The Marines are backing away from an eye-opening claim that Beyonce “did not actually sing” the national anthem at President Barack Obama’s inauguration on Monday.
On Tuesday, Master Sgt. Kristin DuBois of the U.S. Marine Band told numerous news outlets, including CNN and the New York Times, that the “Single Ladies” superstar requested the use of a pre-recorded backing track at the last minute. “We don’t know why the decision was made,” DuBois said.
“It’s not because Beyonce can’t sing. We all know Beyonce can sing. We all know the Marine Band can play,” she said.
But this afternoon a Marine Corps. spokesperson tried to clarify the statement by removing the implication of lip-syncing, saying that because Beyonce was unable to sufficiently rehearse with the Marine Band, it was decided the performance should include a recorded track for the band’s portion.
“Regarding Ms. Knowles-Carter’s vocal performance,” Capt. Gregory Wolf statement to the AP continued, “no one in the Marine Band is in a position to assess whether it was live or pre-recorded.”
The softening of DuBois’ bombshell statement throws more confusion into the fast-moving controversy that began in Washington D.C. but quickly spread to the Twitterverse, causing instant animosity toward Beyonce for possibly lip-syncing during such a momentous occasion.
A representative for Beyonce did not respond to Billboard’s requests for comment.
It should be noted that music is always pre-recorded in the lead-up to the inaugurations in case of bad weather conditions or technical difficulties. Beyonce was unable to rehearse with the band until Sunday, the night before the inauguration. She released a photo of her in a recording studio-like room with members of the Marine Band looking on. At the inauguration, the singer did not give any indication that she was throwing her voice — though she did remove her earpiece as she sang “The bombs bursting in air.”
As for Kelly Clarkson, a spokesperson for the Band told TMZ that she sang “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee'” without the backing of a pre-recorded track.