Inauguration scandal: Did Beyonce lip-sync the National Anthem?
posted at 12:41 pm on January 22, 2013 by Ed Morrissey
It’s not exactly a shock when some performers choose to lip-sync to prerecorded versions of songs during special appearances at events. Some songs are difficult to reproduce live, outside of a well-equipped concert tour, especially for artists who make extensive use of studio magic to produce a specific sound. But, er … the National Anthem?
Beyoncé sang the national anthem at yesterday’s inauguration ceremony for President Obama and received overwhelming praise for her performance, ranging from Business Insider (“It was just amazing”) to TMZ (“f*cking awesome”).
But to close observers, it appeared the performer was not singing live. To press seated just below the podium, in front of the “President’s Own” Marine Corps Band, it was evident that the band wasn’t actually playing during the song—even though band director Colonel Michael J. Colburn was conducting energetically and the band members mimicked blowing into their instruments. Separately, at one point during her performance, Beyoncé removed her earpiece.
And later, in an update …
UPDATE January 22, 12:10 PM: “We don’t know why Beyoncé decided to use prerecorded music,” a spokesperson for the Marine Corps Band told us this morning. “All music [for inaugural ceremonies] is prerecorded as a matter of course, and that’s something we’ve done for years and years. The Marine Band did perform live throughout the ceremony but we received last-minute word that Beyoncé wanted to use the recording.” The spokesperson also added that everyone knows Beyoncé is a gifted singer, and her decision has no bearing on her musical ability.
Singing at an inauguration is such a singular event that one would think a performer would be anxious to perform live — or step aside to let someone else do it.