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So Beyonce didn’t sing live — so what?

Do you care that Beyonce didn't sing live at the inauguration?

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OK, everyone, relax.

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?

Oh say can you...sing? Photo: Getty Images

Oh say can you...sing? Photo: Getty Images

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.

Follow me on Twitter and Facebook.

By Melissa Ruggieri, The Music Scene

99 comments Add your comment

Thank you

January 22nd, 2013
4:42 pm

No, it is NOT a big deal. I’m so sick of people aggravating & criticizing this woman at every chance they get. I am, by far, not the biggest Beyonce fan but give the woman her credit. It was STILL her voice. She can STILL sing. All of these so called artists who scream their way through there performances & shows end up having to cancel appearances due to vocal issues. I have yet to hear about her having to cancel a show, vocal appearance or world tour because her cords were damaged. Beyonce was smart to lip-sync & preserve her voice.


January 22nd, 2013
5:04 pm

I don’t blame her. What is the big deal? The acoustics were awful there.


January 22nd, 2013
5:21 pm

Less concerned about that than I am the fact that Beyonce and Jay-Z were sitting behind the President like they’re important or something. Like they’ve done anything for this country besides raise a crapload of money for Barack Obama. It concerns me when our government is more interested in hanging out with celebrities than with regular Americans. But then they don’t care about regular Americans; us normal folk are for looking at outside while they sit in their limosines.

Sammy Dawg

January 22nd, 2013
5:23 pm

Because if this were not such a “hip” artist, you would title the article “so and so didn’t sing live, this prooves they are fake and the act is reflective of our government”


January 22nd, 2013
5:24 pm

K in the A

January 22nd, 2013
5:31 pm

Rehearsing for the Superbowl is more important than singing before the President of the United States?


January 22nd, 2013
5:35 pm

Live should be live…….


January 22nd, 2013
5:37 pm

a recording can be improved, pitch and tempo errors are easily corrected.
the assumption that you can judge a singer’s abilities by listening to studio recordings is no longer true


January 22nd, 2013
5:37 pm

Should have gone with her first choice…..Super Bowl!!!! Pass on Obama.


January 22nd, 2013
5:47 pm

None of the people up there care anything abot America so it made no difference.


January 22nd, 2013
5:49 pm

If you are a professional you should be able to sing no matter the situation. If she is going to lip sing, just plug in a CD. I enjoy her whn she performs, but I want to see the real thing – just SING!


January 22nd, 2013
5:57 pm

I agree- a professional singer should sing. Aretha Franklin sang live 4 years ago, but she is a true old-school professional.

middle of the road

January 22nd, 2013
6:01 pm

Sorry, I think live should be live. So what if you make some small mistake – it happens. That is what makes it REAL. Why not just play soundtracks during plays? I would have had less issue with her voice cracking than finding out it is a pre-recorded perfomance.


January 22nd, 2013
6:04 pm

Seems appropriate. President Obama’s been lip syncing his way through his presidency….

What's new

January 22nd, 2013
6:07 pm

Live…just be just that..LIVE! But she oversang it anyway. Only in America, you will a former drug dealer on the podium…but $$$ talk!

Mr. Cresote.

January 22nd, 2013
6:11 pm

It was the NATIONAL ANTHEM of OUR COUNTRY! For the INAUGURATION of the President.
If she is the performer she thinks she is, she should have been able to do it live.


January 22nd, 2013
6:11 pm

i Wonder why they Hardly Ever Question why, Why Britney Spears,
Britney Spears, Britney Spears Never, Never, Never sings Live. Concerts, Award Shows, Never& she has been Allowed 2 get away with this Scam& make $100’s of Millions. Just saying they Killed Milli Vanilli 4 doing what Brit has been doing she she became a Teenager!!


January 22nd, 2013
6:44 pm

It is rather disrespectful to be invited to sing for the President and not even bother. Though I doubt she could have pulled off a live performance anyway – imagine most of her Superbowl half-time show will be lip-sync as well. Should have invited Alicia Keys instead.


January 22nd, 2013
6:45 pm

I think she did a great job of singing the national anthem….no big deal. Still an historic event!


January 22nd, 2013
6:46 pm

Why am I not surprised at MR putting forth this convoluted argument? It’s so typical of her. Fake article about a fake singer, goes hand in hand!


January 22nd, 2013
6:49 pm

Funniest thing I’ve heard today was someone on TV saying somebody in the audience should have called 911 when Alicia Keyes was singing(yelling!) “Obama’s on Fire!” That would have been hilarious and that person could have just said, “well, I thought she was serious”! Would have served them right. How stupid can you be!


January 22nd, 2013
6:51 pm

That sleazy B**CH couldn’t sing a lic if her life depended onit.
Vocoder ho’ sleepin’ with the powerfull..


January 22nd, 2013
6:52 pm

For us to even debate this shows how low of standards we have become, and how low these singers today are, Marvin Gaye did not lip sing and he had the best version, today want to be soul singers are the worst of any generation, and listeners have decline in standards and value.


January 22nd, 2013
6:55 pm

One more thing just hit me. If she was not singing live and was “sync-lipping” (I like that better) and not trying to pull one, why did she have a mic in her hand and in front of her mouth? That proves her intentions right there. Disingenuous!

No Excuses Beyonce

January 22nd, 2013
6:57 pm

Kelly Clarkson did a live performance and for ’singing out loud’, so did James Taylor!! You don’t think his fingers weren’t cold while stringing on the guitar???!!!!!! Her performance would have been talked about if she did error or lip sync. The other artists was bold and brave enough to do it and did it with class. I love the confidence they displayed. Dissappointed Beyonce.


January 22nd, 2013
6:57 pm

So what indeed!!
It’s not like neuclear disarmament or world peace depended on it….Relax people…it’s 2013….

Jim Warren

January 22nd, 2013
7:03 pm

Well, I kinda think the whole purpose of INVITING someone to sing is for them TO SING. Otherwise, why not just play a tape of Beyonce singing. I am frankly surprised that she didn’t insist on singing…it is for a PRESIDENTIAL inauguration for goodness sake.

Don't Get it Twisted!!!

January 22nd, 2013
7:08 pm

Yes, I think that B (and her ugly man Jay-Z) are fake……………..they have enough money to be! But don’t get it twisted……….this has nothing to do with our wonderful President! He is a God send….especially compared to that lying turd Bush (both of them!!!!). If she’s so great, then yes she should have sang live, but really, do I care………NO!!!! This doesn’t change anything that’s really important… the job that our President is faced with dealing with these hateful republicans….sipping on their “Hater-ade”, trying to keep him from making a difference for all people.
I definitely won’t care if I miss halftime on Sunday….that will be a good time for drink and food refills.

"Chef" Tim Dix

January 22nd, 2013
7:16 pm

Beyonce should have danced and left the singing to Kelly. The birds stop to here her beautiful voice.


January 22nd, 2013
7:25 pm

Did you see all the guys on stage looking at her booty?


January 22nd, 2013
7:45 pm



January 22nd, 2013
7:49 pm

It is not a big deal, but it is not something that should be encouraged either. An inauguration video is going to be saved for history. Why not risk a few off notes in case the voice fails and be an authentic part of history instead of taking the easy way out? She is capable of singing live. So there is no misrepresentation of her talent. But I wish she had the courage to just belt it live. Another thing is she was given so much underseved praise for the performance when it was lipsynched. A SB performance is different because a lot of dancing is involved and it is not as serious of an event as a Presidential event.

I wish we didn’t lower our standards for authenticity. We just accept that it isOK for reality shows to fake things. It’s one thing when Jersey Shore fakes it, but when you see The Learning Channel an Food network fake a lot of stuff in their reality shows, you wonder if we dont value accuracy in our society and those lowered stndards will seep into other areas like an auditor’s report on Wall Street.


January 22nd, 2013
7:51 pm

Kinda goes with the “fake”president she was singing it for.


January 22nd, 2013
8:02 pm

LOL…Yep. pretended President and pretend singer … what a match..


January 22nd, 2013
8:09 pm

Performers should always sing live. How is it a true performance if you are not actually singing? Might as well just put the cd on and let it play if it’s not going to be a live performance.

native atlantan

January 22nd, 2013
8:13 pm

I dont give a dam about her, her husband, or her child. We know only reason she was invited.


January 22nd, 2013
8:20 pm

I am a bit tired of Beyonce and all the artificiality around her. There are plenty of great entertainers out there. She is overexposed. Enough already.


January 22nd, 2013
8:23 pm

And here is another point. If it is not such a big deal, then why not just sing it live? You know why? Just because you can sing it well beforehand, it doesn’t mean you have it in your to necessarily deal with aslightly imperfect performance in front of the President and the world. It is not the same setting as an arena packed with your fans. I am more disappointed by her lack of courage than any possible misrepresenation of her talent.


January 22nd, 2013
8:23 pm

DGIT: How’s that 5 trillion new dept working out for ya????……..Most adult americans considered this a ” swearing at” rather than ’swearing in ‘ ceremony…..All official major government functions should be accompanied by a worthy Marching Band with hands over heart attention!……Its the USA first and the entertainment second!!!


January 22nd, 2013
8:29 pm

Just another example of “musicians” today; can’t read music, can’t play instruments and can’t sing unless they have computers synthesize their voices to sound good because they can’t sing. And YES if she is getting paid to sing she ought to sing live. Anything less is ripping off the customers besides like I said this generation of classless musicians can’t perform; they SUCK and so doe BOUNCY, lol.

Son of Sammy Davis jr, jr

January 22nd, 2013
8:35 pm

I think it’s a big deal that she lip sync. It’s a damn shame when a sista who’s suppose to be a singer can’t sing live. James Taylor sang live yesterday, so did Kelly Clarkson.


January 22nd, 2013
8:37 pm

Don Coyote

January 22nd, 2013
8:48 pm

What is regarded as one of the best anthems was lip synched by Whitney at a Superbowl. One of the worst was not lip synched at a Superbowl by Aretha and Aaron Neville and neither of those two are bad singers.


January 22nd, 2013
8:53 pm

I agree with most of the posters here. Performing LIVE should be a requirement for such a significant event. If she couldn’t fit rehearsals into her schedule, maybe she should have passed on the gig. I’m not a fan of either Beyonce or Kelly Clarkson, but Clarkson’s enthusiasm was adorable, and she sang LIVE, as did JT. Meanwhile Beyonce and Jay-Z strutted around like they were way more important than they are. BOTH are overrated and overexposed.


January 22nd, 2013
9:21 pm

Who cares if a dancing stripper is afraid of hurting her rep with a bad performance? Like almost all music these days she’s fake and interesting only to those who don’t know the difference in what she does and good music. Plastic crappola. on a stick!


January 22nd, 2013
9:24 pm

Lip sync’n any tune requires nothing more than a cardboard cut-out of the recorded artist standing in the breeze. Why waste time running a live body out there to fake-play music. Long live Vanilla Ice, huh..? Funny part is the MSM trying to down play this while attacking other attempts in the past just like it…


January 22nd, 2013
9:25 pm

much ado about nothing. better things to watch than anything to do with obama anyway. YAWN!


January 22nd, 2013
9:30 pm

Was Beyonce invited to sing live pro bono, or was she paid to lip-sync the Star Spangled Banner?

At least Beyonce did not embarrass herself and her fellow Americas as did Hillary Clinton during the Democratic in 2008, or WORSE; Roseanne Barr when she butchered The Star Spangled Banner on July 25, 1990, prior to a San Diego Padres MLB game at Jack Murphy Stadium (now Qualcomm Stadium). The Padres swiftly released an apology on behalf of Barr, especially for that part at the end where she grabs her crotch and spits.”

BUT at least Beyonce looked HOT, HOT, and HOT as she lip-synced the Star Spangled Banner.


January 22nd, 2013
9:31 pm

REAL talent … Zack Brown Band at the Falcon’s game.
NO talent .. anything that Beyonce, JayZ, Bieber and GaGa sing….


January 22nd, 2013
9:37 pm

Not a twits difference from the President reading his remarks from the teleprompter.