Aretha Franklin “cracked up” when she first heard that Beyonce had lip-synched the national anthem at the inauguration of President Barack Obama.
“When I heard that I just really cracked up,” Franklin, 70, told ABC News. “I thought it was really funny, but she did a beautiful job with the pre-record.”
Four years ago, Franklin (then 66 years old) sang “My Country Tis of Thee” live at Obama’s first inauguration on a bitterly cold January morning (see video below).
Aretha, the undisputed Queen of Soul, says she never once considered lip-synching at the swearing-in of the first African-American president of the United States.
“I wanted to give people the real thing, and pre-recording never crossed my mind,” says Franklin.
Still, Aretha graciously conceded that many singers lip-synch, and was careful to not criticize Beyonce for merely moving her lips.
“When I heard the news this evening that she was pre-recorded I really laughed,” says Franklin. “But I think it’s optional really, it’s up to the artist.
“In 2009, I wanted everything to be live and on the real side for the moment as it actually happened. Those were my feelings for my performance, but having come face-to-face with 28, 22 degrees, I am not surprised she pre-recorded. She wanted her performance to be what she wanted to be and she realized it wasn’t going to be the way she wanted it to be.”
Meanwhile, Franklin had nothing but praise for Kelly Clarkson, who delivered a stirring rendition of “My Country ‘Tis of Thee” live just minutes before Beyonce took the stage.
“[Kelly was] magnificent,” gushed Franklin. “I enjoyed every minute.”