“I’ve always been honored and proud to perform the national anthem and last night I wanted to try something special for the NBA. I’m a risk taker artistically, but clearly this rendition didn’t strike the intended tone,” the former Black Eyed Peas singer said in a statement to media outlets. “I love this country and honestly tried my best.”
Fergie’s jazz-inspired, sultry performance of the national anthem sparked an outcry on social media, with some calling it “the worst rendition ever.”
NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley joked on the TNT broadcast that he “needed a cigarette” after her performance, while fellow Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal came to her defense.
“Fergie, I love you,” he said. “It was different. It was sexy. I liked it. Leave her alone.”
The telecast scored in ratings for TNT and TBS. The game drew a 4.3 U.S. household rating and 5.1 million household impressions – both up 2% – the best for the event since 2013, based on Nielsen Fast Nationals. Last night’s telecast also saw double-digit increases across all key demos for TNT and TBS.