Similarly, the Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin, who sang the national anthem at Obama’s first inauguration, told ABC News she found the situation to be comical.
“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,” she said. “When I heard that I just really cracked up. I thought it was really funny, but she did a beautiful job with the pre-record… Next time I’ll probably do the same.”
The only response from Beyoncé’s camp so far has been from an anonymous source telling Us Weekly that the star used a taped track for her performance because “she didn’t think there was anything wrong with it.”
Additionally the source explains, “Everybody uses these tracks, and the music director advised it. Any big outdoor live performance is almost always with some kind of track.”
Regardless of why, Beyoncé’s Super Bowl performance has no doubt been intensified, though perhaps without much merit. Historically, there have been a number of big-time lip-syncers at major events, some of whom suffered backlash and others who walked away unscathed. Luciano Pavarotti pre-recorded “Nessun Dorma” at the 2006 Winter Olympics opening ceremony due to sub-zero temperatures; Kanye West and Ashlee Simpson notoriously botched their Saturday Night Live performances with a hackneyed lip sync; Britney Spears is said to have lip-synced on her Circus tour; and other reports suggest that along with Houston, Faith Hill and Jennifer Hudson also lip-synced their national anthems at Super Bowls in the past.
According to ABC News, Ricky Minor, the Super Bowl’s pregame producer, even requests that artists tape their tracks in advance.
“That’s the right way to do it,” said Minor in 2009. “There are too many variables to go live. I would never recommend any artist go live because the slightest glitch would devastate the performance.”
Furthermore, he later confirmed that he and Houston decided to pre-record her 1991 national anthem performance in order to “give her a chance to phrase it in such a way that she would be able to take her time and really express the meaning.”
Beyoncé is reportedly in New Orleans rehearsing for her performance on Feb. 3 at the NFL championship game, and has the support of both her Destiny’s Child cohort Michelle Williams (who will perform alongside her) as well as Alicia Keys, who will sing the national anthem and has pledged to do it in a way “only I can do.”
As Jones sees it, the fallout will likely fade soon anyway.
“I’m not worried for her; she’s Beyoncé,” she says. “She can do what she wants. If she wants to lip sync at the Super Bowl, go for it. This performance is just fun. She has plenty of fans that support her.”
Follow Courtney Garcia on Twitter at @courtgarcia