American Idol winner forced to apologize for 'disrespectful' version of the National Anthem
| Last updated
Featured Image Credit: Eric McCandless/ABC via Getty Images / Daniel Shirey/MLB Photos via Getty Images
American Idol winner Iam Tongi has apologised for a performance of the National Anthem that has been dubbed ‘disrespectful’.
The 18-year-old musician performed at the 2023 MLB Home Run Derby at T-Mobile Park in Seattle on Monday (10 July).
As the crowd rose to their feet and removed their hats for the National Anthem to pay their respects, Tongi kept his hat on.
“First try at signing the National Anthem. So nervous that it was in front of such a huge crowd. And apologise for being so nervous and forgot to take off the hat.”
He promised to ‘try to do better next time’ in a tweet to his 20,800 followers, which was accompanied with a video of his performance.
“Tens of thousands of people. I walk out and my uncle reminds me to remove my hat before I start singing. I remember. A few seconds later the nerves took in and didn’t remember until it was all done I will try to do better next time," he wrote on Twitter.
The performance garnered some criticism on social media, with one Twitter user writing: “Is it just me but anyone else think it’s disrespectful for Iam Tongi sings the national anthem and doesn’t remove his cap #HomeRunDerby.”
However, his apology and explanation, as well as the Tongi’s rendition of The Star Spangled Banner, were well-received by many.”
One proud viewer declared: “You nailed it. No worries, you did America proud.”
Another fan commented: “Great job performing our National Anthem! Most of us would be petrified with that task. No offense taken, and thanks for showing everyone how to be honest!”
A third tweeted: “You did an amazing job, brought tears to my eyes. I can see the pride you took in singing the anthem. It took just as much nerve to realize you forgot and acknowledge it as it did to stand up in front of all those people and sing. God bless!”
A fourth gushed: "Brah your performance was absolutely patriotic and inspiring. Your voice resonated with so much passion and talent," one person tweeted. "Don’t worry about the hat, it’s a tiny blip compared to the incredible impact you made on that huge stage."
Another penned: "You were awesome young man. For some reason every time I hear you sing I get emotional. So proud of you. We voted for you every round I know you will learn to remove your hat. Much success."