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. Sniffit

    Nobody cares. I'll give this one a 10 on the non-news-o-meter. Pop singers these days do nothing but lip-sync? OMG stop the presses!!! No, I mean it, for the love of all that is holy, stop the presses.

    January 22, 2013 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  2. ST

    I do not see the problem as every participant was trying their best not to spoil the day. From Justice Roberts to Schumer, to Beyonce and others. What matters is everything went OK as it was planned. This behaviour of trying to find small, small stuff to disregard the occasion is typical human behaviour. In end we are going to hear the President's speech was recorded as well.

    January 22, 2013 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  3. ListenUpIntellectMe

    She's even good at lip-synching! WOW! The act of taking out the ear piece, hand gestures...PERFECT lip synchronization! Go Beyoncé!

    January 22, 2013 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  4. Anonymous

    Interesting how the band spokesperson only confirmed Beyonce's pre recording but never actually said the band did it too even we know they did lol.

    January 22, 2013 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  5. Daysie

    Often times singers pull out the ear piece because of the feedback, no? I hope it wasnt because she was trying to pull one over us. We all understand that things need to be done every so often that require pre-recordings. I'd rather they were honest about it rather than try to hide it. Nothing to be ashamed of. We all know what she is capable of singing and it does not take away from the fact that it was a beautiful rendition. Maybe Jay-Z was giving her a list of things that they needed to do and she just didn't want to hear it. lol

    January 22, 2013 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  6. California Gary

    As far as I'm concerned, Beyonce could have just stood there and belched for 5 minutes and I would have been impressed......she is an American treasure and it was great to see her on stage and hear her beautiful voice singing the anthem (it matters not if it was pre-recorded or live). You go girl........

    January 22, 2013 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  7. Captain Awesome

    Wha?! The singing was fake? No surprise since this administration seems to be fake as well.

    January 22, 2013 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  8. Darryl Doe

    The President didn't really give a speech either did he? He just read a speech that someone else wrote that he read off the teleprompter, just like kareoke. What difference does it make if Beyonce prerecorded the national anthem, it's not like she tried to say that she wrote it.

    January 22, 2013 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  9. Woman In California

    On another note: I want to acknowledge the great job the secret service did of protecting our president and First Lady and all those placed under their care. I was nervous when they got of the car (both times), because I know the hate is real out there but thank God, there were no real incidents.

    Great job and well done.

    January 22, 2013 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  10. Mitzi

    It's standard for performers to pre-record and lip sing in high-stakes venues such as this to avoid acoustic or other technical errors in large, outdoor, and unpredictable places. Whitney Houston, whose rendition of the Star Spangled Banner is still unmatched, recorded her famous rendition weeks before the actual performance took place. This doesn't detract from the performer's skill in the slightest. It's a marvel that those of those ladies can sing (or in the case of the last Whitney, sung) as beautifully as they do.

    January 22, 2013 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  11. Anonymous

    Well, what do you expect from a woman that allegedly faked her preganancy and had a surrogate...........she also has lightened her skin and has not been forth coming in other matters.

    January 22, 2013 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  12. ObamaLlama

    Captain Awesome, get a life!

    There's nothing wrong with using a prerecording. She did nothing wrong. She recorded the original. This is NOT like Milli Vanilli!

    Beyonce is a great singer and we all know that. Well... all of us except idiots like Captain Awesome and his tea-party!

    January 22, 2013 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  13. Dilek

    What ?! Thats not true

    January 22, 2013 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  14. Strangways

    Captain Awesome – the election's over, your side lost.

    January 22, 2013 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  15. I knew it! Incredible faker! What a talent!

    And eve in the pre-recording she couldn't hold notes! I have a problem with singers who give up on their notes.

    Aretha doesn't. She should of sang it live and made you tear up, like Whitney did at that one classic baseball game 20+ years ago when WE HAD REAL SINGERS. Whitney didn't l-sync it. She sang one of the most incredible national anthems in the history of this country.

    I can list many, many more real singers. Mariah, the last of the best...etc etc.

    There is NO excuse for lip syncing, what a fraud. Well maybe FREEZING temps but was it that cold? I don't think so. You warm up that voice, drink warm teas, c'mon.

    I say we start a petition for her to sing it again LIVE... at every one of her supposed concerts!

    If she hacked it here, whats to say she doesn't do this in all her actual concerts.

    In all seriousness though, a truly pathetic commentary on the quality of talent we have today. That was my thought also when bubbles or whats herface?... Clarkson! Yeah, I thought... hey she can sing in key, but... I'm not feeling it. They have no Blues.

    Anyway, Bejonce... what a fraud. Hack. But you know, people will come out and defend her, they suffer fools gladly, one thing that does really alarm me is that she faked it so well. Jeepers, what an amazing FAKER! Now for that, she's got serious talent!

    January 22, 2013 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  16. Thomas

    I remember the days when lip syncing was a surefire way to ruin your career as a musician, now its widely accepted as normal. Shows how terrible music has become.

    January 22, 2013 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  17. Really?... REALLY?

    Why is this news?

    January 22, 2013 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  18. CJ

    Most singers have pretty faces and great bodies but the art of singing and respect for the profession is not there.
    The thing that makes this worse is that Beyonce can indeed sing but chose not to. Maybe she was scared she would make a mistake and if it was pre-recorded she knew there would be no chance of that.

    January 22, 2013 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  19. Rob Barr

    It's her own Sooo Beautiful voice.

    January 22, 2013 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  20. bubba's cousin

    very misleading statement... "we all Beyonce can sing" .... I DO NOT think Beyonce can sing.... well?

    January 22, 2013 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  21. Kelvin

    How/why is this news? are we really so bored that we concern ourselves with this? i figure this would have been news if someone else had pre-recorded it.

    January 22, 2013 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  22. Bob C.

    Singers use pre-recordings all the time. Between the echos and the cold weather, singing outside is difficult. Whitney Houston's famous rendition of the Star Spangled Banner was also pre-recorded.

    January 22, 2013 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  23. Martin

    Some think the president has lip-sync'ed through four years.

    January 22, 2013 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  24. buzz1975

    All these excuses for a pop diva who can't be trusted to sing live?! GMAB! Did Kelly Clarkson sing live? If so, why can't everyone?!

    January 22, 2013 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  25. TD

    Not surprised one bit. We celebrate those who are made to be something they aren't. That goes not only for celebrities, but national leaders, as well. Here's to another four years of mediocrity!

    January 22, 2013 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
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