The problem I have with Beyonce Knowles singing the National Anthem at President Obama's inauguration is this: her desire to look fabulous during her "performance" places her importance above everything else going on that day. She shouldn't be so worried about how she looks. It isn't a concert.
The National Anthem at a government-sanctioned event is not "performed." It is "led," so the masses in attendance can sing along. But Beyonce made up her own notes--which means she thought her interpretation of the song is better than how it is written. And maybe she likes it that way; that's her right. But she made it difficult for anyone to sing along. Her singing is not more important, in that situation, than anyone else in the crowd.
My issue isn't that she recorded it. It's hard to hear the band when you're outside, at a podium, not looking at the conductor. It's the fact that she recorded a version that had her own melody. Some singers choose to improvise in the moment and run up and down chords; but she wasn't improvising. She recorded a different melody and played it, and pretended to sing it. It's so rude.
The singer doesn't have any more right to change the notes than does anyone else in the band. Imagine if Beyonce was singing, and all the trumpet players decided they were bored and started playing whatever they wanted. The song would stop. But no, Beyonce is more important, because she is famous.
I'm so tired of the media portraying singers like Beyonce or Kelly Clarkson as if they are of the same importance as the President of the United States. Official government events like the swearing-in of the president is not the moment for Beyonce or Kelly to steal the spotlight and have a fabulous moment.
I don't care if people interpret songs--go ahead and record your own version and sell it on iTunes, whatever. Perform the interpreted version at your own concert, where people bought tickets to come see you. But Hollywood is not more important than our own government, despite their inflated pereptions of their own self-worth.
Whitney Houston sang the National Anthem at the Super Bowl--which is a football game, not an official government event--and except for one little run at the end, she sang it as written. It was fantastic, and it was recorded, but to quote Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, "What difference does it make?"
<iframe width="500" height="290" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/tmrQINYTSd4" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>