'Clearly this rendition didn't strike the intended tone:' Fergie sorry after U.S. anthem blowback
Slow, bluesy rendition of The Star-Spangled Banner divides fans, viewers
Fergie is apologizing after trying something different with the national anthem at the NBA All-Star Game.
"I've always been honoured and proud to perform the national anthem and last night I wanted to try something special for the NBA," the Grammy-winning singer said in a statement Monday.
"I'm a risk taker artistically, but clearly this rendition didn't strike the intended tone. I love this country and honestly tried my best."
Fergie's slow, bluesy rendition of The Star-Spangled Banneron Sunday night wasn't particularly well received at Staples Center or on social media before the 67th edition of the NBA's annual showcase.
A low chuckle rumbled through the sold-out arena after she finished the first line of the song with a throaty growl on "the dawn's early light."
Fans throughout the star-studded crowd reacted with varying levels of bemusement and enthusiasm while her languid, 2 1/2-minute version of the song continued. Although Fergie was on pitch, her tempo, musical accompaniment and sexy delivery were not exactly typical for a sporting event or a patriotic song.
Golden State All-Star Draymond Green captured Sunday's mood — and became an instant GIF — when he was shown open-mouthed on the scoreboard and the television broadcast in apparent confusion over the unique vocal stylings. Green then chuckled to himself after realizing he was on TV.
Draymond Green can't keep a straight face at Fergie's anthem 😂<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NBAAllStar?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NBAAllStar</a> <a href="https://t.co/RjWCheo7vx">pic.twitter.com/RjWCheo7vx</a>—@Efawcett7
After a forceful finish, Fergie finally got big cheers when she shouted, "Let's play some basketball!"
The Black Eyed Peas singer, born Stacy Ann Ferguson, is from nearby Hacienda Heights, Calif.
Shaq, Barkley have mixed reactions
Famed basketball commentator Charles Barkley joked that he "needed a cigarette" after Fergie's performance during the TNT halftime show.
Former Lakers star Shaquille O'Neal leaped to Fergie's defence, saying: "Fergie, I love you. It was different. It was sexy. I liked it. Leave her alone."
Others on social media weren't as kind, with criticism of the performance outpacing the positive reviews.
The Forum in nearby Inglewood, Calif., was the site of arguably the most famous national anthem in sports history during another NBA All-Star Game 35 years ago.
Marvin Gaye's touching rhythm-and-blues version of The Star-Spangled Banner at the 1983 game was initially criticized, but has since gained widespread acceptance as a groundbreaking musical performance.
Instead, Fergie is more likely to join the long list of curious versions of the anthem, even though she showed far more impressive vocal chops than the likes of Roseanne Barr or Carl Lewis.
Who saw Fergie's national anthem performance at the NBA All Star Game? I think mine was better lowkey—@therealroseanne
Now y’all know the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Fergie?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Fergie</a> National wasn’t worse than when Carl Lewis thought he could sing it before the Bulls game... lol “Uh Oh” <a href="https://t.co/laguOaZjF2">pic.twitter.com/laguOaZjF2</a>—@MooreAshleyE