Twenty-four hours after she sang pretty much the best version of the national anthem since Whitney Houston, word is emerging that Beyoncé chose to switch to a pre-recorded version of "The Star Spangled Banner" for Monday's inauguration. Not that anyone wants to believe it — not even the "Beyoncé truthers" — but here's the new evidence that there is no
Santa Claus completely perfect live version of the song:
- Beyoncé switched tracks. The Times of London and The New York Post are both touting midday "exclusives," citing new interviews with the spokesperson for the U.S. Marine Band, who confirms the last-minute switch-up on Inauguration Day. From the Post:
“All music is pre-recorded for the ceremony because there are so many eventualities and conditions that day,” Kristin DuBois, a rep for the band tells Page Six. “We performed, live, the band. But we received last-minute word that Beyonce was going to use the pre-recorded vocal track. Those were the instructions we were given. We don’t know what the reason why.”
And from the Times:
“We all know Beyonce can sing. We do not know why she decide to go with the pre-recorded music at the last minute.”
(Update, 6:08 p.m.: The Marine Corps has "backed off" its statement, and maybe Beyoncé didn't lip-sync after all...)
- Beyoncé had a backing track. Sometimes Beyoncé likes to indulge us and pretend she's mortal, like Kelly Clarkson or Christina Aguilera. And like those mortals, she recorded a backing track, which is pretty standard for people who aren't Beyoncé when singing in huge stadiums where sound can get drowned out.
- Beyoncé may have practiced with the backing track. If this post to her tumblr is any indication:
- Beyoncé barely rehearsed with the band. Obviously, Beyoncé doesn't need to rehearse because Beyoncé is never off. And if Beyoncé's singing is ever sharp, your ears are just listening wrong. But anyways, as Buzzfeed's Amy O'Dell reported, Beyoncé didn't rehearse with the band until the night before the inauguration.
- Beyoncé may have been studying up. Sure, she wanted to get everything right, though this could just be more evidence of recording that back-up track with the band.
- The band didn't really play, either. The Washingtonian's Sophie Gilbert had this assertion:
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.
Ergo, since the band did not play, and the band admitted to switching to the backup track, Beyoncé wasn't really singing. Though in some circles, it's said Beyoncé can sound like any instruments she wants to, and as we know from her (renewed) experience with Destiny's Child, she can do more than carry her own.
But fine, Beyoncé did lip-sync and whatnot — what difference does it make? The "Beyoncé truthers" were taking a pretty sarcastic route when the news broke just before noon:
Plus, the gold standard of all national-anthem performances — Whitney Houston at the Super Bowl, obviously — was lip-synced, too:
And, fine, even if this new magic by Beyoncé wasn't a "live" performance...
...that's still Beyoncé's angelic voice, and that thing was still awesome — and she didn't even use the earpiece (!):
Just ask Chuck Schumer:
And, please, people, let's go easy on Beyoncé.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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