Beyonce's National Anthem: Did She Sync Or Didn't She?

Jan 22, 2013
Originally published on January 23, 2013 2:02 pm

Update at 6:14 p.m. ET. Backing Off?

Capt. Eric Flanagan, a spokesman for the United States Marine Corps, sent us a statement that seems to back off a bit from their earlier statements saying Beyoncé lip-synced her way through the National Anthem during President Obama's inauguration, yesterday.

Essentially, the statement said, the band accompanying her was pre-recorded, but the Marine Band has no knowledge as to whether Beyoncé sang live.

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

Our Original Post Continues:

Beyoncé got rave reviews Monday for her rendition of the national anthem at President Obama's inauguration.

Today, the stories are all about comments from U.S. Marine Band spokeswoman Master Sgt. Kristin duBois, who tells CNN that Beyoncé "did not actually sing." ABC News, which also talked to duBois, writes it was told that "it was Beyoncé's voice" we all heard, but that it was "a pre-recorded version."

The U.S. Marine Band, which played throughout the ceremony, also did not perform live during the anthem, says The New York Times. The Times adds that:

"It was not immediately clear who made the decision to ask Beyoncé to lip-synch the anthem on Monday, Sergeant duBois said. The band's director, Col. Michael J. Colburn, received orders from the event's organizers to switch to a backing track just before Beyoncé went on. 'The entire performance was live except for the national anthem,' Sgt. duBois said."

So far, the many media outlets who have sought comment from Beyoncé report they haven't gotten any yet.

ABC News adds that singer Kelly Clarkson, who earlier in the inaugural program sang My Country, 'Tis of Thee, "could be seen signaling to Beyoncé after the national anthem performance and appeared to mouth the words, 'It's so hard.' "

Beyoncé's next high profile gig, by the way, will be at halftime of the Super Bowl.

Inaugural fans will remember that four years ago, cellist Yo-Yo Ma and violinist Itzhak Perlman had to forgo playing "live" because it the cold temperatures might have snapped their instruments' strings. So they did some "string synching."

This all makes us wonder:

That's just a question, not a scientific survey of public opinion.

Update at 6:14 p.m. ET. Statement From Marine Corps:

The Marine Corps has just sent us this statement:

"The Presidential Inaugural Committee (PIC) requested that the Marine Band accompany Beyonce Knowles-Carter in the performance of the Star-Spangled Banner at the 2013 Inaugural Ceremony. However, there was no opportunity for Ms. Knowles-Carter to rehearse with the Marine Band before the Inauguration so it was determined that a live performance by the band was ill-advised for such a high-profile event. Each piece of music scheduled for performance in the Inauguration is pre-recorded for use in case of freezing temperatures, equipment failure, or extenuating circumstances. Regarding Ms. Knowles-Carter's vocal performance, no one in the Marine Band is in a position to assess whether it was live or pre-recorded."

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Well, it didn't take long. We learned today that one of the performances at yesterday's inauguration ceremony was not as it seemed. Beyonce lip-synced her rendition of "The National Anthem," that's according to a spokesman for the U.S. Marine Band, which played live over Beyonce prerecorded track.


The spokesman said today it is standard practice for inaugural music to be prerecorded in case weather gets in the way. At the 2009 inaugural, an all-star quartet, including cellist Yo-Yo Ma, famously faked their performance because of the frigid and windy weather.

SIEGEL: Well, Beyonce chose not to risk it yesterday. Other performers did. A representative for Kelly Clarkson, who sang "My Country 'Tis Of Thee" after President Obama's speech, told the Associated Press that Clarkson sang her part live, cold and all. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.