The NBA All-Star Game kicked off Sunday the way it always does. Well, sort of.
Players took the court, and fans rose to their feet to hear the singing of the National Anthem by famous pop artist Fergie. What everyone was not expecting from this performance, however, was Fergie’s decision to “completely reinvent it in the most insane and enthralling way possibly,” according to The New Yorker.
Fergie sang a slower, jazz-inspired version of the National Anthem, which included a wide range of notes. While the star sang the well-known song, various celebrities, such as Chance the Rapper and Stephen Curry, were smiling and holding back laughter.
— Urban Society (@UrbanSociety__) February 20, 2018
Due to the amount of criticism this performance immediately received, Fergie formally apologized Monday.
“I love this country,” Fergie told PEOPLE, “and I honestly tried my best.”
After watching the singer’s performance, an SMU student with a passion for music, Madi McLaughlin, was conflicted about Fergie’s execution of the anthem.
“Fergie definitely added her own style to the national anthem,” McLaughlin said. “But I think…making the national anthem too jazzy took away from a song that is usually good.”
SMU Belle Tones member Margaret Ebinger said it is difficult to receive praise when altering a long-standing tradition.
“Fergie definitely made a bold stylistic choice,” Ebinger said. “And that doesn’t always go over well, especially when it comes to classics like the Anthem.”
Critics were not pleased with Fergie’s performance, which was not what Fergie was expecting when she took center court at the Staples’ Center.
“I’m a risk taker artistically,” she told People. “But clearly this rendition didn’t strike the intended tone.”