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. Tree

    Who cares, she did a great job any whys

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

    Play the recording and leave the stars home. Don't need them anyway, other than for the donations. Quit paying them huge salaries for no services.

    January 22, 2013 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  3. nutate

    Fact check with your own ears. In any HQ stream you can hear the wind on the mic at the beginning. The separate vocal vibrato in sections. She's clearly singing with her own backing track. But lip-syncing? Hardly.

    January 22, 2013 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  4. sparky

    Beyonce can sing ? I didn't know that.

    January 22, 2013 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  5. janetleemac

    Strangways – one side did not lose, the entire country lost and that will be proven over time. Unless you are a layabout, taking handouts, in that case you would see no difference.

    January 22, 2013 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  6. Steven

    Why is this on CNN.COM? 60,000+ Syrians have died trying to fight for their freedom and someone is concerned that Beyonce recorded the Anthem? I think we should all re-evaluate what is important. Lipsyncing does not rise to the level of News period especially if she was the one that recorded it. It's not like she had someone else sing it and then pretend to. She actually did sing it but I'm sure recorded it to provide the best possible performance. For the haters – why don't you get up there and do what she does... oh wait you can't because you are not that good.

    January 22, 2013 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  7. Rebbeca

    Whitney Houston lip sang it also way back when and they claimed her version is the best?
    They all lip sing now thats why i don't see certain people in concert. Janet jackson always lip sings why bother going to see her live?

    January 22, 2013 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  8. Pat in IL

    Beyonce is a wonderful singer and the Marine band is a wonderful band. The performance was all their work, so what's the problem with the nay-sayers. I'm just glad that we were privileged to experience all of that talent.

    January 22, 2013 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  9. yellowroseoftexas

    I was ssssssssssssssssssssooooooooooo dissappointed that we couldnt get some one better to sign it
    what about Sandi Patty her voice is truly amazing

    January 22, 2013 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  10. PJC

    I think this is appropriate given that Mr. Obama faked his first four years in office and Michelle is as fake and pretend as you can get, it's only appropriate that Beyonce gets up and pretends to sing the national anthem...

    January 22, 2013 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  11. jean

    I had the chills when she did it so who cares
    she did it
    you cannot sing in open space like that doing lypsinc was already challening with all the noise
    come on people enjoy the moment

    January 22, 2013 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  12. npalmer

    So NOW will someone give Kelly Clarkson the credit she deserves for her beautiful song! I am so tired of everyone going on and on about Beyonce....Kelly did an amazing job!

    January 22, 2013 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  13. Mike O

    It was really bad..............sing the tune like it has been sung for 200 years......not with all "Your" Flair added.

    January 22, 2013 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  14. gus

    i heard she was sick and wasnt sure her voice would hold up

    January 22, 2013 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  15. lip synching is a fine art

    wow, slow news day apparently

    January 22, 2013 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  16. David S

    Must of gotten some advice from Milli Vanilli on how to be FAKE in life since Obama isn't a Real leader!!!

    January 22, 2013 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  17. irishadian

    I agree with nutate. I've done some singing. She was probably singing along with the track (in case the mic went dead or, in the cold, her mouth didn't move properly). That is not the same as lip-sync.

    January 22, 2013 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  18. John

    Obama was also replaced by a proxy. The real Obama was sitting in KFC with me at that time.

    January 22, 2013 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  19. truetea

    wrong choice of song for second inauguration of president HUSSEIN anyway. who cares if she lip synced or not for this tragic event.

    January 22, 2013 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  20. neil


    January 22, 2013 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  21. Chris Rhumor

    Doing a Great Job implies that you have actually done a job... she faked a job...

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

    Faking something is not new, and no big deal. George W Bush faked having a brain and he got ellected POTUS, twice.

    January 22, 2013 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  23. JF Spurlock

    It could have been worse...
    She could have actually sung!

    January 22, 2013 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  24. Log Cabin

    Still gave me chills.

    January 22, 2013 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  25. gg

    hahaha...millions of people see her already standing there and singing the national anthem... it sounds like republican suporter, the election.

    January 22, 2013 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
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