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Did or didn't she? Beyoncé questioned on lip-sync

WASHINGTON (AP) -- There's no question Beyoncé's rendition of the national anthem was a roaring success. The mystery: Was it live or lip-synced?

On Tuesday, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Marine Band told news outlets that Beyoncé had lip-synced at President Barack Obama's inauguration. Master Sgt. Kristin duBois said the band was notified at the last minute that Beyoncé would use a prerecorded voice track.

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But by late afternoon, the Marine Corps backed off that statement.

Marine Corps spokesman Capt. Gregory Wolf said that because there was no opportunity for Beyoncé to rehearse with the Marine Band, it was determined that a live performance by the band was ill-advised. Instead they used a prerecorded track for the band's portion of the song.

"Regarding Ms. Knowles-Carter's vocal performance," Wolf's statement continued, "no one in the Marine Band is in a position to assess whether it was live or pre-recorded."

A representative for Beyoncé did not respond to requests for comment.

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DuBois declined to answer further questions. Earlier in the day, she told The New York Times that the rest of the inaugural performance was live and they did not know why a recorded track was used for the national anthem.

"It's not because Beyoncé can't sing. We all know Beyoncé can sing. We all know the Marine Band can play," she said.

Kelly Clarkson's representative said she sang live to perform "America (My Country 'Tis of Thee)."

All inaugural music is prerecorded in case weather conditions or other circumstances interrupt the program.

The use of a recording is typical in big events. In 2009, cellist Yo-Yo Ma was questioned about "hand-syncing" for Obama's first inauguration. Ma said instruments weren't functioning properly in 19-degree weather.

Jan 26, 2013 9:19AM

Hey.....was it a SURPRISE to Beyonce that she was suppose to be singing at Obama's Inauguration? I'm sure she knew well in advance all the details.."When,Where,....ect......To me it showed complete disrespect to the event & to all who did put a lot of work into making everything come together & also to all of us who watched it on TV or who made the trip to watch the Inauguration live.

And to BlackPower2013 remark, Kelly Clarkson & James Taylor DIDN'T lip synced. They put in the effort they were honest & did what it took to bring Honor to the occasion as well as to themselves. Beyonce has lost her credibility with a lot of people I feel by this act.

Jan 26, 2013 9:17AM

ONE:  75%+ "Live' performances are accompanied by a track AND MAYBE a live band "synced" with the live accompaniment track.  The solo vocals are generally live.  This is done to reduce technical flaws inherent in live sound performance recording.  In past years,  the solo vocals were also often pre-recorded and even many singers lip-synced to their own hit recordings 'jus for show."   As so many have said here,  EVEN IF SHE DID, IT WAS STILL HER ON THE RECORDING...... BUT.......

If you carefully listen,  several notes at the beginning of the song were at the very bottom of her usable range, given the cold, the time of day, the opportunity to warm up, etc and IF IT HAD BEEN A VOCAL TRACK,  THOSE NOTES WOULD HAVE BEEN PERFECT,  NOT NEARLY INAUDIBLE.  Given the opportunity to use a track, she is WAY too much of a perfectionist to have allowed those notes to sound like that.


TWO  She removed her in-ear bud monitor, LIKELY because it was distractingly delayed from what she could hear of the live monitor sound.  Shame of the chief engineer for allowing this amateurish technical flaw.  She was singing or this would have not mattered to her at all and she would have just matched whatever solo voice she was hearing in the ear buds. 


THREE  The arrangement was a very modern and quite clever one with plenty of musical "cues" and tricks designed to assist the well-rehearsed singer in maintaining careful time with the band/orchestra.  There was some room for her to ad-lib which she did with justified style and was not "overdone" given her fan base.  BUT had this been a track,  those ad-libs would have been extremely difficult, if not completely impossible.   She KNEW just how much time and space she had to work within.  In a studio they would have more likely stood on the more strict interpretation.  It would take far too long in the studio to perfect those small "ornaments" for her to make it work with a billion people watching unless she rehearsed it 1000 times,  not at all likely. 


I think it was a band/orchestra track and the lead vocal was live, specifically as was stated, because there wasn't time appropriately allotted for enough rehearsal for a comfort factor to develop that even the magnificent Maine Corps band might misinterpret some of the liberties and nuances taken by the arranger and end up making Beyonce look like she was unrehearsed. 


Get off her back folks,  she is a pretty damn classy kid who has heretofore conducted herself quite professionally and been managed into being a big star.  She deserves a bit more respect than to pick her apart with NO EVIDENCE she let anybody down. 


Jan 26, 2013 9:17AM
Who cares?  The nation is falling apart and wer'e concerned about lip syncing.
Jan 26, 2013 9:17AM
Beonce, Jennifer, Justin, Chely,  other than prepubescent teens who don't know any better, does anybody really care.  With "news" like this bombarding the net, it's no wonder that, as a nation, we've become a nation of buffoons.
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