Report: Beyoncé Lip-Synced National Anthem at Inauguration: Is the Moment Tarnished?

Beyonce Lip Sync National AnthemWhat’s noisier than bombs bursting in air? The news that Beyoncé Knowles lip-synced her epic performance of the National Anthem at President Obama’s inauguration in Washington, D.C. on Monday.

Granted, it’s not uncommon for singers to pre-record their vocals for live outdoor events. But the New York Post broke the news today that Beyoncé removing her in-ear monitor midway through “The Star-Spangled Banner” (video embedded below) was a piece of pure theater. (Whatever the case, girlfriend definitely lip-synced…for her life!)

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“All music is pre-recorded for the ceremony because there are so many eventualities and conditions that day,” Kristin DuBois, a rep for the United States Marine Band told the Post. “We performed live, the band. But we received last-minute word that Beyoncé was going to use the pre-recorded vocal track. Those were the instructions we were given. We don’t know what the reason why.”

Meanwhile, TMZ is reporting that Kelly Clarkson sang live for her stunning cover of “My Country Tis of Thee.”

What do you think of this news? Is the beauty of B’s performance tarnished by the fact that it wasn’t live? Is this much ado about nothing? Why couldn’t Beyonce do what Kelly could? And do you need to hear from Beyoncé herself before you decide? Sound off in the comments!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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150 Comments
  1. intelliwoman says:

    Disgraceful. What a shame.

  2. jamie says:

    I love Beyonce, but unfortunately this isn’t surprising at all.

  3. Allyson says:

    I think it is tacky to lip synced especially at a Presidential Inauguration. I am sorry, but I am tired of singers taking the easy way out. I miss when singers actually sang! I am sure there are many reasons she could list for this, but this is wrong. I am fan of Beyounce, but come on.

    • meem says:

      There were TWO singers who actually sang yesterday, James Taylor and Kelly Clarkson.

      • Tammy Daniels says:

        None of those white folks could ever and i do mean ever outsang a black performer, you guys do nothing but imitate, while we sing with true feeling, you white people have been doing this crap since the beginning of time Elvis…….and all the rest of them no feeling ass white folk!!!!!!!LOL!!!

        • Jennifer R. says:

          Wow, that is a pretty ignorant comment. Hope this isn’t the mentality you go through your daily life with. There are bigger issues out there then trying to make an argument about who sings better following with then speaking derogatory about one race.

  4. Chris says:

    Am I the only one that wasn’t completely blown away by this performance? I love Beyonce and thought she did a great job, but people are talking like this was the most amazing version they’ve ever heard. it wasn’t even the best singing of 15 minutes – Kelly outsang Beyonce by a mile!

    • Newo says:

      Kelly also reportedly sang live…

    • Cassie says:

      Completely agree with you! Kelly definitely sang better than Beyonce..plus Kelly sang live.

    • Alice says:

      I agree, and I’m not a Kelly Clarkson fan, but I didn’t think Beyonce’s anthem was very good. But then, I’m nota fan of when they add in so many notes to every other word that you can’t hear the tune. “Land of the free” was good, the rest of it, meh. Kelly Clarkson, I remember thinking was really good, but also, she was obviously so nervous and excited running to the mic, maybe I was expecting HER to screw up, so anything was going to be better than expected?

    • dude says:

      Completely agree. All through Beyonce’s version I couldn’t help but think “damn, Kelly was so much better” it actually distracted from enjoying her performance, which was good.

    • teatime says:

      I agree. I loved Kelly’s performance. Beyonce sang beautifully but it was not a moving rendition of the song. Kelly’s performance was a lovely and very memorable version of her song.

    • Tammy Daniels says:

      No sweetie, Beyonce has “feeling” while the little white girl imitated, like they always do, a la Elvis, they will NEVER have the feeling that we have, they have to be taught it, Beyonce outsang that funny looking lil white chickm I’m sorry but I call like it is and has been since the beginning of time, they need to stick to the business that is bred in them, like manipulation, lying, and basically stealing everything they ever got including this country!!!!!!!!

  5. Ulose says:

    Kelly sounded better anyways. Everyone always wants to give Miss Beyonce attention for no reason; there are better singers out there people.

  6. Diva says:

    She’s just like Whitney.

  7. Rachel says:

    She still sang the song ridiculously well…she just did it at a different time. I am a little disappointed at the news but I get that in this situation everyone (performer, reps, politicians, organizers) would want things to be as smooth and flawless as possible and any kind of audio or weather issues could have affected it. It was still one of the most amazing performances I have ever heard. Live or recorded.

    • brandy says:

      At a different time, when she could try as many times as she wanted to get it right, and when things could be tweaked afterward to correct for any small problems.

      Live and pre-recorded are definitely two different things. Just look at all the people who sound fine on the radio and like crap live. (Kelly Clarkson, it should be noted, has always sounded amazing live.)

    • allie08 says:

      except there were no weather or audio issues.

    • ejones says:

      But in years to come, she is going to look back and say to herself ‘I had the honour of singing the national anthem at the swearing in of a president and I fluffed it’.

  8. Elaine says:

    I would have been fine had she not tried to fake it by pulling out her earpiece. That wasn’t necessary and signals that she knew it was hinky.

  9. Eric says:

    It was still a great rendition. It’s not uncommon for these things to be pre recorded especially if they are being sang outside, in not great conditions. Whitney was lip syncing the Anthem at the Super Bowl in ’91. No one contests that her version was brilliant. I believe Jennifer Hudson sang over a pre recorded track when she sang at the Super Bowl as well. Whatever.

  10. Lynn says:

    Kelly gave a STUNNING performance that blew Beyonce out of the water – and she actually sang LIVE. She deserves credit as one of the best vocalists out there, period. A voice like hers is rare.

  11. Lizzie says:

    Total rubbish!!! And what is up with the look on her face before hand?? Damn!! Either she was scared ****less or she was angry as hell. lol! Does this mean Kelly Clarkson lip synced too?? What the hell?? I hate this.

  12. Mary says:

    I’m sorry but I feel for better or worse it should be sung live. It is a honor to be asked if she wasn’t comfortable singing live then decline. Does this mean that she lop snyced all her performances?

  13. tp says:

    She lip-synced her own voice. What’s the big deal? Why did they feel the need to tell this?

  14. Jen says:

    Of all events to sing the National Anthem live…the Presidential Inauguration is it. If Kelly Clarkson could do it in the same elements and sound great, so could have Beyonce. What a shame.

    • Rob says:

      I think the point is that she *couldn’t* sing that live and sound as great. Because she doesn’t have the voice for it.

    • G-Mom says:

      If Beyonce could have done as well live, she would have sung it live. She did sound great, though, but….. Kelly doesn’t need to record her performance EVER because she is an awesome singer. She even sounds BETTER live! And what I love about her is that she IS so “dorky” and gets nervous and excited. She is adorable!

  15. Ivan says:

    Somewhat tired of entertainers who can’t/won’t perform without vocal tracks or autotune. Just watched the 10th anniversary Les Miz from 1995 – every performer sang live and were utterly amazing (just youtube some of them). It’s too bad it’s these studio created ‘singers’ who get asked to do these public performances. Good job to Kelly though – that’s how it’s done.

  16. odioneigbobo says:

    Funny how people were tuning in JUST for Beyonce and she lip-syncs. And the Beyonce fans are like no big deal, but if any other artist like Kelly Clarkson did that, she would be dragged for months. stupid

  17. Kim R says:

    Seriously? She didn’t sing live? Well, then anyone could have done what she did. We can all pretend we are singing. Disappointing. :(

  18. Lauren says:

    Personally, I would rather run the risk of having one or two off-key notes than a potentially damning Ashlee Simpson on SNL fiasco. Imagine tuning in and seeing that at the inauguaration! I remember there was a major debate four years ago about Aretha Franklin singing live at the inauguration and it wasn’t a perfect performance, she was a little pitchy or something. But the argument against the backlash was that this is what a human voice sounds like without autotune. I wish Beyonce had followed Aretha’s lead. She has a great voice.

    • teatime says:

      Exactly. If it is a live performance, sing it live and no one cares if a few notes are off. We want to hear a live performance. We understand that means there might be issues.

  19. Melissa says:

    Man, I don’t like her as it is and I thought she did a good job. I’m disappointed. She could’ve sung live.

  20. Sara says:

    I dont care, she is brilliant anyways. A true definition of s living legend.

  21. Jackie King says:

    I’m a Beonce fan and it’s a shame she lipped synced the performance. She should’ve done it live like Kelly did. Kelly was very good. :-)

  22. Lia says:

    Kelly Clarkson is a singer (awesome) and Beyonce is a performer.

    • Dee says:

      I like your statement Lia, totally on the mark.

      All style (she thinks), no substance. She couldn’t sing it live to save her life.

      What a joke.

      Kelly was much better.

  23. Esaul says:

    I’m not bothered. It’s still her singing it anyway. Just not live. And I don’t blame her. It looked cold outside.

    • Gataroo says:

      Yeah the cold, that’s why Kelly sounded awful. Oh wait…

      • Esaul says:

        Cold weather does different things to people. It may effect Beyonce it may not. She could’ve had a sore throat. Who knows why that happened. And I’m not saying Kelly was bad.

        • Dede says:

          If it was that cold she wouldn’t have taken her coat off to sing in her lace dress, so she didn’t have a sore throat. Since that would have been bad.

  24. Mo says:

    Not a surprise, she just can’t sing anyway.

  25. Alice says:

    But it doesn’t take away from my favorite Beyonce moment at the inauguration. Beyonce and Jay Z looking bewildered and pissed as they wait to exit the platform. I don’t think they have ever had to wait in a line for…anything, and here were all these ugly old people making them stand there and wait, and wait, and wait… it was hysterical. He kept taking her hand to pull her along, but the crowd just wasn’t parting before him as usual. They looked so confused.

  26. If you can’t sing live, spare us….and don’t sing in public at ALL. Beyonce is a fraud.

  27. Joe says:

    Are u kidding me people are upset over the lip syncing ? If she sang live and screwed it up u people on here would be bitching that she screwed that up too,

  28. xx says:

    Beyonce couldn’t do what Kelly did because she’s not as good at singing.

  29. Eri says:

    Even with pre-recorded vocal, she was bad, XD
    If she sang live, it would have been horrible…

    • dude says:

      LOL I don’t think she was bad but I have to admit I assumed she was singing live because she sounded really off, like she couldn’t hear herself or something. I do love how she yanked the earpiece out mid-way to make it look like she was singing live.

  30. Bradley says:

    I don’t mind, but she better not pull this stunt at The Super Bowl

    • Mary says:

      You know she will because she will be dancing and moving all over the stage. No way in hell will she do the super bowl live.

      • Scott says:

        Ok, I am sorry, but comparing this to the Super Bowl is sad. This event is for the US it is a Presidential event, she should have sang live. The super bowl is a sporting entertainment event, big big difference.

        • A says:

          Uh, that is a ridiculous comment to make. The above poster is comparing the two events because they are both large, widely-viewed, outdoor, cold events. The Super Bowl being a sporting entertainment event doesn’t negate the fact that she should sing live. That is what is expected at either event.

  31. sam says:

    So What. I have worked 4 Inaugurations and know how cold and windy it can be up there, even with the heaters. She practiced hard in advance and was hitting high and long notes. Maybe she didn’t want to chance breathing in wrong and cracking. It was an important event and I wouldn’t fault any of them for recording in advance, in fact I think it’s a good idea.

    • meem says:

      They ALL recorded in advance, in case conditions made it impossible to sing live. But Beyonce is the only one who was so insecure as to USE her recorded track.

      • sam says:

        I am more a fan of Kelly than Beyonce. And I applaud each one, takes courage to do what they do. Yup, no argument, Kelly had more courage than Beyonce singing live with her notes, but I just don’t think it’s a big deal and I still say, so what. I was entertained.

  32. Ross says:

    It’s common at events like these so no big deal. But shows how amazing Kelly Clarkson is…

  33. Carol says:

    Listen, she can obviously sing. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BQYv1_BAql0)
    She probably had her reasons to lyp-synch. She should just come clean, and we would all move on.

  34. Carmen says:

    There isn’t much that is real about her to begin with. Why are we surprised?

  35. cj says:

    How can this be a surprise to anyone? The second I saw that performance I knew it was lip-synch. I’ve heard Beyonce sing live before – and I don’t think this instance matters (the girl can def. sing!) – but this was obviously not a live performance.

  36. Josh says:

    Whitney would sang the s*** outta that song. Live!!

    • xx says:

      Nope, she lip-synced too.

      • teatime says:

        I am so disappointed to hear that. I remember that performance from Whitney. I was out in public and not paying attention to the TV but everyone at my table noticed that performance and stopped talking and looked to see who it was. Somehow, it is just not the same if it is recorded. It is still an amazing recording but it is just not as much of an event as someone getting up there and delivering a jaw-dropping live performance.
        An analogy would be if you were stunned by an amazing feat in a live sporting event and later heard the actual incident was not done live at the time but was something done earlier in practice and replayed later as part of a live event. Sure, the person really had the skill but the point of the live event is anything can happen. When everything hits just right it is amazing in part because it was live at the time.

  37. remulak says:

    I don’t think the moment is tarnished, but I do hope Kelly Clarkson will get the praise she deserves for her amazing and moving rendition of My Country Tis of Thee, instead of being largely overlooked by every News agency in favor of Beyonce’s performance.

  38. I’ll consider this as karmic retribution for the Halo/Already Gone fiasco

  39. Rachel says:

    It’s really not that big a deal. We all know Beyonce can sing. If Whitney or Mariah got up there and did the same thing it still wouldn’t be a big deal. We already know they can sing. So what if they lip sync.

  40. I can understand why she did, because I would imagine singing the National Anthem at the President’s inauguration would be a lot of pressure. It’s a bummer that this has to become a controversy, especially since she is a phenomenal live singer and I’m sure would have done a wonderful job regardless.

  41. allie08 says:

    Kelly sang live, the amazing Brooklyn tabernacle performed live, the bands played live…. yet Beyonce gets the most attention because of her looks. Kudos to the GREAT live performances and a simple “whatever” about Beyonce. Is anyone truly surprised?

  42. Landon says:

    Disgraceful. I can only imagine how much of the tax payer’s money was spent to have her at that event when anyone there could have just as easily hit play on their iPod!

  43. Heather says:

    BOOOO! What’s the point of hiring a singer for an event like that if they aren’t even going to sing live? It’s a waste of money. That’s bad taste for Beyonce and the event planners for allowing her to do that.

  44. Aaron says:

    Even people like Celine Dion and Mariah Carey lip sync, so this doesn’t surprise me.

    • sam says:

      Maybe we just have become sensitized to it? Maybe it’s just me, since it doesn’t seem to bother me any more as long as it’s the person singing to their own voice.

  45. TS says:

    Kudos to Kelly who sang live! She did an amazing job – way better than Beyonce any day! This goes to show who has real talent and self confidence.

  46. you do not lip sync the national anthem at the USA presidential inauguration, end of story! This moment needs to be kept traditional and real. sheesh!

  47. sash ran says:

    I thought Beyonce had a good voice. Why does she have to lip sync? Weird.

  48. Scott says:

    Very disrespectful IMO…I don’t care if you lip sync, but no one should lip sync the national anthem..I find it insulting. She should issue an immediate apology.

  49. sash ran says:

    If you’re going to play a recorded track, why get up there and move your lips? Why not just listen and appreciate the music along with everyone else. No need to be a faker.

  50. KSM says:

    I assumed it at the time, it sounded pre-recorded. Doesn’t really bother me though. James Taylor kept talking about how hard it is to sing when it is cold like that. Kelly was totally better, though.