Aretha Franklin Defends Beyoncé's Lip-Synced National Anthem: She Didn't Have "Good Singing Weather"

Queen of Soul says prerecording didn't cross her mind before the 2009 inaugural, but that her voice wasn't as strong due to the cold.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Pop star Beyonce performs the National Anthem at President Barack Obama's second inauguration. After the performance, there have been questions about whether the singer lip-synced. (Published Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013)

    O say can you sing when it's freezing outside?

    Aretha Franklin did, at President Barack Obama's first inauguration ceremony in 2009--but she understands why Beyoncé didn't. And, regardless, she says her fellow diva did a "beautiful job."

    "When I heard the news this evening that she was prerecorded, I really laughed," Franklin told ABC News yesterday. "I thought it was funny because the weather down there was about 46 or 44 degrees, and for most singers that is just not good singing weather."

    Things haven't always been so warm and fuzzy between Aretha and Beyoncé

    But the queen of soul "really cracked up," she said, when she found out the weather was actually 40 degrees on Monday.

    "I thought it was really funny, but she did a beautiful job with the prerecord...next time I'll probably do the same."

    Franklin pulled "My Country, 'Tis of Thee" duty back in 2009, the song sung (live) by Kelly Clarkson at Obama's swearing-in this week. The U.S. Navy Band's Sea Chanters Chorus sang the national anthem four years ago.

    5 other big lip-syncing scandals

    But though lip-syncing "never crossed [her] mind," Franklin thinks her voice was affected by having to wait around in the cold.

    "Had I not had to sit that long, I had to sit for 45 or 30 minutes and it was much colder, it was in the 20s," she recalled to ABC. "I just wished I could have sung the moment I got there. If I could have walked on immediately and sung, it wouldn't have affected my voice the way it did."

    Yes, there was a music legend singing underneath that show-stopping hat.

    Anderson Cooper thanks Beyoncé for a beautiful national anthem

    And while the matter of whether or not Beyoncé opted for her prerecorded version of "The Star-Spangled Banner" isn't really up for debate, even though the U.S. Marine Corp would ultimately only confirm that the Marine Band didn't play live, CNN is now quoting an "inauguration official" who assured the news outlet that the star did indeed lip-sync.

    Her recorded vocal was "spot on," the official said, and the go-time decision to use it was "all Beyonc."

    Beyoncé posted some photos of her rehearsal session, but has otherwise remained silent in response to the increasingly uncontroversial controversy.

    Check out the pictorial highlights from the 2013 inaugural balls