News just in that President Obama has called for a press conference over Beyoncé lip-syncing the National Anthem. OK, obviously not, but it feels as though it wouldn’t be completely out of the question.
When The Times reported yesterday that Beyoncé had in fact mimed to ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ at Barack Obama’s presidential inauguration, the internet went into meltdown. The uproar couldn’t have been more fiery if our own Queen decided to bring back the noose.
The Times cited a spokesman from the Marine Corps Band as their source – but today doubts have been cast. According to the BBC, another spokesman muddied the water, saying “no-one in the Marine Band is in a position to assess whether it was live or pre-recorded”. Also, a mastering engineer and sound expert believes Bey did in fact sing live but it was the band that were pre-recorded. As anyone who’s played the recorder outside on a cold day can testify, sometimes those fingers just won’t work.
The sound expert makes a strong argument. Here’s one of his points:
At 1’20″ in the video above, she tilts her head slightly and the sound gets suddenly more bassy. This is an acoustic effect known as the “proximity effect”
He adds the caveat: “None of these clues are conclusive, but to fake all of them, plus the details of the performance itself, would make Beyonce the best lip-sync artist in the world!”
It’s completely normal for musicians to pre-record tracks for enormous live events such as Obama’s signing in, particularly because of weather conditions. Is the bear catholic? etc. At Obama’s 2009 inauguration, cold weather meant that a live performance by cellist Yo-Yo Ma and violinist Itzhak Perlman was ‘stage-crafted’. Vocal don ‘Aretha Franklin’ lip-synced ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ at a NBA final in 2004. Christina Aguilera really should’ve mimed at the Superbowl in 2011 when she fluffed the words. My ears are still recovering from Cheryl Cole’s live performance at the Diamond Jubilee concert last year.
And anyway, who cares if she did? It was right for her to follow in the steps of Whitney, Frank Sinatra and Fleetwood Mac – and, even if she lip-synced, it was a perfect job. As anyone who’s seen her in concert will attest, she can sing live. She’s spectacular. Get over it. All hail the Queen.