UPDATE: The Marine Corps Band released a second statement clarifying that “no one in the Marine Band is in a position to assess whether [Beyonce's vocal performance] was live or pre-recorded.” So…there’s still hope! Here’s the whole statement:
The Presidential Inaugural Committee requested that the Marine Band accompany Beyonce Knowles-Carter in the performance of the Star-Spangled Banner at the 2013 Inaugural Ceremony. However, 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.”
Hey! See that video up at the top? Where Beyonce is singing “The Star-Spangled Banner” flawlessly? Where she dramatically removes her earpiece halfway through? Where everyone wrote about how great it was? Watch it again and revel in its glory! Except, well, it wasn’t really live. That sinking feeling, that familiar dread you’re feeling? It’s the feeling you get when you discover that everything you once believed in is a lie.
Yes, a Marine Corp Band spokeswoman confirmed earlier today that both the music and the vocals were pre-recorded (which is typical for these performances), and although initially there were plans for Beyonce to sing live, she “decided shortly before her performance to rely on the studio version.” And while (as Jezebel notes in detail) lip-syncing is common practice, and it shouldn’t be that surprising, it’s still a total bummer. Said most Americans through a spokesperson, “Please respect our privacy during this sensitive time.”