January 22nd, 2013
05:30 PM ET
10 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. just sayin

    who cares? she was there as eye candy. and it wasn't a paid performance was it? nobody should expect them to be singing for real at these sorts of entertainment events.

    January 22, 2013 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  2. DW

    So what? It sounded fantastic.

    January 22, 2013 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  3. quinLee

    And........what a waste of bandwidth and bits. Seems more of the Fox flavor.

    January 22, 2013 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  4. PushingBack

    So many folks think that if you got the pipes it's easy to go out and sing. There are a lot of variables that need to come together and the singer is not always in control of them. With the risk of damaging an event this large, it's no wonder they went that route.

    January 22, 2013 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  5. DrewATX

    Well that shouldnt be a surprise to anyone.. all you get from the regime and his supporters is "Lip Syncing".. no real substance..

    January 22, 2013 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  6. I_know

    You mean something UNTRUE came from the Obama Administration.....NO...can't be

    January 22, 2013 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  7. Tod Hall

    perhaps it would be a good idea to lip-synch taking the oath of office too.

    January 22, 2013 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  8. Woman In California

    I don't care for Beyonce at all but I loved the way she kept her back to Paul Ryan. I'm sure she resents her parents and her grandparents being called "takers" when they had to work hard for a living. Great job Beyonce, I would ignore him too. After all, he's used to it by now.

    As for her dubbing her own voice, perfectly legal. No big deal.

    James Taylor was the big disappointment for me. I always liked his music and was totally stunned at his performance.

    The late Whitney Houston made all the others sound bad, as I don't think anyone will sing the National Anthem better than she did. At least not in my lifetime.

    January 22, 2013 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  9. gladr

    If they're all going to lip-sync, why don't they just play a recording?

    January 22, 2013 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  10. Todd

    It is long past time to start boycotting artists that cannot sing live or use the Vocoder (Auto-Tune). You are not a musician if you have to have electronics to keep you in tune. That is just pathetic. You are not a musician if you use Auto-Tune.

    January 22, 2013 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  11. MikeInDM

    Well, she DID sing it, she just didn't sing live. What law was broken with that?

    January 22, 2013 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  12. JMK

    What better way to start off the new term than with an illusion of grandeur?

    January 22, 2013 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  13. Jennifer

    If I had to perform in frigid temperatures, I'd probably opt to lip sinc as well. So not a big deal. Could we move on, please?

    January 22, 2013 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  14. jazziebelle

    ...wow, guess she's not all she's cracked up to "Bey" LOL

    January 22, 2013 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  15. Ernesto

    What a non sense comment by that spokewoman. Beyonce did sing live the Anthem, there is not the minimum doubt. She may have recorded it the previous day, just in case, but she sang live. There is abosuletly no doubt. Bouuuuuu to the comment !!!!

    January 22, 2013 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  16. gladr

    Whitney Houston's famous rendition at the superbowl was lip-synced also according to several media sources.

    January 22, 2013 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  17. Al-NY,NY

    I wonder what all the so-called "patriots" thought of Whitney Houston's lip-sync during the Super Bowl after 9-11? Did they spout the same outrage or was it "She was fantastic! What a good American she is" "so proud of her"?

    January 22, 2013 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  18. Wes

    Who is beyonce?

    January 22, 2013 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  19. Lisa freira

    That was actually a good idea. Can you imagine if it somehow got messed up? She'd be living that down for years. Meantime what we got was a beautiful rendition of a song to make us all proud

    January 22, 2013 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  20. nitrous

    James Taylor didn't seem to have any problems. And he actually was playing a guitar as well. A true artist & musician.

    January 22, 2013 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  21. Michelles_wig

    She lip-synched!! My gosh, next thing you'll report is Obama used a teleprompter

    January 22, 2013 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  22. treblemaker

    Once upon a time, musicians really played and vocalists really sang, even in chilly weather. BTW, after hearing commentary about Beyonce's "astounding" performance, I had to laugh. As far as I'm concerned, her rendition was no better or worse than any amateur who sings the national anthem before a baseball game, and now I know why. Whitney Houston's anthem performance was legendary-and LIVE!!! (or now come to think of it, I'm not even sure that was live anymore). Whitney set the standard by which every other vocalist is measured. The arrangement was groundbreaking at the time, and so was the emotion behind the delivery. End of story.

    January 22, 2013 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  23. Well...

    I can guarantee you the Marine Band was actually playing their instruments. Your "frigid temperature" argument doesn't hold much water when the MCB were holding large pieces of brass up to their faces. Singers always use lame excuses like that.

    January 22, 2013 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  24. Rudy NYC

    From what the Marine music director said, what occured was nothing out of the ordinary. No doubt, the acoustics would have been very different with a mall filled with a million people. Using pre-recorded music and/or vocals means there will no chance of feedback squelches coming through the speakers.

    January 22, 2013 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  25. jeff

    They why have her there at all, just a bunch of excuses.

    January 22, 2013 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
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