So Beyonce sang to a track of “The Star-Spangled Banner” at Monday’s inauguration.
Whitney Houston once did the same at the Super Bowl and her rendition of the same song remains one of its most iconic versions.
And let’s not forget, at the 2009 inauguration, famed celloist Yo-Yo Ma and other musicians pre-recorded their performances two days earlier and played along during the ceremony.
It’s January in D.C. It’s cold. Strings break. Instruments crack. Unrehearsed voices swerve off-key.
If you’re Beyonce and you’re invited to sing at the country’s most high-profile event, aren’t you going to prepare a safety net?
Ever attend an event with hundreds of thousands of people with makeshift speakers spread throughout the premises? Then you know what happens. The delay effect. By the time the live vocal hits the speaker hundreds of yards from the stage, the singer is on to the next line and suddenly you have a jumble of words and music colliding in the air.
[Updated Jan. 23: Aretha Franklin has weighed in and says while she opted to sing live at the 2009 inauguration, she understands why Beyonce would choose to pre-record.]
We all know Beyonce can sing, just like we all know Houston could – in her prime – blow down a wall with her voice. Beyonce still recorded the song with those same potent pipes (as Houston did as well).
This isn’t quite the same thing as Britney Spears or Chris Brown lip-synching during their shows to mask vocal insufficiencies (her) or because more attention is being given to the dancing and spectacle (him…and her a little).
This is simply a matter of practicality.
Ah, but Kelly Clarkson didn’t sing to a track during “My Country ‘Tis of Thee,” you say.
Well, maybe it was a matter of comfort. Reportedly, Clarkson had time over the weekend to rehearse while Beyonce, apparently so busy preparing for her Super Bowl performance, wasn’t able to zip into town until Sunday night.
So is it really that big of a deal that Beyonce sang along to her own pre-recorded voice? Take our poll and have your say.
By Melissa Ruggieri, The Music Scene