For many singers getting picked to perform the U.S. national anthem at a major event is a huge honor.
The "Star Spangled Banner" is a very difficult song to sing, and artists try their best to switch up the arrangement and put their own spin to it so it stands out from their peers's renditions. Unfortunately, this doesn't always bode well.
While music icons like Whitney Houston and Faith Hill's versions of the patriotic tune have gone down in history as some of the best, not everyone can deliver a stellar performance like theirs as proven by Fergie at the 2018 NBA All-Star Game.
The former Black Eyed Peas singer decided to slow down the tempo for a jazzy rendition that Jimmy Kimmel dubbed "unusually sultry." One Twitter user described it as "Amy Winehouse doing a Britney Spears impersonation" in a now-deleted tweet. You get the picture.
The performance started garnering reactions even before it was over as many of the players and spectators quietly chuckled or wore confused looks on their faces.
To no one's surprise, social media was a lot more vicious in criticizing Fergie's two-and-a-half minute version of the song. Even comedian Roseanne Barr chimed in with a tweet that read, "Who saw Fergie's national anthem performance at the NBA All Star Game? I think mine was better lowkey."
Barr was referring to her infamous rendition of the anthem at a 1990 San Diego Padres and Cincinnati Reds baseball game.
Someone went as far as saying that the way she performed the song was "way more disrespectful to the anthem than kneeling."
Fergie didn't initially comment on her performance, but after all the backlash, she released a statement of apology, in which she also explained why she sang it that way.
Fergie admitted that she understands why people did not like her performance, but she just "wanted to try something special for the NBA."
“I’m a risk taker artistically, but clearly this rendition didn’t strike the intended tone," she continued. "I love this country and honestly tried my best."
Despite the waves of criticism, numerous celebrities like Mariah Carey and Shaquille O'Neal came to the singer's defense. Carey advised Fergie to ignore the criticism saying, “Dahling, nobody needs to listen to that."
While Fergie was definitely the center of attention, she wasn't the only one who had some explaining to do after the event. Kimmel explained on his late-night show why he was seen grinning during the anthem.
“I feel like I need to address something that happened Sunday night at the NBA All-Star Game I was at the game with my son Kevin and, somehow, I became a part of a National Anthem fiasco,” Kimmel said
He continued, “In hindsight, trying to work in the words ‘my humps my humps, my lovely lady lumps’ may have been a mistake." He is referring to the Black Eyed Peas song "My Humps."
“It’s not like she was intentionally trying to ruin the song, and in Fergie’s defense, we don’t know what Francis Scott Key was thinking when he wrote the ‘Star-Spangled Banner.’ Maybe he wanted it to be sexy," he added.
He also said that while he understands Fergie's need to take a risk and sing the anthem differently, it was not necessary. “Here’s the thing about taking risks when it comes to the national anthem: Don’t. Just don’t,” Kimmel said. “Don’t take risks when you’re doing brain surgery, don’t take risks driving a school bus – or singing the national anthem. Just regular is fine."
I couldn't agree more with Kimmel's conclusion. Simplicity is key when it comes to singing the anthem, so here's hoping other artists will learn from Fergie's mistake when they're invited to perform the song in the future.
What did you think of her performance? Let us know in the comments!