Rock It: Was Beyonce right to lip-sync national anthem?

Posted on November 14, 2013

0


Rock It: Was Beyonce right to lip-sync national anthem?

Beyonce sings the national anthem at the ceremonial swearing-in at the U.S. Capitol during the 57th Presidential Inauguration in Washington, Monday, Jan. 21, 2013. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais) / AP

Beyonce sings the national anthem at the ceremonial swearing-in at the U.S. Capitol during the 57th Presidential Inauguration in Washington, Monday, Jan. 21, 2013. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais) / AP

Byline: Rachael Mattice

Beyonce has gained the adoration of fans as one of the most powerful voices in music and runs the world of female pop stars with enticing dancing and an utterly flawless GQ cover look.

One would think a woman of this virtuosic stature could perform in front of any audience, taking on any amount of pressure, including being invited to sing the national anthem at President Barack Obama’s second inauguration Monday.

At a formal political event, why would you dare lip-sync the song?

With professional entertainers being caught lip-syncing during supposed live performances time and again, faking a significant and emotionally charged song such as the national anthem in front of the leaders of the United States seems downright idiotic.

Was she required to do this by producers because it was a high-pressure event with several variables to consider? Was the single-digit temperature too low that even a powerhouse such as Beyonce didn’t want to risk an embarrassing screech or voice crack?

Both of these excuses are relevant, but does that still make it acceptable?

Like other invited guests Stevie Wonder, Kelly Clarkson and Alicia Keys, Beyonce and her husband, Jay-Z, are huge Obama supporters. But unlike Beyonce, they all sang live at inauguration events.

People may argue that Jennifer Hudson’s lip-sync of the national anthem at the 2009 Super Bowl is just as unforgivable, or Ashlee Simpson’s screw up on “Saturday Night Live” was a career killer, but if it is a musician’s job to sing live in front of audiences, why even accept the job at all?

Backup music doesn’t necessarily give her leeway either, as stars such as Madonna, Michael Jackson and Britney Spears were known for dance-intensive, energetic performances and were expected to lip-sync. The difference, however, was a focus on the entire show and theatrics, not a spotlight on vocals.

Even if Beyonce knew she would be scrutinized for faking the national anthem, it must have been a lesser evil than risking the possibility of her voice cracking in the cold. But that would have demonstrated her raw humanity, side-by-side with Clarkson, who completed her song beautifully.

Just as an athlete would be stripped of titles for doping, cheating by lip-syncing shouldn’t be tolerated in the music business Beyonce works in. A flawed live version would have been more genuine than a perfect recorded one.

Mattice is a producer and music journalist for the Journal & Courier. She can be reached on Twitter @RachaelM_JC.

Advertisements
Posted in: "Rock It" Column