We try not to take it too personally when Beyoncé disappoints us. She's trying to be less of a perfectionist, and we want to support her in that. But it's hard when it feels like she doesn't trust us.
The video above is from this weekend's On the Run concert in Paris. Near the end of the clip, Beyoncé clearly stops singing "Partition" to interact with fans – but her vocal keeps going. Could it be a backing track that she's singing along to? Maybe. And she clearly can sing live.
But who are we kidding? We need to face Beyoncé's history of lip-synching head on – at least, some of the most famous examples. It's the healthy thing to do, and we can do it together.
The Presidential Inauguration
This is certainly the most infamous example, and for good reason. This was an incredibly public stage, and while she had a solid explanation – she missed rehearsal with the band, and wanted to be safe over sorry – to have it revealed in such a public fashion is unfortunate. Not only that, but the drama of ripping out her earpiece (an earpiece she did not need) made this even more of a farce.
Of course, Beyoncé then executed perhaps the most masterful Hail Mary the NFL's ever seen: A live performance at her pre-Super Bowl press conference. But then, Bey had to go and break our hearts again: "I always sing live," she insisted at the conference. Why is our queen so deceitful?
"Drunk in Love" at the GRAMMYs
This one's a little harder to figure out, but fairly egregious. Start at 2:45, and notice at about 2:50 how she stumbles a bit. The mic clearly falls away as her voice continues to resound from, well, somewhere, certainly not her mouth. Not only that, but you can tell a serious dip in quality from her solo verses to when she sings after Jay Z's verse. "Drunk in Love" is not the easiest song to sing! We understand, Bey! But just don't lie to us this way.
"Ring the Alarm" in Concert
This one's harder to tell, because it's clear the backup singers are doing a good deal of work. But there does seem to be some fishiness with how sustained the vocals are as she falls. It feels weirdly disconnected from everything happening around it. Also: This fall is totally karma for when Michelle Williams fell on 106 & Park.
Plenty of Other Times :(
Unfortunately, the clearest examples of Beyoncé's lip-synching are found all over YouTube. The selection above is just one; people who record her concerts are able to find examples constantly. Watch right before she whips her head – she clearly isn't singing what comes next. Saying "I always sing live" is a pretty blustery claim when there's so much evidence to the contrary.
At the end of the day, you'd be hard-pressed to find a majority of hardcore Beyoncé stans who care that she lip-synchs. She executes ridiculous choreography – performing at a consistent level of quality all the while would be nigh impossible. We know she can sing live. We don't need her to lie.
But as we've said before, she's still getting used to the idea of being less than perfect. It's not in her nature to confess to not being able to do it all. But as she evolves as an artist, we're hopeful she'll get to a place where the words she sings in "Jealous" can be about our relationship with her: She's just human. Don't judge her.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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