The day that the White House and everyone else started to get a little too sick of "Beyoncé-Gate" ended with word arriving from Beyoncé's camp and an inaugural source that she did, in fact, mouth the national anthem over a pre-recorded track at inauguration on Monday. And that might be as good an answer as we will ever receive on this strange little bit of history — at least until the Super Bowl.
Actually, the response from near the singer's team comes in the form of a "source" who talked to US Weekly. This "source" explained that Beyoncé did, as the Marine Corps said late Tuesday in a turnaround, decide at the last minute to sing over a vocal track with the Marine band — and that "she didn't think there was anything wrong with it." The "source" continued, seemingly speaking for most sane people: "Pavarotti has done it! It was freezing out, and if she messed up just one note, that would have been the story." Beyoncé was afraid of messing up? Clearly, that's not possible because that would mean she's not perfect and what would we have left to believe in? Anyway, ultimately "the insider" said "She did sing, but used a track."
The tabloid report arrived late Wednesday afternoon as an "inaugural official" told CNN's Jim Acosta that Beyoncé "did not sing live." The official elaborated the same confusion that has made this a weirdly huge and intriguing story for one otherwise very excellent rendition of the "Star Spangled Banner":
"Because she didn't have time to rehearse with the Marine Band, she decided to use her recording with the Marine Band," the official added. "It was all Beyoncé."
The official was somewhat puzzled by Beyoncé's decision, noting when she made the pre-recording, "she was spot on."
So why isn't Beyoncé explaining herself in some way? Her Tumblr is filled with gorgeous photos of the inauguration, and yet contains no hand-written note or anything about her controversy. Following the lip-syncing controversy over Whitney Houston's stunning performance of the anthem at the 1991 Super Bowl, there were ultimately multiple statements made by people representing Houston. Maybe we'll get one from Beyoncé (or Beyoncé's people) eventually, but remember, she has a Super Bowl halftime performance coming up herself, one in which she likely intended to use some form of pre-recorded track, as that is common practice at these things.
In the meantime, even White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said today that the lip-sync controversy was "not an important issue to address from the podium." Two-and-a-half days after an Inauguration Day full of strange controversies, everyone else kind of seemed to agree:
We're in day 2 of Beyonce's lip syncing being primetime national news— Benjy Sarlin (@BenjySarlin) January 23, 2013
Okay, someone needs to say it: Who gives a crap what Beyonce did or did not do on Inauguration Day?— Matthew Keys (@TheMatthewKeys) January 23, 2013
@max_read but didn't u hear, Beyonce is the most important "news" story in America. I put news in quotes b/c it's not actually important.— Adrian Chen (@AdrianChen) January 23, 2013
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.