I was a fan even when they sucked,” Peril says. “Now they’re good again. It’s the home opener. I’m just really excited.”