(Bauer Griffin | Getty Images)Yesterday, reports that Beyoncé Knowles relied on a pre-recorded version of "The Star-Spangled Banner" for her performance at President Obama's Inaugural Ceremony shocked and infuriated fans — many of whom couldn't believe that a vocal powerhouse would ever pull such a stunt. While it's still unclear whether Ms. Knowles' triumphant vocals were perfected in the studio, the incident raises interesting questions about what we actually expect from our pop stars. Also in music news, Aretha Franklin offers her opinion on Bey-gate, Justin Bieber promises "answers" with his upcoming acoustic release, The Wanted's Max George is definitely not dating Lindsay Lohan, and more.
Oh Say Can You Sing?
On Tuesday, a U.S. Marine Band spokesperson told news outlets that performer Beyoncé Knowles had pre-recorded the vocals for "The Star-Spangled Banner" at President Obama's Inaugural Ceremony. Within a matter of hours, however, the Marine Band backed away from the statement, with Marine Corps spokesperson Capt. Gregory Wolf asserting, "No one in the Marine Band is in a position to assess whether it was live or pre-recorded."
Knowles has yet to make a statement on the matter, but what's perhaps more interesting than whether she sang live or not is how people are taking the news. Reactions have ranged from outrage to denial, with some viewers decrying a lack of respect for ceremony and others posting performance footage to YouTube that they believe clears Knowles' name. Others still have pointed out that the weather conditions in the Capitol were not conducive to a rip-roaring performance with temperatures below 50. Singer Claude Kelly tweeted, "If you non-singing critics knew anything about acoustics, or singing in freezing cold, you'd shut up about this Beyonce lip sync thing." Kelly Clarkson's reps, meanwhile, were quick to assure the public that the former American Idol contestant had indeed sung "My Country, 'Tis of Thee" live at the same event.
So: Does it really matter if Beyoncé is too much of a perfectionist to trust her own pipes?
Whitney Houston sang to a pre-recorded anthem track at the 1991 Super Bowl, nor when Jennifer Hudson did likewise at the same event 18 years later.
So where do you stand? Place your vote in the poll above, and let us know what you think in the comments.
Aretha Franklin Has a Weird Sense of Humor
Aretha Franklin, whose hat stole the show at Obama's last inauguration, weighed in on the lip-synching scandal too. Apparently she just thought it was funnier than monkeys in pajamas.
"When I heard the news this evening that she was pre-recorded I really laughed," Franklin told ABC News. "I thought it was funny because the weather down there was about 46 or 44 degrees and for most singers that is just not good singing weather."
Max George: No Lindsay for Me
The Wanted's Max George has been spending a heck of a lot of time with Lindsay Lohan lately — she recently skipped out on an important court appearance to hang with the boy band in England — but that doesn't mean they're dating. When a fan tweeted "If you date with Lindsay, I will die okay," Max responded, "I'm not so you're fine!:) x."
Justin Bieber Is Gonna Get Deep, Y'all
Expect to see a lot of broody black and white photos of J-Biebs. (Instagram)
Bieber has had a good week: He got to meet one of his idols, NBA great Michael Jordan, at a recent Charlotte Bobcats game. And then he bragged about it on Twitter, because despite his soulful dance moves, he's still an 18-year-old boy.
Niall Horan Is A-OK
The Sun got a whole bunch of 12-year-olds all worked up this week when they posted a story about One Direction's Niall Horan getting into a car crash in England. Horan quickly cleared things up for his fans, tweeting, "I was not in a crash and that is not my car."
Niall and company are prepping for their international Take Me Home tour, which will see them working young women into tearful paroxysms across three continents.
Blame Madonna for 'The Artist Formerly Known as Prince'
For several years, Prince changed his name to an unpronounceable symbol in protest against his record company, Warner Bros. He recently told Billboard that Madonna played a part in his frustration with the label, although indirectly: "She was getting paid, but at the time we were selling more records and selling out concerts on multiple nights."
Rocking the Tube
Letterman: Conor Maynard
Leno: Garry Allan
Kimmel: Gin Wigmore
Fallon: Lupe Fiasco
Conan: Electric Guest
New and Notable
• Yoko Ono will mark her 80th birthday with the release of a new EDM-flavored collaboration with Dave Audé, "Hold Me." It's described as an "entirely new song" that's "tailor-made for dance floors." The song will become available February 19 via MIND TRAIN / TWISTED Records.
• Prince's new single does not sound like Prince, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Check out the lyric video for "Screwdriver" here, as it may well disappear in the next couple of days.
You Haven't Seen This Yet
Lee Fields, the man behind one of our favorite songs of 2012, has teamed up with Lady (Terri Walker and Nicole Wray) for an acoustic cover of his song "Still Hanging On." It's beautiful. You'll like it, I promise.