When Beyoncé sang the US National Anthem a cappella to combat miming criticism. And absolutely nailed it.

2 March 2021, 18:11 | Updated: 2 March 2021, 19:21

Beyoncé sings the US National Anthem in 2019
Beyoncé sings the US National Anthem in 2019. Picture: YouTube / NFL

By Kyle Macdonald

Queen Bey wanted to prove a point about her anthem singing, and further solidified her status among vocal royalty.

The Star-Spangled Banner, the National Anthem of the United States of America, is not an easy sing.

Its long phrases and slow tempo demands a lot of a singer’s breathing. The melody is highly intervallic with lots of fiendish phrases up and down arpeggios. Its written range is an octave and a half (even before any of the customary ornamentation), which is huge by hymns and anthem standards.

Read more: What are the lyrics to the US National Anthem, The Star-Spangled Banner? >

Some have been tripped up by its demands, while others, from Lady Gaga to Renée Fleming, have raised it to incredible heights in tuneful triumph.

But one of the most memorable performances came eight years ago, when pop superstar Beyoncé, armed with only a microphone, sang it alone to prove some doubters wrong.

Read more: When Beyoncé showed us mere mortals her full operatic voice >

This 2013 performance comes with a story. At the time, Beyoncé had been facing criticism following her performance of the National Anthem at President Barack Obama's Second Inauguration, on 21 January of that year.

At the service, many noted Beyoncé appeared to lip-sync her vocal part. Some in the media and on Twitter then questioned whether her vocals were up to the pressure of the moment, or the demands of the arrangement.

So she decided to respond in song.

At an NFL press conference, which took place ten days later in New Orleans, she entered and asked the assembled reporters to stand.

And what followed was a masterful a cappella display. It showcased the character and power of her mezzo-soprano voice, and was assured, expressive and rich in musicality and class. It was a Star-Spangled banner performance for the ages.

Beyoncé later told reporters that she had performed to a pre-recorded vocal track at the Inauguration, due to lack of rehearsal time and other unknown variables. She said she “did not feel comfortable taking a risk” that day. “I wanted to make him [Obama] and my country proud, so I decided to sing along with my pre-recorded track.”

As YouTube user mexiaznann put it: “When the media attacks you for lip-syncing at the Obama inauguration for being sick and you slay with this.”