O say can’t she sing?
Beyoncé’s dazzling rendition of the National Anthem at President Obama’s inauguration was a total fake — with the megastar lip-syncing as the Marine Corps Band merely pretended to play its instruments, sources said yesterday.
The Grammy-award winner’s decision to use a taped version of “The Star-Spangled Banner” stunned the first family, which handpicked her for the occasion.
“Oh, my God! You’re best friends with Michelle and you faked it! I am very upset,” said a source close to the Obamas. “I would like my three minutes back.”
SASHA FARCE: Beyoncé, having dramatically thrown off her earpiece, “sings along” to the National Anthem as Sen. Charles Schumer and President Obama look on.
Beyoncé’s performance was a well-choreographed acting job.
She made it appear as if she was belting out the anthem as a crowd of dignitaries and a million other attendees watched in awe from the National Mall. A worldwide television audience was also clueless to the chicanery.
As she mouthed the words, Col. Michael J. Colburn emphatically led the United States Marine Band, whose members acted as if they were blowing on wind instruments and horns and banging on drums throughout the song.
“We received last-minute word that Beyoncé was going to use a prerecorded vocal track,” said Kristin DuBois, a spokeswoman for the USMC band. “Those were the instructions given. We don’t know . . . the reason why.”
A Marine Corps spokesman suggested Beyoncé’s lack of rehearsal time with the band led to the decision to rely on at least a pre-recorded instrumental track.
Marine Capt. Gregory Wolf said 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.”
On Sunday night, Beyoncé posted a picture on her Instagram account that showed her recording the National Anthem with the Marine Corps band. In one shot, she has sheet music for the song.
Back-up tapes are standard procedure for presidential inaugurations as a precaution for technical problems or freezing-cold temperatures — but fellow performers Kelly Clarkson and James Taylor had no trouble singing on the same stage.
“Kelly did sing live!” chirped Clarkson’s rep. Taylor’s spokeswomen said, “He was playing and singing live.”
The disclosure that Beyoncé was faking it stunned Obama-administration insiders and inauguration planners — and set off a flurry of finger-pointing.
“This is a disaster,” said a source close to the organizers. “No one is sure if it was the call of the production people or here.
“In the history of inaugural events, this has never happened, so it’s not a small thing,” the source said. “I’m positive they thought she was going to sing live.”
The White House refused to comment and referred all questions to the Presidential Inauguration Committee. The committee, which handled many of Beyoncé’s logistics, refused to comment and referred questions to Beyoncé’s team.
Her representatives did not respond to repeated questions about the lip-syncing — and whether she plans on doing the same during her performance at the upcoming Super Bowl halftime show.
She’ll be joined on stage in the Superdome by her former Destiny’s Child singers.
Beyoncé yesterday was in New Orleans with her husband, hip-hop mogul Jay-Z, preparing for the Super Bowl show on Feb. 3.
Sen. Charles Schumer, the New York Democrat who was the inauguration’s master of ceremonies, refused to answer questions about Beyoncé’s reliance on a recording.
“Senator Schumer promised Beyoncé, but he delivered Milli Vanilli instead,” quipped one Republican congressional aide. “Typical politician — promise one thing and deliver another.”
At Obama’s 2009 inauguration, cellist Yo-Yo Ma and violinist Itzhak Perlman used a pre-recorded performance because of cold weather.
Some Republicans had no problem with the superstar diva’s fake-out.
“She wasn’t paid to be there,” said Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC).
“I thought I heard her singing but I couldn’t see her. I think she sounds good silent and when she’s live.”
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) shrugged off the news.
“It still sounded good,” he said.
Meanwhile yesterday, Senate Republicans came out swinging at the “liberal agenda” that President Obama announced a day earlier in his inaugural address.
“The era of liberalism is back,” declared Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). “I don’t think that’s a great way to start off the second term if your idea here is to achieve bipartisan solutions.”
White House spokesman Jay Carney said he would “reject the idea that this was an ‘ism’ speech.”