On July 10, the spotlight was on Seattle as the much-anticipated 2023 Home Run Derby took place. The event gathered all the league’s top power hitters, promising an unforgettable night of jaw-dropping home runs and exciting baseball action. Fans and spectators eagerly awaited the display of raw talent and impressive hitting prowess from the league’s sluggers.
To commemorate the festivities at T-Mobile Park, the talented Hawaiian singer Iam Tongi was chosen to perform the National Anthem. At just 18 years old, Tongi had already skyrocketed to fame by winning the prestigious singing competition, American Idol, during the 21st season in 2023. Her selection to sing the National Anthem added an extra touch of excitement and star power to the Home Run Derby event.
While a baseball game is the perfect setting for donning a baseball hat, Tongi made an oversight during his National Anthem performance by forgetting to remove his headwear. Traditionally, it is considered a sign of respect to take off one’s hat while the national anthem is being sung. As expected, many noticed the mistake during the event’s coverage, and videos of the incident started circulating on social media.
Why netizens are backlashing Tongi?
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. of the Toronto Blue Jays achieved his first career victory in the Home Run Derby. While the focus of the event was mainly on the impressive battle, some online commentators directed criticism toward Tongi after his performance.
On July 10, Tongi performed the National Anthem at Seattle’s T-Mobile Park. However, as he took the stage in front of the enthusiastic crowd, he unintentionally made a symbolic mistake. He forgot to remove his Seattle Mariners hat, which is a customary sign of showing respect to the United States while singing the anthem.
Some online commentators criticized Tongi for not removing his hat during the anthem, which they interpreted as a sign of disrespect. It is worth noting that before the anthem was performed over the PA system, all fans were reminded to remove their headwear as a customary practice.
Tongi apologized for his mistake
After the singer later posted a video of his performance on YouTube, he took the opportunity to explain the reason behind forgetting to remove his hat during the National Anthem. He confessed that it was his first time singing the anthem in front of such a massive crowd, and the nerves got the best of him.
He felt extremely nervous, which caused him to overlook the customary gesture of taking off his hat as a sign of respect. In the caption of the video, he apologized for his nervousness and the unintentional oversight during the performance. The day after his performance, Iam took to Twitter to further elaborate on the situation. He admitted that he didn’t realize the mishap at the time, but he received a head-up from his uncle about the tradition of removing the hat during the anthem.
Tongi wrote, “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 I didn’t remember until it was all done. I will try to do better next time.” Despite the incident during the national anthem performance, Iam’s fans rallied around him with unwavering support. They quickly took to the comments section of his social media posts to shower him with kind words and encouragement.