Beyoncé and lip-sync scandal

Did she lip-sync or didn’t she?
That’s the question still on many American’s minds two days after popular singer Beyonce gave what appeared to be a stirring rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner” at President Obama’s inauguration Jan. 21.
The mini-scandal has created more buzz than the president’s inauguration speech.
Speculation the song was not performed live surfaced immediately on Twitter and was given legs early Jan. 22 in a story by Washington, D.C. magazine, The Washingtonian. The Times of London later reported that they had confirmed Beyonce lip-synced her performance.
Fuel to the fire were photos posted by Beyonce to her Tumblr account, showing what appears to be a recording session with the U.S. Marine Band (which accompanied her performance) in advance of the inauguration ceremony.
Beyonce herself has been silent on the subject, but the U.S. Marine Band has given conflicting statements.

Beyoncé and lip-sync scandal

The Beyonce lip-sync debate is in some ways a clash of cultures. On one side is a political world in which authenticity is seen as important. On the other is show business.
Is it possible that Beyonce sang “The Star-Spangled Banner” live at President Obama’s inauguration, after all? Or that she sang some of it live and let a prerecorded tape carry the rest?
This comes up because the Marine Band has backed off a statement that the ex-Destiny’s Child singer lip-synced the song all the way through. Right now the situation seems to be this: The sound of the Marine Band under the national anthem was a prerecorded track. Musicians did not have enough time to practice with Beyonce before the inauguration to do otherwise.
But the Marine Band has no idea what Beyonce herself did.
“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” – said a statement from Marine Corps spokesman Capt. Gregory Wolf.
Read carefully, this does not say she didn’t lip-sync, of course. So previous reports that she did just that may be right. It simply unconfirms something that the journalists and the Twitterverse at large had been treating as established fact. Beyonce herself has yet to weigh in on the matter.
Still, the debate rages on whether it matters if she did mouth “O say can you see” instead of sing it. In some ways, it’s a clash of cultures. On one side is a political world in which authenticity is seen as important and the inauguration is a ritual as important as any America has, while on the other is show business, where surface is everything and singers routinely auto-tune and/or lip-sync their performances.

While President Obama’s ascent to the highest seat of government came off with magisterial smoothness, our crown-diva hasn’t fared so well in the days since – yesterday the world was shocked (!) to discover that Beyonce may have lip-synched her performance of “The Star-Spangled Banner” over a recording that she’d made earlier. (A spokesperson for the United States Marine Band tattled. Later, the band backed off its initial statement and said that they had no way of telling whether or not she was singing live. The controversy continues.) Her critics and fans went at it on Twitter on Tuesday evening at a rate of about fifty tweets per minute. “Beyonce had to lip sync to the same song 11 yr old girls sing live at sports venues all over the U.S. #Disgrace” – wrote one outraged citizen. Others, such as Anderson Cooper, raised their voices in her defense: “Who cares if @Beyonce didn’t sing live at Inauguration. She looked and sounded amazing! More tonight in #theridiculist.” The day’s historic moments—Myrlie Evers-Williams’s stately invocation (she was the first layperson, and the first woman, to recite the ceremony’s opening prayer), Obama’s rousing assertion of a progressive second-term agenda, the presence onstage of more women and minorities than white men—seem to have receded in the wake of lip-sync-gate.
This “scandal” may seem trivial (or, as one baffled Twitterer put it “ZOMG BEYONCE LIP SYNC SCANDAL!!! 48 million people on food stamps”), but the sheer number of people interested in discussing it—the story has been reported by nearly every major American news outlet—is telling. Why should it make so many people so angry to know that Beyonce convincingly tossed her hair and widened her eyes and shimmied her head to the sound of her very own voice? If anything, her zeal for perfection does her credit and befits the grandeur of the occasion. Not to mention the fact that Beyonce is as skilled at lip-synching as she is at everything else – it’s all part of her carefully trained, cultivated artistry.

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