The Beyoncé lip sync, like all things inaugural, is not without precedent: Cellist Yo-Yo Ma and violinist Itzhak Perlman didn't play live in 2008, either. But it gives White House critics an opening.
Lots of people thought Beyoncé did a great job singing the “Star Spangled Banner” to close out President Obama’s second inaugural ceremony. She performed it straight, navigating the song’s famously difficult range of notes with aplomb. There was just the right amount of soul injected into the critical line “proof through the night that our flag was still there," and then her voice went up into the ending, “home of the brave,” and held it for emphasis just long enough, and not a moment longer.
Bette Midler, who should know, said Beyoncé was fantastic.
“The hardest song in any repertoire, the national anthem. She had to remove the in-ear monitor. It’s a bear. She sang beautifully,” Ms. Midler tweeted after the performance.
But it turns out Beyoncé wasn’t singing after all. She was lip-synching. She removed her earpiece because ... well, because it was superfluous to pretend to hear herself when she was moving her lips but nothing was really coming out.
You’re shocked and crushed by this revelation, I know. But it was reported earlier today by the Times of London and confirmed later by CNN. Washingtonian Magazine has a good summary of developments, including the fact that reporters close to the ceremony suspected this to be the case because members of the Marine Band appeared to be mimicking use of their instruments. That’s pretty obvious when your instrument is a tuba.