There’s just some things you think you’d never see. A dog riding a skateboard. A dog driving a car. A man in a giant robot suit outside your favourite bar. Vodka cheaper than beer. Beyonce lip-syncing.
But I’ve witnessed all of those in my time here in America. The first in New York’s Central Park; the second in the Gaslamp district, San Diego; the third most Thursday nights; the fourth in every supermarket on the West Coast; and the fifth, most dishearteningly, at President Obama’s inauguration ceremony yesterday.
Beyonce, the very image of the modern-day clean-cut honest music superstar, the anti-Britney/Gaga/Madonna/Rihanna, the embodiment of the vocal powerhouse who would be belting out ballads from sunrise to sundown, the last one you’d ever expect to put in anything less than a 100% honest performance… joining the Hollywood Walk of Shame, after being outed as a lip-syncer.
After being praised from here to the moon for her barnstorming, roof-raising performance of ‘Star Spangled Banner’ as the centrepiece of Obama’s star-studded inauguration ceremony (also including Kelly Clarkson and James Taylor), and winning style points for her dramatic ripping out of her in-ear monitor, the US Marine Corps band has confirmed that Queen Bey did in fact not sing live. Instead, her vocals were pre-recorded.
“We did prerecord it and it was Beyoncé’s decision at the last minute to go with the prerecorded version,” a Marines spokesperson told The Times, who broke the story.
“We prerecorded all music as a matter of course and have done since time immemorial,” she said. “This is our 54th inauguration .… There is no question of there not being any music — it’s not because the performer cannot do it.”
So Beyonce made the call. Question is, why? Acclaimed cellist Yo-Yo Ma was caught in a similar snafu at Obama’s 2009 inauguration, with revelations that he “finger-synced” his performance due to freezing temperatures affecting his playing and the instrument. Maybe there is an argument for Beyonce not feeling confident that her voice would hold up in the cold; but then again, it’s confirmed that Kelly Clarkson sang live, so maybe that argument is bogus.
Other stars performed at various inauguration day parties, including Stevie Wonder, Katy Perry, Usher, Alicia Keys, Soundgarden, Mana, and Fun. No word on any lip-syncing at these functions.
It’s a bit of a bummer to have Beyonce join lip-syncing notoriety alongside Madonna, Whitney Houston and Britney Spears. To be fair though, it was a pretty amazing rendition, recorded or not. She held that “braaaaave” note for about 15 seconds. But maybe Vulture Mag went a little overboard with their boldly titled article ‘Who betrayed America more; Lance Armstrong or Beyonce?’