Marc Anthony on singing 'God Bless America': 'If I'm not qualified, I don't know who is'

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By Randee Dawn

Marc Anthony may have just released his 11th studio album, but he's calling it "3.0," in part a clear reference to a reinvention of his public persona. The Grammy winner trotted that new, upgraded self onto the TODAY plaza Tuesday to rock out with a brand new salsa-flavored song, "Vivir Mi Vida" ("It's My Life") — and talk to Matt Lauer and Savannah Guthrie about the controversy that popped up over another tune he recently sang.

"It's like a whole new and improved me," he joked about "3.0," noting it was a "little tongue-in-cheek" reference — and that someone else had taken "2.0" already.

But he was more serious in responding to Lauer's question about Anthony's performance at Major League Baseball's All-Star Game on July 16, where he sang "God Bless America" and surprisingly drew some criticism on Twitter and the Internet, with some non-fans who apparently didn't think he was "qualified" to sing that famous anthem.

"If I'm not qualified, I don't know who is," said Anthony. "I was born and raised in New York; I'm an American; I'm Puerto Rican. And for those who don't know, Puerto Rico is a territory of the US to start with.

"But if you think about it," he added astutely, "Irving Berlin was a Russian-Jewish immigrant who wrote 'God Bless America.' Just think about that for one second." (Berlin was born in modern-day Belarus, which at the time was part of the Russian Empire.)

Anthony didn't linger on the controversy, however; he was ready to get his music out. And even 11 albums in, he says he feels younger than ever. "I literally feel like I'm 18 all over again, and I have so much more to do!" he said.