Her stirring performance of the national anthem was popular all around the world, with over 1.4 million YouTube views in a day, but Beyonce is now facing questions about whether or not her rendition was lip synced.
Master Sgt. Kristin DuBois, a spokeswoman for the US Marine Corps, remarked that Beyonce had used a backing track at her performance, which the Marine band was informed of just as she was about to go on. DuBois did not make any further comment. The Marine Corps later altered this in a statement by Capt. Gregory Wolf.
“Regarding Ms. Knowles-Carter’s vocal performance,” said Wolf, ”no one in the Marine Band is in a position to assess whether it was live or pre-recorded.”
He clarified that the backing track was just for the band portion of the national anthem, which was used since Beyonce did not have time to practice with the Marine band. Representatives for Beyonce did not make comments on her performance. Kelly Clarkson, who sang “My Country ‘Tis of Thee” performed her vocals live.
It is common practice for inaugural music to be pre-recorded so as to guard against the possibility for poor weather in the nation’s capital in January. As with any live event, any interruption can be detrimental to the proceedings. Cellist Yo-Yo Ma was accused of hand syncing his performance at the president’s first inauguration in 2009. On that day in which temperatures dropped to 19 degrees, Ma said that instruments were not functioning properly.
Whitney Houston, whose iconic performance of the anthem at the Super Bowl still ranks as one of the best ever, used a backing track in that instance as well. Sometimes artist choose to use a recorded track regardless of weather conditions. Whatever the circumstance or reason, it is somewhat common at large and important events.