WASHINGTON — The U.S. Marine Corps is backing off statements that Beyonce lip-synced the national anthem during her performance at President Barack Obama's inauguration.
The Marine Corps issued a statement today saying it determined that a live performance by the Marine Band was ill advised because there was no opportunity for Beyonce to rehearse with the band.
Marine Corps spokesman Capt. Gregory Wolf says no one in the band is in a position to know whether Beyonce's vocal performance was live or pre-recorded.
Earlier a spokesman for the Marine Band told news outlets the band was notified at the last minute that Beyonce would use a pre-recorded voice track.
Earlier, Master Sgt. Kristin duBois told The New York Times and other outlets: "The entire performance was live except for the national anthem. We don't know why. But that is what we were instructed to do so that is what we did. It's not because Beyonce can't sing. We all know Beyonce can sing. We all know the Marine Band can play."
All inaugural music is pre-recorded in case weather conditions or other circumstances could interrupt the program.
A representative for Beyonce did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Kelly Clarkson's representative said she sang live to perform "My Country, 'Tis of Thee."
Inaugural organizers also did not immediately respond to requests for comment on why the musical plans were changed at the last minute.
The use of a recording is typical in big events. In 2009, cellist Yo-Yo Ma was questioned about "hand-syncing" for Obama's first inauguration. Ma said instruments weren't functioning properly in 19-degree weather.
Even in good conditions, producing good sound can be a challenge in a large open space.
Some artists choose to lip-sync. Whitney Houston's memorable performance of the national anthem in 1991 at the Super Bowl was sung to a track.