Lip-syncing the National Anthem

Watching the World Series a few nights ago, I found myself in a weird spot: I could not tell if the National Anthem was being sung or lip-synched. I think it was Michael McDonald, the old Doobie Brother, who was either singing or “singing.” Of course, the man CAN sing, but was he? My big question is this: How often are singers lip-synching the anthem before major sporting events? I recall hearing that a good deal of them DO in fact mouth words to their own pre-recorded versions of the anthem, but, well, I was at the infamous Rosanne Arnold (or Barr) singing in the '90s, wherein she grabbed her crotch and sang like a wounded hound dog, and that, I doubt was lip-syncing. I bring this up only because if they’re gonna let Rosanne sing, wouldn’t they let someone who could actually carry tune give it a try?

I was in a choir that performed the SSB at a major league baseball game. The music was recorded ahead of time because what the singers hear is what the audience hears over the speakers, and that has a time delay of several seconds. It’s difficult to stay focussed with that time delay going on.

A performer may appear to be lip synching when they’re not, because their lips are seconds ahead of what you hear.

A friend who sang the anthem solo related that he had to make an intense effort to stay focussed; he basically had to shut out what he was hearing. When he finished singing, he started taking his bows . . . and then heard himself over the speakers, “AND THE HOME OF THE BRAVE.”

So, presumably, if the singer’s lips are moving in sync with the words, you could assume that she was lipsynching? Is this accurate?

Not necessarily, because when you watch on TV you are hearing the anthem through the performer’s mike (assuming s/he is actually singing), which would be in sync with the lips.

If you are in the stadium, you will hear the echo of the sound bouncing around the stadium, and it will not be in sync with what your eyes are seeing on the field (or on the JumboTron).

Aha! The miracle of direct lines. Another victory for we lazy couch bums.

Whitney Houston made it a point to prerecord a version of the National Anthem that she sang before a Super Bowl because she knew that the echo in the stadium would make it difficult for her to perform well.

The recording was later sold as a single.

The National Anthem does not seem like an easy song to sing. Same thing with God Bless America.

At major sporting events where they have a warm-up band and half-time bands, they often insist that the band record ahead of time even if they plan to play live. That way they can substitute in the recorded track if anything goes wrong (amp dies, guitar wireless picks up some CDer, etc.)…or so I’ve heard. At the SuperBowl where Sting sang with NoDoubt, and what’s-her-name in the black metal & spandex “sang” (jeepers, my premature senility is bad today), her manager swore she sang life. Hogwash. There’s a sound you get in the studio and a sound when you’re close up on the mike and what she was singing live is not what came over the TV. I checked with my lead singer, who has better ears than I do, and she agreed.

All clear?