NORTH GREENFIELD, Ind. — Steven Tyler says he meant to sing the national anthem like that.
The Aerosmith frontman and "American Idol" judge endured plenty of jabs after his rendition of the anthem at the AFC Championship game last month, but Tyler says he doesn't understand what all the fuss was about.
"I don't know. As I said before, I put emphasis on, 'In the land of the free' and I went up," Tyler explained. "Oddly enough I hit the note so I don't know what they are talking about. I emphasized 'free' which was for freedom. It was well thought out prior to. I wasn't messing with American tradition."
Enduring negative criticism at that football game did not stop Tyler from enjoying pre-Super Bowl festivities with Carrie Underwood. The duo is in Indianapolis for CMT's "Crossroads," which brings acts from different genres together to perform. It's not the first time the two have sung together: They performed a duet at the Academy of Country Music Awards last year.
"I just love to sing and I love her stuff. A good friend of mine writes songs with her. When I heard 'Undo It,' I said, 'What is that?' That is an Aerosmith song, right? I am going to finish recording that with you. He said, 'No, I wrote that with Carrie, it is coming out in a week,'" he said. "I met her and it was all over after that, once I looked into her eyes. She opened her mouth and sang and she is that good. I loved singing with her."
The two rehearsed Thursday evening in North Greenfield, just outside of Indianapolis, ahead of their scheduled Saturday show (it will air the same night on the network). The former "Idol" champ says she enjoys working with the lively Tyler because he "makes everybody all warm and fuzzy."
While Tyler, closely connected to Boston for years, made clear he was rooting for the New England Patriots in Sunday's game against the New York Giants, Underwood demurred when asked to name her pick. In her house, she says hockey is the main focus, since husband Mike Fisher is a professional hockey player in Nashville.
"He is Canadian so I have had to switch his focus from so much hockey to a little football because we watch a lot of hockey," she said. "I love watching him and I love watching the Predators."
Alicia Quarles is the AP's Global Entertainment and Lifestyles editor. Follow her at http://www.twitter.com/aliciaquarles