Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
Posted at 10:41 AM ET, 02/24/2009

Did She or Didn't She? Beyoncé Becomes the Newest Target in Backing Track Debate

By Liz Kelly

Beyoncé and Hugh Jackman onstage at Sunday's Oscars. (Getty Images)

Beyoncé, Je t'accuse! Or, rather, THEY t'accuse.

A backing track debate has erupted again. This time Beyoncé Knowles stands accused of singing along to a pre-recorded track during the Oscar broadcast's Baz Luhrmann-produced segment in which she -- along with Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron, Vanessa Hudgens, Amanda Seyfried and that other guy from "Mamma Mia" -- took viewers along for a medley from big screen musicals of years past.

Jennifer Hudson was also outed for singing to a backing track when she sang the national anthem at this year's Super Bowl, but the "scandal" was quickly defused when the show's producer said backing tracks are standard operating procedure for Super Bowl entertainment. Case closed.

The trouble with Beyoncé is that, according to scrutinizers, she seems to have been the only one on stage not winging it. Hugh Jackman and the rest of the performers are believed to have gambled on singing live. Though it should be pointed out that composer A.R. Rahman also appeared to be lip-synching during his performance of "Slumdog Millionaire's" Oscar-winning song "Jai Ho."

When asked by MTV News, a spokesperson for Sunday's Academy Awards broadcast didn't deny the use of backing tracks, saying only: "As is the case with any live event of this scale and scope, there are always elements of the show that are pre-recorded."

But do we care if Beyoncé had a little help? Would it be somehow less entertaining to know that she was singing along to, umm, her own voice? Should she have sucked it up and matched her voice with her co-performers or should we forgive her for getting help for what was in all likelihood a speedily-rehearsed gig?


By Liz Kelly  | February 24, 2009; 10:41 AM ET
Categories:  Awards Season, Celebrities, Insta-Polls  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Morning Mix: Nicky Hilton Makes Citizen's Arrest; Clooney Meets with VP Biden
Next: Morning Mix: Jack Black, Drew Carey Make 'Least Fit Celebs' List

Comments

It really doesn't bother me that much. I always wonder how they have the stamina and lung capacity to do all that dancing and belt out a song at the same time. I tried talking to someone once while on the elliptical and almost passed out.

it's when they start "singing" the wrong song (Ashlee Simpson) or are just standing there and singing that get my eyebrows to arch.

Posted by: eet7e | February 24, 2009 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Why call it "Live" when it is not actually live? If they screw up, oh well that's entertainment.

Posted by: hodie | February 24, 2009 11:32 AM | Report abuse

As long as her legs were real, I'm fine with it.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 24, 2009 11:45 AM | Report abuse

Why call it "Live" when it is not actually live? If they screw up, oh well that's entertainment.

Posted by: hodie | February 24, 2009 11:32 AM

It's frequently done in "live" Broadway shows.

Posted by: jezebel3 | February 24, 2009 12:08 PM | Report abuse

No big deal. Heck, I use backing tracks all the time when I post here.

Posted by: byoolin1 | February 24, 2009 12:12 PM | Report abuse

I knew it. It's just too easy to tell, especially when she was the only one NOT singing live.

It was like watching a bad 70s kung fu movie, her lips just didn't match the sound.

Posted by: wadejg | February 24, 2009 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Maybe Beyonce singing to a backing track wouldn't bother me so much, if the HSM kids & MM couple did it too. But then again, her saving grace is that her performance was more 'performance' driven than the others who joined her later on in the routine.

Posted by: MrKPrez2U | February 24, 2009 12:21 PM | Report abuse

I had no problem with it. I am one of the apparently incredible tiny minority that enjoyed that salute to musicals. I thought Beyonce looked great in that outfit (those legs may give Tina Turner a run for their money). Hugh Jackman, of course, had me swooning. The only bad part was the inclusion of those weird HSM kids and the Mamma Mia people. You don't expect back ups to be featured.

Posted by: epjd | February 24, 2009 12:38 PM | Report abuse

The sound (in the 15 minutes of the show I could bear to watch) was wonky (I'm thinking SJP/Daniel Craig's presentation) so why not have backup? Better prepared. If Hugh's mic had gone out, everyone would be trashing him for not having a backup plan. But now I cannot get out my head a Beyoncé tune:

All lip-synching ladies?
All lip-sunching ladies.
All lip-synching ladies?
All lip-synching ladies.

Posted by: td_in_baltimore | February 24, 2009 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, I remain unconvinced. I would not go to a concert or the symphony to hear them play a recording. I can do that at home. If the performance is before a LIVE audience, the performance should also be live. If this was a taped performanced aired later, who cares, back track all you want. Afterall, this is what she does for a living. She shouldn't have to fake it.

Posted by: hodie | February 24, 2009 1:04 PM | Report abuse

All this drives me crazy. I think they should just tell everyone on the front end if it's not live, becuse it's definitely what you are expecting. Part of the problem is all these singers who are more dancers than singers. It's hard to keep the breathing right when your jumping around like a back-up dancer through the entire song. Just sing. Let other people writhe around.

Posted by: rashibama | February 24, 2009 1:10 PM | Report abuse

I agree, this is a pathetic cop out, especially when it proports to be a live performance. Any time some one is supposedly performing, then they should perform. (and no, doing the quick step while moving your lips is not performing). It definitely makes me think less of her and makes me wonder how much of her skill is the skill of the techy dude in the studio remixing out her singing flaws.

it does make me respect Hugh a whole lot more, and Anne Hathaway who does not sing for a living...

Posted by: LTL1 | February 24, 2009 1:21 PM | Report abuse

I'm so tired of this...it's called stage craft, people. Tricks of the trade.

As long as you're straying into full-on Milli-Vanilli or Lina Lamont/Kathy Sheldon territory (that would be a "Singin' in the Rain" reference for those not into classic MGM musicals), it's how you put on a musical. Get over it.

Posted by: Chasmosaur1 | February 24, 2009 1:26 PM | Report abuse

or rather NOT straying into the pure lip-synching territory. Forgive - I gave myself whiplash last week and typing with a laptop on your stomach while lying on your back is more challenging than I ever thought it could be ;)

Posted by: Chasmosaur1 | February 24, 2009 1:28 PM | Report abuse

i am pretty sure that the high school musical kids were lip synching too ... they both have SERIOUS help from autotune technology and other recording studio digital trickery on the HSM material, so the idea that they could pull it off live is laughable ... cute kids, but not good singers at all

Posted by: BillthePMP | February 24, 2009 2:24 PM | Report abuse

As long as her legs were real, I'm fine with it.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 24, 2009 11:45 AM

---------------------------------------------

Word

Posted by: sasquatchbigfoot | February 24, 2009 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Beyonce? Lip-syncing?

Scandalous . . .

and, a tut-tut for good measure.

Yours truly,

Curmudgeon

Posted by: bmschumacher | February 24, 2009 3:03 PM | Report abuse

This is about as surprising as every new baseball star that is, gasp!, found to be using steriods. YAWN. Face it, everyone is doing it so they all will do it...

Posted by: ROEL8021 | February 24, 2009 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Real controversy would ensue if we found out Barack Obama was using a backing track tonight in his address before Congress.

Posted by: mdreader01 | February 24, 2009 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Real controversy would ensue if we found out Barack Obama was using a backing track tonight in his address before Congress.

Posted by: mdreader01 | February 24, 2009 4:08 PM

***

Isn't that what happened at the swearing in? They got off kilter with the backing track?

Posted by: VaLGaL | February 24, 2009 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Real controversy would ensue if we found out Barack Obama was using a backing track tonight in his address before Congress.

Posted by: mdreader01 | February 24, 2009 4:08 PM

--------------------------------------------
How about a laugh track?

Posted by: sasquatchbigfoot | February 24, 2009 5:05 PM | Report abuse

Regarding Beyonce, this is a woman whose career is singing. She knows how many takes required to get a perfect sound. Why would she risk her reputation and career by winging it on stage when she isn't in control of the environment? She did the prudent thing.

Posted by: lolyla | February 24, 2009 8:40 PM | Report abuse

Being a musician myself, normally, I would say "no big deal, that is how the pros do it". But that is sad that out of the group of performers, she is the only full time professional singer, and SHE is the one that was afraid to sing live without a backing track? Come on now! That is sad that you have actors sharing the stage with her and they weren't afraid to sing without assistance.

On the flip side, being the pro singer of the crew, Beowulf stands to lose the most if she sings flat or off key. The others can say "oh well, i am an actor".

It was a cool number no matter what though.

Posted by: PhilliesPhan | February 24, 2009 8:56 PM | Report abuse

I'm so tired of this...it's called stage craft, people. Tricks of the trade.

As long as you're straying into full-on Milli-Vanilli or Lina Lamont/Kathy Sheldon territory (that would be a "Singin' in the Rain" reference for those not into classic MGM musicals), it's how you put on a musical. Get over it.

Posted by: Chasmosaur1 | February 24, 2009 1:26 PM

I think not. I've acted in musicals and that's not how you do it. We actually sang our songs and danced our dances. If Beowulf (I love that, PhilliesPhan!) can't sing and dance at the same time, then may I suggest she get off her fat patootie and do some wind sprints or something? 'Cause, it just ain't that hard.

-The Poster Formerly Known as Snarky Squirrel

Posted by: 7900rmc | February 24, 2009 9:21 PM | Report abuse

The show is an awards show about the celabration of movies which are all make make believe anyway. Even films of true stories are based on the facts. Some loosely. No one paid to hear the performance but sponsors. If it were a taped show, they may have done 20 takes. But the show was live. Maybe she felt more comfortable making the celebration more fun.

Posted by: DocMe | February 25, 2009 7:49 AM | Report abuse

Thank you for having a poll the interweb nazis at work can't censor!

Posted by: memphis1 | February 25, 2009 11:12 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2011 The Washington Post Company