WASHINGTON (AP/WJLA) - There's no question Beyonce's rendition of the national anthem was a roaring success. The mystery: was it live or lip synced?
Getting an answer to the simple question has turned out to be quite difficult.
On Tuesday, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Marine Band told news outlets that Beyonce had lip synced at President Barack Obama's inauguration. Master Sgt. Kristin duBois said the band was notified at the last minute that Beyonce would use a pre-recorded voice track.
But by late afternoon, the Marine Corps backed off that statement.
Marine Corps spokesman Capt. Gregory Wolf said that because there was no opportunity for Beyonce to rehearse with the Marine Band, it was determined that a live performance by the band was ill advised. Instead they used a pre-recorded track for the band's portion of the song.
"Regarding Ms. Knowles-Carter's vocal performance," Wolf's statement continued, "no one in the Marine Band is in a position to assess whether it was live or pre-recorded."
Beyonce's Tumblr page has pictures which appear to show her with members of the Marine Corps Band, but the Marine Corps said they couldn't confirm. The closest statement to the final answer was this from the Marine Corps: "No one in the Marine Band is in a position to access whether it was live or pre-recorded."
In an effort to get some answers, ABC7 called the United States Marine Corps Band, who said to call the press office for the Marines. Then ABC7 called the Presidential Inaugural Committee and was told to call the Joint Congress Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, which had no comment and said to call Beyonce's reps. The offices in Los Angeles and Houston haven't returned any calls.
Aretha Franklin, who sang live at the 2009 inauguration, laughed at the controversy and said Beyonce did a wonderful job.
All inaugural music is pre-recorded in case weather conditions or other circumstances could interrupt the program.
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.
If Beyonce wasn't singing live, however, some argue no harm, no foul.