Beyoncé's "Star-Spangled Banner" Was Pre-Recorded

The director of the Marine Corps band said only the sound technician and Beyoncé herself know if she sang to the pre-recorded tape or simply mouthed the words

By Daniel Macht and Emily Feldman
|  Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013  |  Updated 6:29 AM EDT
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Pop star Beyonce performs the National Anthem at President Barack Obama's second inauguration. After the performance, there have been questions about <a href=whether the singer lip-synced. " />

NBC

Pop star Beyonce performs the National Anthem at President Barack Obama's second inauguration. After the performance, there have been questions about whether the singer lip-synced.

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Superstar Beyoncé Knowles' show-stopping performance of "The Star-Spangled Banner" at President Barack Obama's second inauguration Monday was pre-recorded, Col. Colburn, Director of the Marine Corps Band told NBC News. 

While the Marine Corp. had earlier confirmed to NBC News that the Grammy award-winning singer had in fact lip-synched, it later back peddled. "No one in the Marine Band is in a position to assess whether it was live or pre-recorded," Capt. Gregory A. Wolf said in a statement to NBC News.

What does seem to be clear, is that no one in the Marine Corps Band was actually playing.

"The Marine Band did perform live throughout the ceremony, but we received last-minute word that Beyoncé wanted to use the recording," a spokesperson said.

Colburn explained that the band "created a visual simulation of playing" to accompany the singer, NBC News reported.

He added that pre-recordings are always prepared ahead of inauguration performances as a precaution against poor weather or extenuating circumstances.

Back in 2008, cellist Yo-Yo Ma used a backing track as part of a quartet.

"You can't play cellos in 25 degrees," Master Sgt. Kristin DuBois, public affairs chief for the United States Marine Band, told NBC News. "Sometimes you just need to do it. Beyoncé is a gifted singer and her decision has no bearing on her musical ability."

Colburn added that Beyoncé had been getting ready for her Super Bowl performance and had no time to practice with the Marine Corps Band.

Still, the question of whether or not she lip-synched remains unanswered.

Colburn said that from where he was standing "it looked and sounded like she was singing her heart out." But he added that he couldn't tell if she was singing over the recorded track, or if she was simply mouthing the words.

The only people who would know the answer to that, Colburn told NBC News, are the sound person and Beyoncé herself.

Beyoncé has so far not commented on the reports.

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