The world may never know just what, exactly, was coming through the speakers during Beyonce's performance of the national anthem at Obama's second inaugural Monday.
Fans and critics applauded her virtuoso take on "The Star-Spangled Banner," but then sources at the U.S. Marine Band confirmed that she had used a pre-recorded version, a common practice for large televised events (especially those held outdoors in cold temperatures). It's still unclear whether or not she used an entire backing track and lip-synced, or used a mix of live and pre-recorded vocals.
The Marine Band followed up with a cryptic, almost Donald Rumsfeld-ian "unknown unknowns" walkback: "Regarding Ms. Knowles-Carter's vocal performance, no one in the Marine Band is in a position to assess whether it was live or pre-recorded," Capt. Eric Flanagan said in a more recent statement.
Now other vocalists, including 2009 inaugural singer Aretha Franklin, are coming to Beyonce's defense in the matter. “But, when I heard the news this evening that she was pre-recorded I really laughed. 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,",” she told ABC News. “When I heard that I just really cracked up. I thought it was really funny, but she did a beautiful job with the pre-record ... next time I'll probably do the same.”