Beyonce is scheduled to perform live at the Super Bowl halftime show this Sunday. But after she admitted lip-syncing the National Anthem for President Obama's inauguration, fans may be wondering whether she's actually singing.
Lip syncing, by either mouthing the words or singing along to a prerecorded track, is part of many professional pop singers' repertoires these days.
Several factors make lip syncing more common than many fans might like to think. While some argue over the ethics of it, others might look on the practice as an art form in and of itself.
"It's accepted way more in the industry than it is in the public," said Christopher Blood, head of the music production department at McNally Smith College of Music in St. Paul, Minn. "It's a quality control issue, the ability to have the best representation of the artist out there."
Artists often lip sync when they find themselves on a stage without the proper sound system, Blood said, or if the monitoring system fails -- or if they get a cold. Certain sounds are also difficult to recreate in a live setting. Some artists sing their own harmonies, for example, layering in their own background vocals in the studio. In many cases, the artist will do a mixture of singing and lip syncing, especially during performances that require a lot of aerobic dancing.