Beyonce’s Lip Sync at Obama’s 2013 Inaguration

BY VICKY KRUKENKAMP
SC Staff Writer

When Beyoncé entered the press conference concerning her upcoming Super Bowl performance, she asked the crowd to rise, sang “The Star Spangled Banner” with no musical accompaniment, and then went on to admit that she had lip-synced her performance at President Obama’s 2nd Inauguration on January 21, 2013.

In order to defend her decision to lip-sync, Beyoncé explained that it was her experience as an artist that forced her to make the decision.

“I am a perfectionist,” she said. “And one thing about me: I practice ‘till my feet bleed. I did not have time to rehearse with the orchestra. It was a live television show… Due to the weather, due to the delay, due to no proper sound check… I did not feel comfortable singing live.”

Perfectionist or not, is it appropriate for an artist to “fake it” during such important circumstances?

Beyoncé supporters are quick to jump to her defense, saying that she was right to choose to lip-sync.

They cite how difficult it is to sing behind an orchestra, how the cold weather affects the quality of the voice, and so on.      But here’s the issue – she had been given the honor of singing at the Presidential Inauguration, she needed to bring her A-game.

Being asked to perform the National Anthem at the Presidential Inauguration is among the highest honors that an American artist can receive.  Would it not then be standard for an artist to begin preparations for any possible condition that may arise?

Clearly, Beyoncé was prepared in one way.  She was prepared with a voice track.

Beyoncé should have expected the cold weather, and the difficulties that would arise for rehearsal.

She claims to practice until her feet bleed.  Why didn’t she practice singing in the cold?  Why does she need a proper sound check?  Why does it matter if there is a delay?

These are all obvious occurrences that can be expected of the venue and the event.  An honest perfectionist would have been prepared.  Obviously she can sing our National Anthem, so why didn’t she?

To me it seems she was more afraid of the backlash that would occur if something went wrong, and instead tried to deceive the public.  How could she?

The historical record of the 2013 Inauguration will always be marred by the narcissistic decision made by Beyoncé.  She didn’t need to be perfect; she needed to be authentic.

The original American Idol, Kelly Clarkson realized that deception would produce worse backlash, and rightly took the risk.  The singer also performed at the 2013 Inauguration, singing her rendition of “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee” undoubtedly live.

It’s not hard to recall the Saturday Night Live/Ashlee Simpson debacle of 2004.

At that time, Simpson claimed medical reasons in defense of her choice, but the singer’s fledgling career never truly recovered.

Luckily enough for Beyoncé, her well established talent has saved the controversy of her decision from dominating her career.

Though her performance at the Half-Time show of Sunday’s Super Bowl has reached mixed reviews, questions have been put to rest about her ability to perform live on the national stage.

Email Vicky at:
vkrukenkamp@live.esu.edu

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