Beyoncé has been widely praised for her beautiful rendition of the national anthem at Monday's presidential inauguration.
But even after seeing her triumphantly pull her earpiece out as she belted out the words, buzz is now bubbling up that the superstar wasn't singing it live.
The Times of London is reporting that a spokeswoman for the Marine Corps Band says it is standard procedure to record a backing track and that Beyoncé decided soon before stepping to the microphone to use it.
Master Sgt. Kristin DuBois, spokeswoman for the President's Own United States Marine Corps Band, confirms to USA TODAY's Maria Puente that Beyoncé was lip-syncing.
It's standard operating procedure for musicians to pre-record crucial music such as Hail to the Chief and The Star-Spangled Banner. "You can't have a presidential inauguration and not have Hail to the Chief and Star-Spangled Banner," she says.
And it's not unprecedented to use the pre-recorded track, as Yo-Yo Ma did last time, classical instruments being delicate in cold weather. But the band performed live for the entire ceremony, except for Beyoncé.
DuBois says they were "surprised" to be given instructions during the ceremonies that they were to stand and pretend to play their instruments during the national anthem, and they "don't know" why that decision was made. Or even who made it. Probably Beyoncé. "It's not what we would have chosen, but we were instructed to do it so we did."'
As for Beyoncé, "we all know she has the pipes," she said. "It wasn't because she can't sing it or because the band can't play it, because we can. ... We performed live, as we have for every inauguration since 1801."
She said that every four years somebody wants to write a story about "was it live or was it Memorex?"
She also says Kelly Clarkson sang live, and that the band's staff arranger wrote the special arrangement of My Country, 'Tis of Thee that she used.
If anyone can handle brutal playing conditions, the band can, she says. "This group of people are such pros, they can make it work no matter what. They are so accustomed to playing under any condition."
Washingtonian.com posed the question, too: "Did Beyoncé Lip-Sync the Star-Spangled Banner?"
Washingtonian's Sophie Gilbert writes, "To press seated just below the podium, in front of the 'President's Own' Marine Corps Band, it was evident that the band wasn't actually playing during the song - even though band director Colonel Michael J. Colburn was conducting energetically and the band members mimicked blowing into their instruments."
And offering more possible evidence, Gilbert notes that "the day before the ceremony, Beyoncé posted pictures to her Instagram account that appeared to show her in a recording studio. In one, she holds a copy of the sheet music to The Star Spangled Banner in front of a microphone attached to a recording device, and in another she sits in front of recording equipment while members of the Marine Corps Band stand clutching sheet music behind her."
Indeed, Beyoncé did share those photos on her website.
She has not commented.
In 2009, Beyoncé took some heat for lip-syncing at the Oscars.
By Ann Oldenburg, USA TODAY