By now most Americans are aware that Beyoncé was said to be lip-synching at President Obama’s second inauguration. There has been strong criticism against the singer doing so. Many people feel shortchanged by the ordeal. They wanted to hear her sing. They did not want to hear her lip-sync a prerecorded National Anthem.
A Los Angeles Times article by August Brown on January 24, 2013 states that many singers are coming to Beyoncé’s defense ; including the legendary Aretha Franklin who also sang the “The Star Spangled Banner” in 2009 at the president’s first inauguration.
"When I heard the news this evening that she was prerecorded, I really laughed," Franklin told 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 Beyoncé "did a beautiful job with the prerecord ... next time I'll probably do the same."
According to Brown several other singers have done the same thing. Whitney Houston once performed a prerecorded selection at the 1991 Rose Bowl. “At Obama's 2009 inauguration, cellist Yo-Yo Ma and violinist Yitzhak 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.”
“Eric Schilling supervises sound mixing for the Grammy telecast and has overseen live mixes for myriad award shows and the Super Bowl. He said that it is not uncommon for vocalists to have several parts of the music prerecorded.” He goes on to say, “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."
Representatives for Beyoncé Knowles have not yet said what parts of the anthem were pre-recorded. “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 (sic) that can occur in large venues.”
Although Beyoncé may have lip-synched her rendition of the National Anthem, it was her own recording; she did not pretend to be a singer when she wasn’t. Some slightly older fans may still remember the fiasco with Milli Vanilli who became a pop crazy in the late 1980s and 1990s. It was found that Milli Vanilli were not actually singing; they were lip-synching. Worse still, it was not even their voices they were lip-synching to. The whole fiasco resulted in the loss of their Grammy and pretty much their careers.