January 22nd, 2013
05:30 PM ET
2 years ago

Marine Band says Beyoncé 'did not actually sing' during inaugural, then backpedals

Washington (CNN) - Pop star Beyoncé opted to use a "pre-recording" of her rendition of the National Anthem during inaugural ceremonies in Washington Monday, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Marine Band told CNN Tuesday.

U.S. Marine Band spokeswoman Kristen DuBois said early Tuesday that "we know why the decision was made," adding that the pop star "did not actually sing," but instead lip-synched her own voice.

Later in the day, however, the Marine Corps said in a statement that no one in their organization "is in a position to assess whether [Beyoncé's vocal performance] was live or pre-recorded."

The conflicting reports from the Marines have yet to be clarified by a statement from Beyoncé or her representatives, who have not responded to CNN's requests for comment.

Originally, DuBois said Beyoncé "pre-recorded" a version of the song the evening before Inauguration Day after rehearsing with the U.S. Marine Band.

In the later statement the Marine Corps said "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," the statement read.

DuBois said such pre-recordings are "not unusual," and that recording musical performances prior to inauguration ceremonies are a necessity in case something should go awry.

"We all know Beyoncé can sing and the Marine Band can play," DuBois said. "I've been with the band 14 years. It's not unusual."

"You can't have an inaugural without the National Anthem," she added.

American cellist Yo-Yo Ma was forced to use a pre-recording during President Obama's first Inaugural four years ago, due to frigid temperatures.

Many inauguration viewers may have also noticed Beyoncé pulled her ear piece out during her performance. But DuBois did not have an explanation as to why the pop star removed the ear piece.

The Times of London first reported the story.

A representative for Kelly Clarkson, who also performed at the ceremony, tells CNN Entertainment that Clarkson did indeed sing live. And a representative for James Taylor, another performer on Monday, confirms his vocals and acoustic guitar were live, as well.


Filed under: Inauguration
soundoff (337 Responses)
  1. Hao So

    It's okay, I didn't actually listen.

    January 22, 2013 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  2. Elaine

    Tacky. Another reason to skip the Super Bowl.

    January 22, 2013 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  3. Jameson

    That was an unnecessary story. Why couldn't we just let the inauguration go perfectly.... Messed up my morning for no reason!

    January 22, 2013 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  4. Corrine Hubbart

    What in the name of Davey Jones!!! I can't believe this! She did a great job anyways. You go Bee girl!!!

    January 22, 2013 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  5. adela

    she took the ear piece because of the vibrato of her own singing...there is not lip singing here...its a mistake by the band spokeswoman

    January 22, 2013 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  6. ME

    Obama is lip syncing his presidency.

    January 22, 2013 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  7. really

    Rule of thumb – If there are more people on stage than there are musicians, the band is not worth seeing anyways. Yes, I'm saying that Beyonce is awful.

    January 22, 2013 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  8. FaksNooz

    TMZ wannabe reporting at its finest!

    January 22, 2013 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  9. Las Vegas

    She's performing during the Super Bowl half time, right? Is she going to lip sync that, too???

    January 22, 2013 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  10. Todd

    Eh, not a big deal. The National Anthem is notoriously difficult song to sing, and pop idols usually aren't all that great of technical singers. It would have been big-time embarassing if she screwed up, so using a pre-recorded song is just safer at an event like the presidential inauguration.

    January 22, 2013 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  11. Todd

    Eh, not a big deal. The Star-Spangled Banner is a notoriously difficult song to sing, and pop idols usually aren't all that great of technical singers. It would have been big-time embarassing if she messed up, so using a pre-recorded song is just safer at an event like the presidential inauguration.

    January 22, 2013 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  12. Janissa

    Don't believe it. We could see her voice box vibrating, indicating an actual sing.

    January 22, 2013 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  13. larry simpson

    they always lip synch at the superbowls

    January 22, 2013 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  14. transpErancy

    She's overrated and overexposed anyways

    January 22, 2013 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  15. Big Man

    A reflection of today's America; simply smoke and mirrors....shaemful. Just like our govt reps standing unflinchingly, unquestioning by her side.

    January 22, 2013 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  16. Nomad

    She wasn't there either. That's a computer generated image of her.

    January 22, 2013 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  17. manycatsonekid

    If I see more more comment about how Whitney sang live and better, I'm going to find someone to slap! As has been pointed out about a dozen times, Whitney Houston's rendition was also pre-recorded so that she would sound "perfect". Why? Well, she did have some substance issues even back then and she at least was smart enough to know her voice might need to sleep it off.

    Face it, after hearing some of the other flubbed renditions over the years (Christine A, etc.), I am very happy Beyonce chose to have a backup plan (so to speak-or sing). I can just about guarantee the Marines also pre-recorded their stuff just in case. That is how those things work.

    January 22, 2013 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  18. glorydays

    So what?

    January 22, 2013 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  19. pd

    this is outrageous! so is the 8.5 million more americans out of work since his last inauguration but who worries about that anyways?

    January 22, 2013 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  20. Brooke

    She didn't lip sync it, I'm not a HUGE fan, but even I can be honest and say she wasn't lip syncing....

    January 22, 2013 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  21. artymart

    She lip-synced in Australia and was booed off the stage. No good reason for this......there are many fine singers who can sing it live. They should have selected a true artist. No doubt she'll lip sync the super bowl too. Get someone real.

    January 22, 2013 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  22. Rupert Murdoch

    I'd just like you all to know that my publications, The London Times, broke the story. That should put the veracity of this story in perspective.

    January 22, 2013 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  23. Mark

    Love the excuses. Record the performance just in case? You mean to tell me that you could not find ONE singer in this country who could have sung that song without revcording it first...just in case? Maybe America ought to wake up to the fact that the lauded singers...really arent that good...and you can find thousands SO MUCH BETTER singing in churches, clubs and theatres that do not have those lame excuses and can actually go when needed. Even recorded, it still wasn't that good. Harken back to Whitney singing it with David Foster's production. Pretty sad folks....biggest stage in the world and she calls for the pre-recorded version! she needs to go back to what she knows, shaking her buncomb and screaming irrationally through a microphone that has Melodyne or Antares attached!

    January 22, 2013 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  24. buzz1975

    Lip-sinking is lip-sinking...meaning NOT singing LIVE. I don't care if she was "singing along" with her own recording....what is tells me and everyone else is that she can't be trusted to sing LIVE. Kind of sad.

    January 22, 2013 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  25. STEVE

    who cares???? worthless news

    January 22, 2013 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
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