West Virginia University police officer Carlton Smith has become an internet sensation after delivering a stunning national anthem performance at a men’s basketball game.

On January 12, Smith was on duty at the WVU Coliseum when university officials approached him with an urgent request. The scheduled singer had been delayed by snow, and they needed someone to sing the anthem in just five minutes.

Smith, a 28-year-old officer and a four-year veteran of the WVU Police Department, is known among his colleagues for his singing talent. He even reached the Hollywood round of “American Idol” during its 13th season. Despite his experience, Smith was taken aback by the sudden request to perform in front of the 14,000-seat Coliseum.

Recalling the moment, Smith said, “They asked if I was Carlton and said they needed a big favor. I asked for some water, and they got it from a cheerleader. Then they walked me to the court and told me to start singing when my name was called.”

The YouTube video of Smith’s performance has been viewed over 2 million times. Smith, who started singing in church as a child, continues to sing at open mic nights with a band during his off-duty hours. “It’s what I love to do,” he shared.

“It’s what I love to do,” he shared.

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