Too Good To Be True


BESTPIX Barack Obama Sworn In As U.S. President For A Second Term

Photo: ABCNews

Apparently the biggest news story coming out of the presidential inauguration this week is that the people of America are shocked to learn that Beyonce’s performance of the National Anthem was “probably” lip-synced.

As someone who listened by radio broadcast, I should probably admit that it never crossed my mind that the performance could possibly have been live; it sounded too good to be true.

The nuance with which each note was perfectly delivered is almost impossible to achieve while singing The Star Spangled Banner… especially in near freezing temperatures.

I’m afraid that I have more bad news for the incredibly trusting and overly offended among us: not only was Beyonce’s version lip synced, but it was probably never intended to be performed live.

Ever since Whitney Houston’s inspirational, emotionally charged, platinum-selling anthem at Super Bowl XXV recording artists have used their once in a lifetime opportunity to make an incredible amount of money by selling the recorded versions of their performance.

Whitney Houston didn’t mime her performance because she couldn’t sing, she did so because she was going to have an opportunity to advertise her next “hit single” in front of the largest possible audience.

Just like a holiday record, you can’t really sell a performance of “The Star Spangled Banner” every day of the week, so you have to strike while the iron is in the fire.  Pre-recording the National Anthem for the Presidential Inauguration is like making sure you’ve got truckloads of ink when you’ve been given permission to start printing your own money.

Didn’t most of us wonder aloud how soon we’d be able to download that performance the minute she finished?

Because it was good wasn’t it?

I wanted to hear it again.

Didn’t you?

Beyond all of this, a pre-recorded song allows for the proceedings to go off without a hitch.  If everyone is going to great lengths to ensure that the inauguration is presented without errors, stutters, or stammers, is anyone going to be happy with a national broadcast of our nation’s song that goes as wrong as Fergie during the Superbowl?

In fact, wouldn’t pre-recording Joe Biden have also been great addition to the festivities?  It couldn’t have hurt could it?

Lip syncing has really only been a faux pas since the last time that America pretended to be offended by the entertainment industry: The Milli Vanilli debacle of 1990.

By late 1989 it became obvious to just about everybody in America that the two gentlemen we all knew as Milli and Vanilli (or was it Vanilli and Milli? “It’s so hard to tell if you can’t see which one has those natural blue eyes”) were completely incapable of speaking English during interviews, let alone singing on pitch while doing what appeared to aerobics.

This didn’t stop people from continuing to buy an album that sounded too good to be true.  In fact, when the emerald curtain finally rolled back and revealed that Milli and Vanilli were simply two models hired to entertain us, the majority of records were never returned for the cash refund offered by Arista Records.

Milli Vanilli happened because we had grown accustomed to watching lip-synced “live performances” by artists like Janet Jackson and Madonna.  The industry was so overrun by the need for spectacle that we didn’t want to ask ourselves if it was even humanly possible to sing on pitch while marching in lock step with the Rhythm Nation.

Why don’t Olympic runners try to sing while they run for 2.5 hours?
Because it’s not possible that’s why.

To this day, most pop performances that feature dancing, and every music video we watch, involves lip-syncing.  To suddenly pretend that lip-syncing offends us is not a sign of what’s wrong with the industry, it’s the sign of what’s always been wrong with the end consumer… we believe lies because we want to believe them.

The problem isn’t the quality control or the revenue produced by Lip Sync, the problem arrives when you aren’t Lip Syncing to your own performance.  Beyonce clearly was.

Fair Warning: If it sounds like the record, it’s not live.

We aren’t watching more lip sync than we know,
We’re just watching more than we want to admit.

If you’re reading this and you’re just now wondering if I’m intimating that Glee, Smash, and Nashville, are as authentic as the National Anthem was… well it’s probably my civic duty to tell you that this episode of the Cosby show wasn’t live either.




3 Responses to “Too Good To Be True”

  1. Joel January 23, 2013 at 12:32 pm #

    Loved this!
    The Cosby clip was classic!

  2. Jon January 23, 2013 at 1:11 pm #

    I remember taping that episode… classic

  3. Kimberly Kyllo January 23, 2013 at 2:31 pm #… :) The Angell Sisters! Elizabeth, Christina and Kimberly….we will sing ANYTIME live! :)

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