After causing controversy at the NBA All-Star Game on Sunday with a slowed-down jazzy rendition of the National Anthem, Fergie has issued a formal apology for her divisive performance.
“I’ve always been honored and proud to perform the national anthem and last night I wanted to try something special for the NBA,” she said in a statement acquired by PEOPLE. “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.”
Taking the court at Los Angeles’ Staples Center in a formfitting black dress, the 42-year-old “A Little Work” singer performed a sultry rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” reworking the tune to more of a jazzy beat.
“It actually didn’t sound so bad at first,” one attendee tells PEOPLE. “Everyone was just trying to figure out what was going on. Like, was she about to break out into a different song? Then she started doing all those ranges and it just went downhill.”
At points, the star appeared to struggle to hit notes, though she closed out the tune with some impressive vibrato, telling the arena, “Let’s play some basketball!”
Throughout the performance, the camera caught an array of expressions of those on the court and in the crowd at the game.
“Players and celebs seemed surprised by her rendition of the anthem,” says another source who was present. “After the performance she didn’t seem fazed.”
- Reporting by JEFF NELSON