Police Officer Steps Up to Sing National Anthem When Singer Doesn’t Show Up

If you grew up in the United States, you probably sang the National Anthem at some time and maybe several times. Most of us know the Star Spangled Banner by heart, but very few of us would be willing to stand in front of a crowd and sing it live. Alone. I’m just not that confident. For one thing, I’m not a great singer, but it’s a famously difficult song to sing because it has a couple of really high notes. Well, we stumbled upon a video that we just had to share with our readers. A few years ago, a police officer was working at a basketball game when he got asked to do something a bit outside of the line of duty.

Carlton Smith is a 28-year-old West Virginia University policeman who became a viral celebrity of sorts after singing a soul-stirring national anthem performance when the singer who was scheduled to sing the song got their vehicle stuck in snow and couldn’t make it. Smith was working at the WVU Coliseum at a men’s basketball game on January 12th when officials at the game rushed over to him. Carlton recalls that the officials asked him if he was Carlton and he confirmed that he was.

Whitney Houston Spar Spangled Banner National Anthem
Hear Whitney Houston sing the Star Spangled Banner, Amazon

The officials told him that they were able to ask a huge favor of him and they explained that they didn’t have anyone to sing the Star Spangled Banner. Smith had only five minutes to prepare himself and get his nerve up. Yikes! No pressure, right? As it turns out, Smith has a reputation among his co-workers for being a good singer, and he even reached the Hollywood round on the 13th season of American Idol. So Smith is a dude who knows how to perform under pressure.

Police Officer Carlton Smith American Idol Sings National Anthem at Basketball Game

Smith said that he would normally give himself an hour or more to warm up before singing and get his vocal cords ready, but there was no time. As you’ll see in the performance below, that wasn’t a worry at all. Enjoy.

A beautiful performance!