The Washington Post

Did Beyonce lip sync her National Anthem performance? Are you surprised?

[Update 5:29 p.m: The U.S. Marine Band has stated that Beyonce did indeed lip sync to a pre-recorded version of the national anthem. Read more.]

And here comes the backlash.

Less than 24 hours after the social mediaverse collectively patted her on the back for a bright rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner,” Beyonce is being accused of lip syncing the national anthem during Monday’s inauguration ceremony on the steps of the U.S. Capitol.

Beyonce sings the National Anthem at the ceremonial swearing-in. (Evan Vucci/Associated Press)

To which we ask: Are you surprised? Whitney Houston’s 1991 rendition of the anthem — widely regarded as the greatest we’ve ever heard from a pop singer — was lip synced. And at President Obama’s 2009 inauguration ceremony, frigid temperatures required violinist cellist Yo-Yo Ma to fake his performance, too.

I heard Beyonce sing the anthem beneath the Washington Monunument on Monday afternoon, alongside thousands of folks who truly had the right to be disappointed by what they heard. The jumbotron erected just off 14th Street was on the fritz, which turned President Obama’s soaring speech into garbled gobbledygook. As for Beyonce’s anthem, it was mutilated to the point where it began to sound like wan Skrillex. (Which was both sad and amazing. There’s video below.)

Meantime, we are reaching out to Beyonce’s representatives for comment and will update this post if we hear back.

And here’s the broadcast for comparison:

Chris Richards is The Washington Post's pop music critic. He has recently written about David Bowie's legacy of reinvention, Beyoncé's Super Bowl victory, viral go-go covers and rock star death waves.

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