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. Kaylee

    Who cares? She's still a good singer

    January 22, 2013 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  2. Jhamilton918

    First Lance Armstrong and now this!

    January 22, 2013 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  3. theserenitysisters

    Her decision was made for the EVENT and not for her – she sacrificed what any of us might think or judge her about – for the EVENT – I admire her more now – it was a mature (non-ego centric) call to make.

    January 22, 2013 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  4. Dave Goldberg

    As a professional musician, I can tell you it's very common in show biz to blend live with a recording. One of the first shows I did, I was playing with head phones with the mix. I'm playing along assuming that the mix I was listening to was a live mix. Then I get to a saxophone solo and I start to play and the director waves me off and I suddenly hear another saxophone solo playing in my ear. Well I'm the only saxophone in the band so I'm wondering what is going on. I then realized we were just there for show and we were completely buried in the mix. Thankfully I don't do too many of those gigs, but they do pay well. The larger the venue the greater the chance that this is going on, especially if it's a show with dancers. That's why people need to support live music in small venues. It's a very intimate and real experience.

    January 22, 2013 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  5. justme

    Regardless of any situation, if you are performing live and you are famous as a singer you MUST sing not lip synch. Its absolutely riduculous to make excuses. Its like having david beckham show a video of him kicking the ball in a match rather than taking the free kick...YOU GOT TO DO WHAT YOU DO LIVE FOR PEOPLE AND IF YOU SCREW UP-THATS LIFE' SHE SPENT more time on her lface and hair that day which is the riduclous bs about it all.

    January 22, 2013 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  6. AnAmericanWHocares

    shameful lip synching the National Anthem ....she is not even acting like a American

    January 22, 2013 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  7. sidprejean

    Live, tape, I don't care. The Star Spangled Banner is not part a Vegas lounge act. How much better it would have sounded if played by the Marine Band and sung be a million voices.
    If you heard the US Air Force Band play the Natuional Anthem at the CinC Inaugural Ball, you had to be brought to tears.

    January 22, 2013 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  8. FVL

    I don't think she will be singing againwith the Marine Band any time soon. LOL

    January 22, 2013 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  9. RunForTheHills

    Obama also lip-synced the oath of office.... faker...

    January 22, 2013 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  10. CoBrit

    If she did sync, she fooled me. About half way through her performance, she takes out her monitor earpiece, and as she does, she hits a bum note (which would make sense when you suddenly don't have a monitor in your ear). So I don't know.

    January 22, 2013 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  11. PigBodine

    I wouldn't sing with a new band outside in freezing weather either! That said, Beyonce is welcome to lip-synch at my house anytime.

    January 22, 2013 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  12. Derp

    47 takes for the pre-recorded performance,

    January 22, 2013 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  13. sam

    I understand that cold weather can affect a singer's voice. I'm sure the 1-1/2 minute wouldn't have damaged her vocal chords. Kelly Clarkson sang live and James Taylor sang live. Sometimes, you just have to step your game, especially when you're a PERFORMING ARTIST. She may have a great voice, but she is has a long way to go before she is considered a legend.

    January 22, 2013 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  14. maxmaxwell

    well, matches the lip service we been getting all along from DC

    January 22, 2013 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  15. Deanna May

    I could tell, she closed her mouth on a high note.. however I don't blame her, a number of things could have went wrong & at least the anthem would still be playing 🙂 she wanted it to be perfect.. besides she sounded beautiful, prerecorded or not ! [♥] ♫ [♥] ♫ [♥] ♫ [♥]

    January 22, 2013 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  16. DT

    It had to be perfect, just like our country.

    January 22, 2013 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  17. Russ

    last time yo yo ma played along to a recording. this happens all the time, it's not a scandal. cnn needs to get back to reporting real news.

    January 22, 2013 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  18. sm

    What next, hope the fakeness doesn't spread to the extent where the President lip-syncs his speeches.....we truly live in a plastic world....get real folks.

    January 22, 2013 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  19. BeyonceHasNoTalent


    January 22, 2013 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  20. Anonymous

    Beyonce will either say that she sang or lib-synched, Let's wait.

    January 22, 2013 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  21. Who?

    Never mind the lip sync, whats the high profile event?

    January 22, 2013 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  22. AM

    I wonder how much $ she'll make for pretending to sing at the superbowl

    January 22, 2013 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  23. cnndude

    It's Perfect!! The last four years have been a scam so why not start the next 4 off the same way??

    January 22, 2013 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  24. Saint

    The rendition was as fake as her skin and hair.

    January 22, 2013 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  25. Sergio

    Almost at the end of her performance, I notice that she remove something from her left ear…

    January 22, 2013 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
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