Conflicting reports have emerged over whether Beyonce sang live the National Anthem at President Barack Obama’s inauguration.
A spokeswoman for the Marine Corp Band told The Times in a “last minute” decision, Beyonce opted to perform to a pre-recorded backing track.
However, the Marine Corp said “no-one in the Marine Band is in a position to assess whether it was live or pre-recorded”.
But it confirmed that the band itself was not playing live.
Millions of people tuned in to watch President Barack Obama be sworn in for his second term in office. The ceremony was punctuated by performances from James Taylor, Kelly Clarkson, as well as Beyonce, who sang the National Anthem.
When The Times reported that Beyonce had mimed, the story quickly travelled around the world.
The newspaper quoted a spokeswoman for the Marine Corp Band, Master Sergeant Kristin duBois, who said: “We pre-recorded all music as a matter of course and have done since time immemorial.
“This is our 54th inauguration… There is no question of there not being any music, it’s not because the performer cannot do it.”
However, the spokeswoman did not state outright that Beyonce mimed her part of the performance.
In a statement, the Marine Corp said: “There was no opportunity for Ms Knowles-Carter to rehearse with the Marine Band before the inauguration so it was determined that a live performance by the band was ill-advised for such a high-profile event.
“Each piece of music scheduled for performance in the Inauguration is pre-recorded for use in case of freezing temperatures, equipment failure, or extenuating circumstances.
“Regarding Ms Knowles-Carter’s vocal performance, no one in the Marine Band is in a position to assess whether it was live or pre-recorded.”
Conflicting reports have emerged over whether Beyonce sang live the National Anthem at President Barack Obama’s inauguration
Some reports suggested Beyonce had pre-recorded her vocal in a studio at the Marine Barracks Annex on Sunday night.
They were drawing inferences from a series of images posted on Beyonce’s website over the weekend – one of which showed her in the studio holding the sheet music for the Star Spangled Banner.
If the claims turned out to be true, they would not be without precedent.
In 2008, American cellist Yo Yo Ma mimed his performance at President Barack Obama’s first inauguration, saying the freezing temperatures and wind might have affected his instrument live.
Celebrities and fans have been debating Beyonce’s performance.
Soul legend Aretha Franklin, who also performed at the 2008 ceremony, said the star did “a beautiful job”, even if she was miming.
“When I heard the news this evening that she was pre-recorded I really laughed,” she 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.
“But she did a beautiful job with the pre-record… Next time I’ll probably do the same.”
On Twitter, TV presenter Piers Morgan said: “Beyonce still SANG it, everyone. It was HER voice.”
Brooklyn band Prince Rama commented: “I actually think Beyonce lip-syncing the national anthem is one of the best conceptual art pieces I’ve seen in a long time.”
While Los Angeles musician Michael Anthony defended the star, saying: “It doesn’t even look like Beyonce was lip syncing at all.”
A blog post on the Washington Times website said: “Some Beyonce fans insist it looked real, especially when she ripped out her earpiece midway through the song.”
President Barack Obama made an emotional tribute to First Lady Michelle Obama last night as they danced at the inauguration balls to celebrate the beginning of his second term.
The Obamas appeared on stage at the Washington Convention Center to wild cheering and thunderous applause from thousands of people. First Lady Michelle Obama’s choice of dress was finally revealed – a dramatic, red chiffon and velvet gown by Jason Wu. The designer had also created her dress for the 2008 ball.
Barack Obama paid tribute to his wife saying that although he was often criticized as President, “nobody disputes the quality of the First Lady”. The couple then danced as Jennifer Hudson sang Al Green’s Let’s Stay Together.
The Obamas were scheduled to attend two glitzy occasions on Monday evening. That’s far fewer than the ten they attended after the 2009 inauguration, though this year’s events are still expected to draw around 40,000 people.
Barack Obama spoke briefly and offered his deep gratitude to the military, saying: “I have no greater honor than being your commander-in-chief.”
The president then spoke to troops in Afghanistan via video-link, telling them: “You will be on our minds tonight and every single night until our mission in Afghanistan is completed.”
He promised them they would get the equipment and support they need.
Barack Obama made an emotional tribute to First Lady Michelle Obama last night as they danced at the inauguration balls to celebrate the beginning of his second term
Barack Obama then turned his focus to Michelle to whom he paid glowing tribute as First Lady and his wife.
He continued: “I’ve got a date with me here. She inspires me every day. She makes me a better man and a better president. The fact that she is so devoted to taking care of our troops and our military families is just one more sign of her extraordinary love and grace and strength. I’m just lucky to have her.”
The First Lady’s choice of the same dress designer surprised many as she had returned to Jason Wu, whose career was made by her decision four years ago. She teamed the red gown with shoes by Jimmy Choo and a diamond ring by Kimberly McDonald.
Jason Wu told Women’s Wear Daily that he was completely surprised by Michelle Obama’s decision to wear another of his designs.
He said: “Mrs. Obama likes to keep her secrets. She fooled me again.”
The Inaugural Ball saw performances from Alicia Keys, Black Violin, Brad Paisley, Far East Movement, FUN., members of the Glee cast, John Legend, Katy Perry, Maná, Smokey Robinson, Soundgarden, Stevie Wonder and Usher.
The Commander-In-Chief’s ball for members of the Armed Forces were entertained by Alicia Keys, Brad Paisley, Chris Cornell, Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Hudson and Marc Anthony.
The President’s second inauguration sees the lowest number of official balls in 60 years. Obama cut back this year’s festivities to two balls and a concert honoring military families as an effort to reduce government spending in line with current economic conditions.
Alicia Keys took to the stage in a backless, floor-length, sequined gown where she sang an altered version of her hit Girl On Fire for President Obama. Her performance was followed by Mexican band Mana.
Jennifer Hudson who sang Al Green classic Let’s Stay Together to the first couple looked slender and glamorous in a form-fitting black gown with plunging neckline and sparkling platforms.
Vice-President Joe Biden appeared with his wife Jill who was glamorous in a blue silk dress by Vera Wang. The couple danced as Jamie Foxx sang the Ray Charles’ song I Can’t Stop Loving You before pairing off with young members of the military.
Earlier today, President Barack Obama urged Americans to stand together to secure prosperity and freedom for the entire nation as he was sworn in to his second term as president at his spectacular inauguration ceremony in Washington D.C.
Venezuela’s government has said President Hugo Chavez can begin his new six-year term in office on January 10, even if he is too ill to attend a swearing-in ceremony.
Vice-President Nicolas Maduro said the Supreme Court could swear in Hugo Chavez at a later date.
Nicolas Maduro dismissed opposition calls for new elections should Hugo Chavez not attend.
President Hugo Chavez is in Cuba struggling to recover from his latest round of surgery to treat cancer.
He has not been seen in public since the operation more than three weeks ago.
Observers have different interpretations of what it would mean if Hugo Chavez misses his inauguration on Thursday.
Some in the opposition have said that if Hugo Chavez is still in Cuba, power should pass to the speaker of parliament, and new elections should be held within 30 days.
But Nicolas Maduro said Thursday was not a fixed deadline, and that there was no reason to declare Hugo Chavez’s “absolute absence” from office.
“The formality of his swearing-in can be resolved in the Supreme Court,” he said.
“The president right now is president,” he said, waving a pocket-sized copy of the constitution.
“Don’t mess with the people. Respect democracy.”
Venezuela’s government has said President Hugo Chavez can begin his new six-year term in office on January 10, even if he is too ill to attend a swearing-in ceremony
The head of the main opposition coalition, Ramon Guillermo Aveledo, said the government “doesn’t want to admit that the president is absent”.
“The official version of what is happening is unsustainable,” he told reporters.
Officials have said that Hugo Chavez, 58, has suffered from complications brought on by a severe lung infection that developed after his latest surgery.
Nicolas Maduro said the president had “a right to rest and tranquility, and to recuperate”.
“We will have the commander well again.”
Nicolas Maduro and National Assembly Head Diosdado Cabello visited Hugo Chavez in Cuba earlier in the week, along with several other dignitaries.
The vice-president said President Hugo Chavez was “conscious” and had gripped his hand firmly as they discussed Venezuelan politics.
Nicolas Maduro and Diosdado Cabello dismissed rumors of a split in the governing socialist movement, after their return from Cuba.
“We’re more unified than ever,” said Nicolas Maduro, who Hugo Chavez recently named as his preferred successor.
“We swore in front of Commander Chavez that we’ll be united at the side of our people,” he said.
The National Assembly is due to meet on Saturday to elect its leadership, with Diosdado Cabello expected to be re-elected.
He has appealed to supporters of Hugo Chavez to rally outside parliament during the session.
“If the opposition thinks it will find a space in the National Assembly to conspire against the people, it’s mistaken once again,” Diosdado Cabello said on Twitter.
“It will be defeated.”
Hugo Chavez was re-elected to a fourth term as president in October.