Saturday, January 26, 2013


Today in my teenage angst, I'm going to talk about an issue that maybe nobody cares about. But it relates to a larger issue that whether or not we care on the surface, we're all affected by. Let's say it out loud so we can acknowledge it happens and get over ourselves.

"Performing artists sometimes lip-synch."

Slated to sing the National Anthem at the Presidential Inauguration on Monday, January 21st, Beyonce and Jay-Z arrived looking like the phenoms that they are. Anyone that followed the election and was also on Tumblr (and also follows Beyonce, on Tumblr) knows that She, Shawn and the Pres and basically besties. Pictures of their visits to the Office are frequent and well known. Her support of Barack's campaign was clear, carrying us with her even into the ballot box. So it was no surprise when it was she that was chosen to sing those immortal words. In case you didn't see it, this is that performance.

Let's take a step back and think about how hard that would have been. Very few of us, if given the choice, would choose with all our current skills and abilities would choose to stand in front of a billion people and sing the national anthem. But that's okay, Beyonce will do it. And in all reality, we should want Beyonce to do it. If you've ever seen performances of her live, be it at the Grammy's, the Superbowl, you'll know that she is amazing. She is a show(wo)man. And she (usually) sings live.

Going into this Inaugural performance, as protocol dictates, a track of the performance was made ahead of time. Minutes before her performance, she opted to use that track. Minutes before her performance, try to imagine the nerves. Imagine the second guessing of your ability and experience. Imagine, being Beyonce; here. This might have been one of the most important performances of her life, and while Kelly Clarkson, in the same position, chose not to use the track, Beyonce proved she's only human.

This next video caught both audio tracks. You can hear her singing along to the pre-recorded track and proving to those, questioning their IV devotion, that pre-recorded or not, she's still got it and she is still flawless.

I think we put a lot of unnecessary pressure on performing artists to "keep it real." Write your own songs! Sing live! Play your own instruments! At the same time though, we expect them to look amazing and put on an incredible show. That includes dancing, crazy costume changes and probably pyrotechnics (which are so effing bad for your vocal cords). It's too much! We can't do this to them anymore. If we want Justin Beiber to dance hardcore hip-hop then we can't expect him to sing live. No one can do that and sing live. If we want Beyonce to welcome the President into his second term with the National Anthem, then we have to give her room for some nerves and self-doubt. We already know she's amazing. Why would we let this change that? 

Give it up guys. They're not gods. They're people; who are really good at what we're ultimately asking for. And when you think about what that is, we're clearly asking for far too much.

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