Everyone knows by now that Beyonce‘s chilling performance of the national anthem at Barack Obama‘s inauguration was a lip-sync job, and she’s facing backlash from fans and self-appointed Twitter comedians over it. But fellow music icons are defending the move, because it was too cold for her to sing it live. But it wasn’t too cold for Kelly Clarkson to sing live. Maybe they have different vocal cords. Who knows?
For her part, Beyonce seems to be employing the crisis-aversion technique of 1) ignore, 2) don’t respond, and 3) let the story die. While everyone ponders whether Bey will redeem herself by belting live at the Super Bowl, let’s revisit some lip-sync scandals of the past, and examine whether this will really hurt Beyonce’s career in the long run.
Jessica’s lil sis was at the height of her pop music career when a lip-syncing snafu on “Saturday Night Live” sent her into tabloid hell and made her late night talk show fodder. First she blamed her band, then her chronic acid reflux, then she finally admitted to MTV, “I made a complete fool of myself.”
CAREER STATUS: Fizzled
The German duo went multiple platinum in the US and took home a Grammy Award for a record that didn’t even feature them on lead vocals. They were outed in a Los Angeles Times expos� and forced to return the Grammy. The revelation caused a massive media backlash and inspired multiple lawsuits. A follow-up album featuring their own vocals was a failure, and Rob Pilatus — no one’s sure whether he was Milli or Vanilli — died of an overdose on the eve of their proposed comeback tour.
CAREER STATUS: Over
Whitney performed “The Star Spangled Banner” at the Super Bowl XXV pre-show. Problem was, she was lip-syncing to a pre-record of her own voice, a la Beyonce’s inauguration performance. The media went wild, and her spokesman at the time said, “This is not a Milli Vanilli thing. She sang live, but the microphone was turned off. It was a technical decision, partially based on the noise factor.”
The recorded track made its way to her “Whitney: The Greatest Hits” album, and was certified platinum un the U.S. The track was re-released in 2001, making it her last Top Ten hit on the US Hot 100 while she was still alive.
CAREER STATUS: Forgiven
Britney famously had tongues wagging over her post-head shaving comeback performance at the 2007 MTV VMAs when she lip-synced her way through a zombified performance of “Gimme More.” Her touring career got back on track under her father’s conservatorship, and she raked in $15 million to judge “The X-Factor.”
CAREER STATUS: Forgiven
VERDICT: Beyonce is already a pop music icon, and based on history, it’s a solid bet she’ll land on her feet once the buzz dies down. It’s also a pretty good bet the Super Bowl halftime will have a lot of extra eyes on it this year. CBS can’t be mad at that.