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Reports: Beyonce lip-synched at inaugural address; Thoughts on that and Kelly Clarkson, James Taylor performances?

Posted by Katie McLeod  January 22, 2013 01:00 PM

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While Grammy-winning R&B/pop superstar Beyonce delivered a rousing performance of "The Star-Spangled Banner" at President Obama's second inaugural address in Washington, D.C., The Times of London reported earlier today that a representative for the US Marine Corps Band said that Beyonce lip-synched to a pre-recorded vocal track. The New York Post reports that it confirmed the news. Beyonce has not made a statement regarding the matter as of the time of this post. If she did indeed lip-sync, it may come as a surprise to folks that Beyonce did so, but it's not the first time a musician has performed along to a pre-recorded track. The Times notes that Yo-Yo Ma pre-recorded his cello performance in 2008 because of weather conditions. It was not apparent that Beyonce was singing to a pre-recorded track as she put on what looked like a believable, live performance -- even pulling out her ear piece at a moment when it seemed it could be interfering with hearing herself sing.

Still, her soaring rendition came alive with a pop feel set to the more traditional sound of the US Marine Corps Band. President Joe Biden, situated behind Beyonce as she performed, gave a big smile as the singer's voice boomed with the final notes of the country's national anthem -- a song historically known to give plenty of singers a difficult time. Beyonce raised her arms to the crowd as she came to the end, and was met with giant applause.

Are you surprised by reports that she lip-synched? If she did lip-sync, do you feel duped, or do you expect this for such a large event? Were you a fan of her performance? Are you now? Beyonce's powerful vocal chords certainly commanded attention in the moment, but what about her musical style? Regardless of whether she lip-synched or not, do you prefer a more traditional version of "The Star-Spangled Banner," or did you enjoy the tune with a pop twist? Watch the video below, and let us know in the comments. (As an aside, are you looking forward to Beyonce's halftime performance at this year's Super Bowl in New Orleans on Feb. 3?)

Earlier during the ceremony, Kelly Clarkson, another Grammy winner and the very first "American Idol," took to the podium in front of the Capitol Building to sing "My Country, Tis of Thee." Beaming, Clarkson began with a soft sound, building up to a powerful conclusion to this beloved, patriotic song. As she walked off the stage, President Obama gave her a kiss on the cheek -- as he also did later with Beyonce -- and cameras then caught her grinning from ear to ear, looking rather giddy.

What did you think of Clarkson's performance? Did she live up to your expectations or surpass them? Or were you disappointed?

And then there's James Taylor. The "Fire and Rain" and "You've Got a Friend" Grammy-winning singer brought his guitar to the platform and strummed a version of "America the Beautiful" that showcased the beauty of the song's lyrics with his simple yet powerful voice. Did you enjoy Taylor's version of the song? Do you wish it was more dramatic, or were you pleased with its simplicity?

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About Sound Effects

The latest news, commentary, and reviews on music in Boston and beyond.


Sarah Rodman is a staff music critic for the Boston Globe.

James Reed is a staff music critic for the Boston Globe.

Jonathan Perry is the Globe's Scene & Heard columnist, covering local music.

Michael Brodeur is the assistant arts editor for the Boston Globe, covering pop music, TV, and nightlife.

Julian Benbow is a staff writer at the Boston Globe, covering sports and music.

Katie McLeod is's features editor.

Rachel Raczka is a producer for Lifestyle and Arts & Entertainment at

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