It spread like wildfire that songbird Beyoncé lip-synched the national anthem at Monday’s presidential inauguration. A lot of people were outraged. Some didn’t care. Does it really matter? According to Entertainment on Today, Jan. 24, Jennifer Lopez and Aretha Franklin, the answer is no.
Jennifer Lopez told “The Daily Show” about pre-taped vocals and why some performances require them.
“In certain stadiums, in certain venues, they do pre-record things, because you’re going to have that terrible ‘slapback,'” she said. (Slapback occurs when there’s a delay in vocals or instruments, and is sometimes used to great effect — but live, it can be problematic.)
Beyoncé was not the first singer, nor will she be the last, to make the decision to lip-synch in a large venue which exacerbates this effect. Cold dry temperatures also affect a singer’s vocal cords.
Aretha Franklin faced the same problem at the president’s first inauguration in 2009. In a telephone interview with “Today,” Franklin said the decision to lip-synch was understandable. “I could certainly understand her pre-recording to assure and guarantee her performance.”
And it’s not only the technical aspects or the cold weather. The national anthem is downright difficult to sing, even for seasoned professionals. Many singers have lip-synched it for the difficulty alone, even a singer such as the late, great Whitney Houston at the 1991 Super Bowl.
So whether Beyoncé did it to protect her voice or just because she thought it the best professional decision, it was her singing, after all.
Beyoncé is set to sing the national anthem at Super Bowl XLVII on Feb. 3. Will she do it again, sing it live or a combination of the two? Everyone will definitely be watching her carefully, whatever she decides to do.
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