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. KFost

    I'm sorry i guess i missed the part where I actually cared what Beyonce sounded like. She can "sing" anyday of the week in my house.

    January 22, 2013 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  2. lillyroth

    If artists are going to lip-synch, why not just replace them by their recordings and save valuable funds from the Treasury?

    January 22, 2013 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  3. rob

    She is to singing what Lance is to Bicycling....

    January 22, 2013 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  4. jep123

    Pulling her earpiece out wouldn't lend people to think she was really singing. She was probably getting live feed from the earpiece and it was just too loud. She can still sing better than most people. It's no different than you pulling a spell check,

    January 22, 2013 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  5. Ann

    It's cold outside. Mose performers don't like singing in the cold. It can hurt their voices. It's better to use a pre-recording than to have her voice crack or mess up the lyrics!

    January 22, 2013 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  6. lillyroth

    If artists are going to lip-synch, why not just straightaway replace them by their recordings and save valuable funds from the Treasury?

    January 22, 2013 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  7. Bobby

    That's OK, Obama lip sync'ed the inauguration from the day before. HAHAHA. By the way, I think she has a lovely voice.

    January 22, 2013 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  8. Bob S

    Did we REALLY land on the moon???

    January 22, 2013 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  9. Jennifer

    Beyonce was singing WITH the pre-recorded version. There is just the very slightest echo if you listen closely. I noticed this on a playback on a newscast. She pulled the earpiece out so as to hear the pre-recording as she sang *with* it. Many artists do this because cold weather can wreak havoc on a voice. At a chilly Jethro Tull concert outdoors, Ian Anderson lost his voice within ten minutes of hitting the stage because of the shock of cold weather. Yes, some do sing live, but I can understand wanting to take no chances at a Presidential Inauguration. (And I'm not even a Beyonce fan.)

    January 22, 2013 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  10. mark theo

    Umm. Is it me? Who cares. Beyonce rocked it (either way).

    January 22, 2013 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  11. Sunnygirl

    The only negative about it is that her performance was rated against Kelly Clarkson's which was ridiculous anyway (Piers Morgan) as the 2 songs are entirely different and of course she had the advantage of controlling the sound in the studio. I thought the acoustics seemed a little rich for the outside conditions!

    January 22, 2013 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  12. Bill P

    Oh, this is really petty and ridiculous. Give us all a break! Who really gives a damn? It is a standard procedure just in case something goes wrong, like she comes down with laryngitis the night before. The results was still moving and beautiful. Grow up, people!

    January 22, 2013 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  13. joe

    How appropriate...It goes right along with the teleprompter. Fake prompts for fake entertainers and leaders.

    January 22, 2013 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  14. ES

    If it is too cold to sing, then play a record for FREE. save the money.

    January 22, 2013 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  15. Kate

    What a joke! She should have done it live

    January 22, 2013 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  16. Stephen Harper

    Can't believe people are making excuses for this kind of fraudulence. Its an epidemic.

    Like using spell check? Say what? There's one born every minute.

    January 22, 2013 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  17. mofakecrap

    Just one more example that "Fake is the new Real". Could we expect anything better from Washington ?

    January 22, 2013 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  18. Bill

    The choir was lip synching as well.

    January 22, 2013 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  19. Tigerflower

    If I wanted to hear a prerecording I'd be watching YouTube. Performers owe it to their fans to give a "live" performance when they tune in to hear live, even if that performance has a few warts. The idea that their performance has to be plastic and perfect to be enjoyed really needs to go the way of the dinosaurs.

    January 22, 2013 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  20. Cristin

    Noooo... she didn't pull the earpiece out to make it look real she pulled the earpiece out when the playback started malfunctioning.

    January 22, 2013 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  21. scotty7b

    Wolf Blitzer was trying to make a big deal about the lipsynching on his show on CNN. His guest on the show was implying that the coverup was worse than the the fact that she did lipsynch. Give me a break. There was no coverup. Artists lipsynch many times at public events, and it made sense at this event because it was cold outside.

    January 22, 2013 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  22. maryla

    Such historic Inauguration and she could not even sing ? This is National Anthem , you do not use pre-recording .It's a shame . But you have to be a real singer not screamer like she is . Was she afraid of loosing her screaming voice? Her lost and will hang on her forever .But Kelly and James did it and that's a class!!!!

    January 22, 2013 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  23. DJ

    Given the trouble people have with singing the national anthem, per-recording it is probably a good idea.

    January 22, 2013 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  24. louis washington

    What is the REAL reason why the Marine band wanted to put this information out ? what was the purpose-as a military organization there are some things which stay internal and then this-was this person trying to discredit Beyonce, Pres Obama Inaugural, the Marine Band ? I think she should be Reprimanded-period !

    January 22, 2013 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  25. jeezlouise

    The fake face and voice of obamas ghetto nation. His dream is to rid America of everything we stand for, everything that is real. He is as real as The Bachelor.

    January 22, 2013 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
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