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Beyonce wasn’t taking any chances Monday.
The Grammy-winning superstar was slated to perform the National Anthem at President Barack Obama‘s inauguration ceremony, but instead of singing live, she allegedly lip-synced to a recorded version of the song. Members of the Marine Corps Band, which was set to back her instrumentally, played live.
“We don’t know why Beyonce decided to use prerecorded music,” a spokesperson for the Marine Corps Band told the London Times (via the Washingtonian). “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 Beyonce wanted to use the recording.”
Later, the Marine Corps issued another statement, with less-definitive remarks, throwing their initial admission into question.
“The Presidential Inaugural Committee (PIC) requested that the Marine Band accompany Beyonce Knowles-Carter in the performance of the Star-Spangled Banner at the 2013 Inaugural Ceremony. However, there was no opportunity for Ms. Knowles-Carter to rehearse with the Marine Band before the Inauguration so it was determined that a live performance by the band was ill-advised for such a high-profile event. Each piece of music scheduled for performance in the Inauguration is pre-recorded for use in case of freezing temperatures, equipment failure, or extenuating circumstances. Regarding Ms. Knowles-Carter’s vocal performance, no one in the Marine Band is in a position to assess whether it was live or pre-recorded.”
Mid-performance, Beyonce pulled out her earpiece, which ostensibly was being used to time her lip movements to the music; how she was able to continue to perfectly time her singing could be a result of having performed the song so often.
Other performers Monday included Kelly Clarkson, James Taylor and the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir; there has been no indication that they did not perform their songs live.
Beyonce sang “At Last” at the 2009 Inaugural Ball for the president and first lady and, along with husband Jay-Z, has become close with the first family.
In 2009, Jennifer Hudson lip-synced the National Anthem at the Super Bowl, and Faith Hill lipped along with a prerecorded “America the Beautiful.” And Whitney Houston lip-synced her famous rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” at the 1991 Super Bowl.
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