Washington - Fans of Beyoncé rallied behind the pop diva on Twitter on Tuesday after it emerged she lip-synched The Star-Spangled Banner at President Barack Obama's public inauguration ceremony the day before.
The New York Times quoted a US Marine Band spokesperson as saying that, just before Beyoncé took the stage, its musicians learned that a version of the national anthem it pre-recorded with her the day before would be used.
"We don't know why," said the spokesperson, Master Sergeant Kristin duBois. "But that is what we were instructed to do... It's not because Beyoncé can't sing. We all know Beyoncé can sing. We all know the Marine Band can play."
Beyoncé's publicist did not respond to an email request from AFP for comment, but there was no shortage of reaction on Twitter in support of the songstress, who will play the Super Bowl half-time show in February.
'Beyoncé is the best lip-syncer I've seen'
"Who cares that Beyoncé Lip #Sync the National Anthem, it was recorded live an hour before. You try singing in that cold," tweeted one fan, referring to Monday's near-freezing temperatures in Washington.
"Beyoncé certainly acted like a diva ... but I don't see how that can be compared to Lance Armstrong cheating for 7 straight years at the least," said another Twitter user, referring to the disgraced cyclist.
"Beyoncé is the best lip-syncer I've seen," added a third fan. "Because she surely fooled me."
The US Marine Band is the premier musical ensemble of the US Marine Corps. It's also known as the President's Own for its longstanding connection with the White House and important national events.
It played live for most of Monday's inauguration on the Capitol steps, but prior to any major event, it routinely goes into the studio to record its repertoire as a precautionary measure.