I know I shouldn’t weigh in on Beyonce’s lip synching scandal, but I CANNOT HELP MYSELF. I think it’s pretty ridiculous — rumors have it this morning that she is “saving herself for the Super Bowl,” where literally no one would give a shit if she lip synched. In fact, it would be expected that she would, given that she’ll probably be dancing her ass off.
People love Beyonce — I too loved Beyonce, until I watched the recording of her “Intimate Nights” concert, in which she sung a lot of her old hits, and the entirety of her latest album, “4.” When she first came on, her singing sounded kind of terrible. “Her voice isn’t that great,” I noted to Greg, who is an utterly and devoted fan. He would stand by Beyonce if it turned out she was an 80-year-old man in a plastic body costume. “How dare you!” he said.
Then, she began singing the songs on “4,” which are technically quite difficult, and she sounded absolutely perfect. Not a single off note. Not a single missed beat. “She’s lip synching,” I said to Greg. It seemed kind of obvious giving her lukewarm singing on the previous songs, as well as the incontrovertible fact that the human voice is flawed instrument.
“How dare you!” he said. And then kicked me out of his house.
(He actually didn’t do that — he’s exceedingly kind and gentle. But he did defend Beyonce’s honor in our discussion after the concert was over.)
I do want to believe that Beyonce had a good reason to lip synch the National Anthem at the Inauguration, which is a gigantic honor. I would forgive her, for instance, if she came out and said that she was so nervous that she couldn’t even talk. But to say that you’re saving your voice for the Super Bowl, or that it was really cold, or that other people in the past have lip synched is a lame cop out. All you had to do is stand in place, and sing one simple song, Beyonce. There are hundreds of thousands of kids singing in a capella groups across the country who could do the exact same thing. And the true greats, the ones with real blessings, could do it lying down, under duress, in the middle of winter in Antarctica. Kelly Clarkson did it, even though it took her a second, at the beginning, to find her pitch, in what I can only imagine was an open sea of cacophonous sound. She absolutely killed it.
Re-watching the tape of the performance this morning, I realized that Joe Biden’s face says it all. He can barely keep himself from laughing — perhaps at the ridiculousness of the act, or perhaps because he felt uncomfortable for her. Or perhaps she actually was singing, without the microphone, and sounded, as one would expect, flawed.