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Questions persist about Beyonce's inaugural rendition of national anthem

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WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 21: Singer Beyonce performs the National Anthem during the public ceremonial inauguration for U.S. President Barack Obama on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol January 21, 2013 in Washington, DC. Barack Obama was re-elected for a second term as President of the United States. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images) *** BESTPIX ***

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Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2013, 9:10 p.m.

Never mind President Obama's inauguration address or what Michelle Obama was wearing.

Was Beyonce lip-syncing the national anthem on Monday?

The Grammy-winning singer remained silent on Tuesday amid a media storm over whether she was lip-syncing, singing over her prerecorded track or performing live when she delivered a flawless rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” to hundreds of thousands of people in Washington and millions watching on television.

Master Sgt. Kristin duBois with the Marine Corps Band told news outlets that the “Single Ladies” star “decided to go with the prerecorded music at the last minute” and that, to the spokeswoman's knowledge, she was not singing the anthem.

But the Marine Band later backtracked, saying: “Regarding Ms. Knowles-Carter's vocal performance, no one in the Marine Band is in a position to assess whether it was live or prerecorded. We all know Beyonce can sing,” duBois said.

Equally mysterious was why Beyonce removed her ear monitor midway through the song. Singers performing over an instrumental track might do so if the playback was clashing with what's coming out of the loudspeakers.

Whatever Beyonce's choices on Monday, she was not the first artist cause a stir on such occasions.

Classical musicians Yo-Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman and two others played along to a prerecorded tape at Obama's 2009 inauguration because the cold and wind on the Washington Mall raised the likelihood of broken strings and sharp notes.

Madonna lip-synched her way through her 2012 Super Bowl half-time performance, as did the late Whitney Houston in her 1991 Super Bowl rendition of the national anthem. Singing to prerecorded tracks has become widespread in the pop music industry The lip-synching question made headlines around the world and “Beyonce” was among the top Facebook conversations on Monday, according to the social networking site.

Fans were divided. “I enjoyed the performance and do not care whether it was lip-synched or not — it was a beautiful rendition, with some originality, of a song we have all heard so many times,” wrote LeeAnne24 on the Washington Post comment board.

Twitter user hiphopdancerJen was disappointed. “There's honestly no reason for Beyonce to lip-synch. ... Especially the national anthem. I may despise most of her music, but she has a voice.”

Beyonce is due to take the spotlight again next month at the Feb. 3 Super Bowl half-time show.

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