Basketball fans at the Tuesday night game between West Virginia University and Kansas were treated to an incredible “The Star-Spangled Banner” performance by a local police officer on security duty for the event after the scheduled singer got caught in traffic. The cop, Officer Carlton Smith, stepped up to the mic after scheduled singer, Leslie Dorchester, was unable to get to the event due to a snowstorm. The officer, who was also a 2014 American Idol contestant, took her place and left the crowd stunned.
The Daily Mail reports that Officer Carlton Smith left the fans at a college basketball game stunned when he took to the mic to give an impromptu “The Star-Spangled Banner” performance after a local singer was caught in a snowstorm and couldn’t make it to the event. The report indicates that Carlton attended the event as a security officer but turned out to be the unlikely star of the evening.
The officer took to the court to kick off the game with his stirring rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Carlton was at the event working security when he was informed that the singer who had been scheduled for the event, Leslie Dorchester, was not going to be able to make it to the game in time due to a snowstorm and traffic. Therefore, Smith was asked to take her place as he was a former American Idol contestant in 2014.
— Steven Staffileno (@WVUSTUD) January 15, 2016
The whole thing came to fruition when someone working at the stadium remembered that Officer Carlton Smith was an American Idol contestant and could likely sing “The Star-Spangled Banner” in Dorchester’s place.
“They were like, ‘Hey, we need a favor. Can you sing the anthem?’ I said, ‘how long do I have?’ They said ‘about five minutes.'”
Smith agreed and took to the court for his big moment. Once in the center-court, Carlton belted out “The Star-Spangled Banner” leaving the fans going wild. As Carlton exited the court, the fans can be heard cheering and applauding the officer. Fortunately, the entire thing was captured on video.
— Blue Ribbon Walk PA (@BlueWalkPoconos) January 15, 2016
According to Inside Edition, Officer Carlton Smith says he takes singing “The Star-Spangled Banner” very seriously. He says that any opportunity he is given to sing the song is a “big deal.”
“Any chance I get to do the national anthem is always a big deal to me. I was just basically hoping I didn’t mess it up too much.”
Meanwhile, the singer who was scheduled for the event, Leslie Dorchester, says she was devastated when she got stuck in the traffic. She claims that when she realized she wasn’t going to make it in her vehicle she tried parking her car and running in the snow and ice to get to the venue. However, she didn’t make it and Officer Smith was given the opportunity to show off his amazing chops.
Leslie is taking the whole ordeal in stride and says that sometimes “good things happen to those are late” and thanks Inside Edition for the interview.
— Leslie Dorchester (@lesliejbarton) January 16, 2016
Many people are taking to social media to praise Officer Smith’s performance, noting that his performance is telling of his ability as he had no time to prepare for the big event. What do you think about Officer Carlton Smith’s rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner”?
[Image via screenshot Youtube/GFCoyle]