When President Obama (or at least his inaugural committee) asked his BFF Beyoncé to sing the “Star Spangled Banner” on Inauguration Day, one would assume that they asked her to do it live.
But was she actually the first person to lip-sync the national anthem during the inauguration? Some members of the press seated near the performance certainly think so.
According to Washingtonian’s Sophie Gilbert, the Marine Corps Band was not actually playing music, but the conductor was waving wildly and the musicians were silently blowing into their instruments.
During the middle of the song, Beyoncé took out her earpiece, which would make it difficult to hear the accompanying music and stay on the same rhythm as the band that actually wasn’t playing at all.
Beyoncé may have unwittingly given her lip-syncing ways away. On Jan. 20, she posted an Instagram photo of herself in a recording studio holding the sheet music of the national anthem. In another photo, she is sitting in front of a microphone and recording equipment.
Gilbert noted that during Obama’s 2009 inauguration, a recording of cellist Yo-Yo Ma and violinist Itzhak Perlman’s performance was piped in rather than performed live due to high wind.
If Beyoncé did lip-sync, she would be the first known performer to have done so during the inauguration ceremony.
Was Bey mouthing the words to a recording? Judge for yourself:
UPDATE: The London Times confirms that Beyoncé was lip-syncing during her performance. They write, “A spokeswoman for the Marine Corp Band said it was standard procedure to record a backing track and Beyoncé decided shortly before her performance to rely on the studio version rather than risk singing it live at the Capitol.”