Washington - Malea Emma Tjandrawidjaja clutched the microphone and looked at the crowd for a moment before gazing into the camera.
Wearing a white LA Galaxy jersey almost as big as she is, the 7-year-old, labelled as “tiny but mighty” by the MLS team’s public address announcer, was ready to perform the national anthem on Sunday in front of more than 25 000 fans at StubHub Center in Los Angeles.
After humming the first line to herself, the little Los Angeles native raised her left arm and began. If she was nervous, it wasn’t evident. She was crushing it.
Less than two minutes later, Malea Emma had belted out a striking rendition that was part Christina Aguilera and part Whitney Houston - and all soul. Fans and players, including legendary forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic, were left wondering whether they just witnessed the birth of a star.
“I was thinking that I cannot do anything wrong because it’s a really special song to America,” Malea Emma said to ABC News.
Since then, Malea Emma’s performance has gone viral, not only stealing the show from the men on the pitch but also turning Sunday’s national anthem into a celebration of a prodigy who has wanted to sing since she was 1.