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South Korea’s president receives standing ovation for ‘American Pie’ performance at state dinner

The president didn't need much convincing before taking over the mic and belting out a classic tune.
/ Source: TODAY

The president of South Korea offered up a tune at the White House state dinner that will make you smile.

On April 26, President Yoon Suk Yeol attended the state dinner as a guest of honor alongside Broadway stars Lea Salonga, Norm Lewis and Jessica Vosk. The three singers performed classics like "This Is the Moment,” “Happy Days Are Here Again,” “On My Own,” “Don’t Rain on My Parade” and “Somewhere” for those in attendance.

Still, it was Yoon’s surprise rendition of the classic “American Pie” by Don McLean that stole the show.

According to NBC News, the unexpected performance came about when Jill Biden asked the Broadway trio to sing the song, noting that it was a favorite of the South Korean leader. When the song was over, the first lady urged him to join President Joe Biden on stage.

“We know this is one of your favorite songs, ‘American Pie,’” said the president, to which Yoon confirmed via a translator.

“Yes, that’s true,” Yoon replied. “When I was going to school, it was one of my favorite songs.”

“Well, we want to hear you sing it,” Biden prompted.

Yoon did not need much coaxing before he took the microphone and launched into an a cappella rendition of the song. The audience, which included Angelina Jolie, clapped and cheered and eventually gave him a standing ovation.

Yoon also received an autographed guitar from McLean, who released the classic in 1971.

Up until 2021, the nine-minute-long song held the record for the longest song to reach No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Singer Taylor Swift broke the record two years ago with a 10-minute version of her song “All Too Well." After, Swift sent flowers to McLean with a note thanking him for his music.