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Beyonce fans not silent on lip-synch critics

By August Brown

Los Angeles Times (MCT)

LAST UPDATED: 07:41 a.m. HST, Jan 24, 2013

LOS ANGELES » High-profile vocalists, including 2009 presidential inauguration singer Aretha Franklin, are coming to Beyonce Knowles’ defense since the singer came under fire for reportedly lip-synching the “Star Spangled Banner” at President Obama’s inauguration Monday.

“When I heard the news this evening that she was prerecorded, I really laughed,” Franklin told ABC News. “I thought it was funny because the weather down there was about 46 or 44 degrees, and for most singers that is just not good singing weather.” The 70-year-old Queen of Soul said Beyonce “did a beautiful job with the prerecord ... next time I’ll probably do the same.”

If Beyonce did sing along to a prerecorded vocal track while performing the famously tricky national anthem, the 31-year-old singer would be far from the first.

Whitney Houston’s much-praised take on it at the 1991 Super Bowl may have cracked the Billboard singles chart, but she performed using prerecorded vocals at the telecast. At Obama’s 2009 inauguration, cellist Yo-Yo Ma and violinist Itzhak Perlman also prerecorded their performances, as the cold weather would have made playing their instruments outdoors extremely difficult. Singing and playing along to previously cut tracks is a common practice for televised live events, especially those held outdoors in cold weather.

“Some artists (use tracks) because they’re insecure, but she’s such a good singer, hands down one of the best today,” said Eric Schilling, who supervises sound mixing for the Grammy telecast and has overseen live mixes for myriad award shows and the Super Bowl. He said live performances at that scale often incorporate varying degrees of prerecorded vocal and instrumental tracks, especially when involving pop artists who dance or singers who perform in acoustically challenging spaces (like, say, the National Mall). Full-on lip-synching is relatively rare, but “at really large outdoor events or something like the Super Bowl, I’ve definitely seen people do that.”

Beyonce’s reps hadn’t confirmed by press time Wednesday exactly what was coming through the speakers during her performance at Monday’s inauguration. CNN reported Wednesday than an unnamed official on Obama’s inauguration committee said that “she did not sing live” and made the decision to do so herself the night before the ceremony.

C3 Presents, an Austin, Texas, company behind the Austin City Limits Music Festival and Lollapalooza, staged the inauguration but declined to comment on Beyonce’s performance.

Fans and music critics initially applauded her virtuoso take on “The Star-Spangled Banner,” with extra praise for the seemingly spontaneous moment when she removed her in-ear monitor and kept immaculate pitch.

But questions as to the performance’s authenticity changed the conversation Tuesday when sources with the U.S. Marine Band, who performed atop their own prerecorded music at the inauguration, said that Beyonce used a taped vocal track in the performance.

A Marine Band spokeswoman told the Times of London: “We did prerecord it, and it was Beyonce’s decision at the last minute to go with the prerecorded version. ... We prerecorded all music as a matter of course and have done since time immemorial.” Representatives of fellow inauguration performers Kelly Clarkson and James Taylor have confirmed their performances were live and not prerecorded.

After the news caused an uproar among disappointed fans (that in some ways has eclipsed the day’s myriad other events), another Marine Band spokesman followed up later that day with a walk-back that left room for even more speculation: “Regarding Ms. Knowles-Carter’s vocal performance, no one in the Marine Band is in a position to assess whether it was live or prerecorded,” Capt. Eric Flanagan said. He did affirm that the Marine Band’s instrumental accompaniment was prerecorded.

This week on “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart,” Jennifer Lopez attested to the need for prerecorded vocals at these types of big public performances, saying, “Sometimes it happens when you are in certain stadiums and certain venues and things, they do prerecord stuff because you’re going to have that terrible slap-back,” referring to the natural but distracting echo and reverb that can occur in large venues.

This might not even be the last time Beyonce uses a prerecorded vocal on a major telecast this year. She’s scheduled to perform, with her bandmates in Destiny’s Child, at the halftime ceremonies of this year’s Super Bowl.

But Schilling said that in most cases, vocally confident artists shouldn’t be afraid of singing live. “Live is always fun and a little different each time. The show will never be flawless, but I’ve found it to be a higher energy and a more engaging performance.”

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loquaciousone wrote:
on January 24,2013 | 07:02AM
hawaiikone wrote:
well phrased...
on January 24,2013 | 08:21AM
realist3463 wrote:
Let's see, what is important to this fish wrapper. Obviously, a singer who lip syncs at the President's inauguration. Certainly it would appear not the testimony of the sitting Secretary of State who testified yesterday before Congress that she and the Presidents lied about Benghazi, where our Ambassador and three others were murdered, and that it did not matter anyway.
on January 24,2013 | 07:03AM
AhiPoke wrote:
You're not suggesting that the SA would provide cover for the prez, would you??? Why would any member of our independent media do such a thing.
on January 24,2013 | 01:18PM
st1d wrote:
if you're going to use pre-recorded tracks to cover the singing, use a pre-printed cardboard cut out for the singer.
on January 24,2013 | 07:58AM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
Just give them an accordion or ukulele and let them go at it.
on January 24,2013 | 03:45PM
Ronin006 wrote:
Why would it surprise anyone that President Obama’s second term started with an attempt to mislead the public into believing something was occurring when it really was not (Beyonce lip-synching the National Anthem)? The Obama administration routinely did it during Obama’s first term.
on January 24,2013 | 08:20AM
honupono wrote:
I don't get it.... Beyonce was not at her concert gyrating like a pole dancer but was honered with her singing the Star Spangled banner for the inaguration. It was about giving a real live honest performance with the chance to have a live military band playing behind you. Let's face it. If James Taylor and Kelly Clarkson can understand the magnitude of the performance than how is Beyonce any different? Perhaps, her vocal skills are not up to the standard of the honor. I would rather she sing live with pitch problems than pre recorded and having a live band fake playing behind her. Sounding good in a studio is easily achieved with production. It's that simple. If you can't do it or are to lazy to do it, then fake it I guess.
on January 24,2013 | 08:42AM
waverider808 wrote:
why is it so surprising that she did this. this is a common practice among all of the singers. do you honestly think they can gyrate and dance and jump while singing in perfect pitch? as an ex roadie for many bands, it really is common practice. try it. jog in place quite fast and try to sing. your voice will be all over the place.....
on January 24,2013 | 09:51AM
honupono wrote:
Again...she was not gyrating...ummm just standing there and supposedly letting her voice speak to us.. not to mention she pulled her earplugs off as if it was getting in the way of her hearing her voice as she was singing. Perhaps she should just sit down and play the song or at least let the band sit and watch her. It was not honest.
on January 24,2013 | 11:09AM
honupono wrote:
Spin it all you like, broadway singers can dance and move and sing all together. Beyonce is fake like her hair.
on January 24,2013 | 11:20AM
hanoz808 wrote:
i still liked it
on January 24,2013 | 10:05AM
dsl wrote:
on January 24,2013 | 10:10AM
silvangold wrote:
my goodness..........there no pleasing everyone, is there? Ya just can't win. if she sang live (without having even practiced with the band - which was reported), and had pitchy problems, people would grumble and critisize to no end. I personally thought they chose the right thing to dol GET OVER IT ALL YOU GRUMBLERS.
on January 24,2013 | 11:45AM
honupono wrote:
your assuming that IF she atually sang live with pitch problems then people would grumble for that...I'm not sold. I would rather hear her sing live and pitchy than faked pre recorded voice correctioned lip synching. It's about deception. Liar liar fake singing on fire.
on January 24,2013 | 01:27PM
false wrote:
Who really cares.
on January 24,2013 | 01:02PM
honupono wrote:
people with integrity and respect for true artists.
on January 24,2013 | 01:27PM
808comp wrote:
Whats the big deal, it still sounded great. They should get that tape and use it at the UH games.
on January 24,2013 | 02:44PM
honupono wrote:
Many people thinks it is a big deal. It's about integrity and talent.
on January 24,2013 | 03:07PM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
You know, Beyonce could just come right out and say what she did and why and this would all be over and who cares. But noooooo....the image machine has to keep this pumping.
on January 24,2013 | 03:43PM
honupono wrote:
well yes. If she said i'm fake singing and the band can leave...then I'd feel she was honest. Other wise I would think she meant to deceive. And that is the problem as I see it. We try to teach children to be honest, to tell the truth, to work hard and practice, I mean being able to sing is not unique, but singing with skill and emotion is rare. And knowing that two other singers sang live at the same event, makes it even more obscene that Beyonce fake sang. Is that what our society settles for?
on January 24,2013 | 08:30PM
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