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Beyonce lip-syncing furor: She wouldn't be the first

Beyonce's musical performance at President Obama's second inauguration on Monday has caused a stir in the press, with speculation that she lip-synced "The Star Spangled Banner."


A source very familiar with the situation tells CBS News that Beyonce performed the National Anthem live, but she pre-recorded a track of the song to sing over. The source said this is a standard performing practice. And the musical accompaniment by the Marine Band? A recording.

Beyonce lip-synced national anthem at inauguration, Marine Band says

There has been no comment by Beyonce's publicist. However, pictures and video of her performance is prominent on the artist's website.

If it is true that Beyonce did lip-sync at Monday's inauguration, she wouldn't be the first artist to perform that way at a major national event. Here are a few examples:

  • In 1991, Whitney Houston lip-synced her iconic interpretation of "The Star Spangled Banner" at the Super Bowl.
  • Oscar-winner and former "American Idol" contestant Jennifer Hudson did the same thing with the anthem at the Super Bowl in 2009.
  • Faith Hill also performed to a backing track for "America The Beautiful" at the same event in 2009.
  • At President Obama's first inauguration in 2009, Yo-Yo Ma's performance came into question over "hand syncing." The acclaimed cellist had said the instruments weren't working properly in the very cold weather.

There were even reports that speculated Madonna was lip-syncing during her appearance at the 2012 Super Bowl half-time show. "The only thing Madonna proved during the Super Bowl 46 show is her irrelevance; the halftime show was so obviously lip synced that it was painful," wrote SBNation's JP Starkey.

As for Beyonce, a statement released by the Marine Band to CBS News on Tuesday said that "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. Regarding Ms. Knowles-Carter's vocal performance, no one in the Marine Band is in a position to assess whether it was live or pre-recorded."

CBS News has confirmed that James Taylor, who also performed "America The Beautiful" at President Obama's second inauguration, did not perform to pre-recorded music and that everything was live, according to the artist's representative.

A representative for singer Kelly Clarkson, who had sang "My Country, 'Tis Of Thee" at also at the inauguration Monday, told The Associated Press, that her performance was live.

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