Jimmy Kimmel Explains His On-Camera Reaction to Fergie's 'Unusually Sultry' National Anthem

Fergie‘s much-mocked national anthem performance had many in attendance at the 2018 NBA All-Star game reacting in different ways, including celebrities and athletes who were caught on camera. One of them being: Jimmy Kimmel.

Two days after the singer’s viral jazzy rendition, the late-night host, 50, explained his grinning response during Tuesday’s Jimmy Kimmel Live!, clarifying that he didn’t realize his front row reaction was being filmed.

“I feel like I need to address something that happened Sunday night at the NBA All-Star Game I was at the game with my son Kevin and, somehow, I became a part of a National Anthem fiasco,” Kimmel said during his opening monologue.

“Fergie gave an unusually sultry version of our National Anthem,” he shared.

“In hindsight, trying to work in the words ‘my humps my humps, my lovely lady lumps’ may have been a mistake,” he said, making reference to her lyrics from her 2005 song “My Humps” with former band The Black Eyed Peas.

Jimmy Kimmel at the 2018 NBA All-Star game
Jimmy Kimmel at the 2018 NBA All-Star game

Kimmel also recalled how he received multiple messages on his cell phone right after Fergie, 42, finished belting out the national anthem.

“I didn’t realize I was on camera – but then my phone started just buzzing with text after text and I was like ‘Oh, I think I might have been on camera,’ ” he said. “Fergie even apologized for her performance. She said she tried her best and the reasons she decided to sing the song that way because she is a ‘risk taker.’ ”

The 2018 Oscars host even gave the former Black Eyed Peas band member some advice about future performances of the “Star-Spangled Banner” which was written by Francis Scott Key in 1814.


“Here’s the thing about taking risks when it comes to the national anthem: Don’t. Just don’t,” Kimmel said. “Don’t take risks when you’re doing brain surgery, don’t take risks driving a school bus – or singing the national anthem. Just regular is fine.”

Adding, “It’s not like she was intentionally trying to ruin the song, and in Fergie’s defense, we don’t know what Francis Scott Key was thinking when he wrote the ‘Star-Spangled Banner.’ Maybe he wanted it to be sexy.”

Other A-listers at the Sunday game whose reactions were filmed included Cardi B, Chris Rock and Chance the Rapper as well as the league’s most popular basketball stars LeBron James, Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, Kevin Durant and Karl Anthony Towns.

The following day, Fergie issued an apology after causing controversy for her unique 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,” the mother of one 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.”