On a cold January day outdoors in Washington, DC, superstar Beyonce chose to lip sync her critically acclaimed rendition of The Star Spangled Banner. Oh the humanity! We have been duped again.
First Manti Te’o didn’t really have a girlfriend (in the traditional sense of the word ‘girlfriend’), then Lance Armstrong didn’t really win the Tour de France 7 times without a push, and now Beyonce juiced her singing with pre-recorded assistance. At this rate, it is only a matter of time before that elusive Kenyan birth certificate surfaces. Truth is the first mass casualty of the 21st century. Maybe Roger Clemens is lying too, if you can imagine that.
As far as crimes against humanity, lip syncing ranks below lying about your age on an Internet dating site and slightly above fishing stories. We have been victimized by lip syncing for years and no one has been injured. Milli Vanilli did it. Ashley Simpson did it. Justin Bieber did it. I wish Roseanne Barr had done it. Faking it is as American as saying that Aunt Edna’s apple pie is as good as store bought pie. It isn’t and you know it.
Lip syncing should be expected, like politicians stretching the truth or football players thanking the Lord after a victory. What we did not expect was Beyonce’s appearance on Oprah so soon after the faux-troversy. The portico of the Capitol was still warm when she sat down today to confess her sins to the High Priestess of Celebrity Redemption. Let the comeback story begin:
From the transcripts of her Oprah appearance:
Oprah Winfrey: Did you ever lip sync to enhance your singing performance?
OW: Did you ever blood dope or use blood transfusions to enhance your singing performance?
OW: Did you ever wear blush, eyeliner, lipstick, or use Photoshop to enhance your appearance?
OW: In all seven of your world tours, did you ever lip sync or blood dope?
OW: Was it humanly possible to win a Grammy without lip syncing?
Beyonce: Not in my opinion. That generation... I didn't invent the culture, but I didn't try to stop the culture.
OW: For 13 years you didn't just deny it, you brazenly and defiantly denied everything you just admitted just now. So why now admit it?
Beyonce: That is the best question. It's the most logical question. I don't know that I have a great answer, besides that I was caught. I will start my answer by saying that this is too late. It's too late for probably most people, and that's my fault. I viewed this situation as one big lie that I repeated a lot of times, and as you said, it wasn't as if I just said no and I moved off it.
OW: You were defiant; you called other people, like Milli Vanilli, liars.
Beyonce: I understand that. And while I lived through this process, especially the last two years, one year, six months, two, three months, I know the truth. The truth isn't what was out there. The truth isn't what I sang, and now it's gone - this story was so perfect for so long. And I mean that, as I try to take myself out of the situation and I look at it. I won Grammys. You have a happy marriage, you have children. I mean, it's just this mythic perfect story, and it wasn't true.
OW: Was it hard to live up to that picture that was created?
Beyonce: Impossible. Certainly I'm a flawed character, as I well know, and I couldn't do that.
OW: You said to me earlier you don't think it was possible to win a Grammy without lip syncing.
Beyonce: Not in my generation, and I'm not here to talk about others in my generation. It's been well-documented. I didn't invent the culture, but I didn't try to stop the culture, and that's my mistake, and that's what I have to be sorry for, and that's what something and the industry is now paying the price because of that. So I am sorry for that. I didn't have access to anything else that nobody else did.
OW: MTV issued a 164-page report. It said you pulled off the most sophisticated, professional and successful lip syncing programs that music has ever seen. Was it?
Beyonce: No. It definitely was professional, and it was definitely smart, if you can call it that, but it was very conservative, very risk-averse, very aware of what mattered. One song mattered for me. But to say that that program was bigger than the East German doping program in the '70s and '80s? That's not true.
OW: What was the culture? Can you explain the culture to us?
Beyonce: I don't want to accuse anybody else. I don't want to talk about anybody else, like Rihanna or Lady Gaga (she winks). I made my decisions. They are my mistakes, and I am sitting here today to acknowledge that and to say I'm sorry for that. The culture was what it was.
OW: Was everybody doing it? That's what we've heard. Was everybody doing it?
Beyonce: I didn't know everybody. I didn't live and train with everybody. I didn't sing with everybody. I can't say that. There will be people that say that. There will be people that say, 'OK, there are 200 singers on tour, I can tell you five singers that didn't, and those are the five heroes', and they're right.
OW: Are you a cheater?
Beyonce: I looked up cheater in the dictionary. It said that a cheater is someone who claims an unfair advantage by her actions. I didn’t believe I was gaining an advantage by lip syncing. I truly believed that everyone was doing it and that I was only leveling the playing field. Obama uses a teleprompter so I used a little back recording. We all have some help. Now the industry is talking about stripping me of my Grammy awards. I just wanted to be able to sing well on a cold day, and because of that, I can’t even sing at a church social. (tears)
None of these shocking revelations compared to the bombshell admission at the end of the interview. On the weekends, Beyonce confessed to sometimes drinking Pepsi.
Truth is the first casualty of the 21st century. Oh the humanity!