The singer pre-recorded a vocal track in the days before the ceremony and made an 11th-hour decision to use it Monday, a Marine Corps Band spokeswoman tells the Times of London. Other outlets also confirmed the lip-syncing, noting that it didn’t appear the band was playing live.
The spokeswoman says that the Marine Corps Band pre-records all the music for the inauguration “and have done since time immemorial.” She says it was Beyonce’s decision to go with the pre-recorded track.
Beyonce pulled her earpiece out midway through the song, but that was apparently just for show.
Beyonce isn’t the first inauguration performer to go with pre-recorded music. Four years ago, cellist Yo-Yo Ma and violinist Itzhak Perlman pre-recorded their performance because the cold weather may have affected their instruments. Nor is hers the first rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” to be lip-synced. The most famous was probably Whitney Houston‘s performance at the 1991 Super Bowl.