Her gorgeous, bold, pitch-perfect rendition of The Star-Spangled Banner seemed almost too good to be true – and it was, as it turned out. Beyoncé Knowles recorded a version of the national anthem over the weekend, and ended up using that pre-recorded version of the song for the actual performance instead of opting to sing it live.
The question of “why” remains, as Beyoncé’s reps aren’t commenting, and there seems to be some debate over whether Bey herself asked for the switch, or the powers that be made the decision for her.
Having pre-recorded music ready to go just in case is par for the course with inauguration ceremonies, but usually the only reason the recordings are used is if the weather doesn’t allow for live performances, in which case usually none of the performers play live.
In this case, however, it seems like Beyoncé was the only one who didn’t sing. Reps for James Taylor and Kelly Clarkson have confirmed that both artists performed their songs live. It has been suggested that there wasn’t enough time for the Marine Band to rehearse the song adequately with Beyoncé, and so “the decision was made” (whatever that means) at the last minute to use the recording rather than a full live performance.
Honestly though, this is standard procedure – Whitney Houston’s 1991 Super Bowl performance is often referred to as the gold standard for the national anthem, but that, too, was pre-recorded. In fact, recordings are frequently used for important events where it’s deemed too risky for the artist to sing live. Either way, we know Bey can sing, and the audience seemed to love the performance, even if it wasn’t strictly live.
When she’s not busy seeking out new music and artists, BJ spreads her love for music across the web as a blogger and small business marketer.