'STAR Spangled Scammer' ran the 'New York Daily News' headline on Beyonce Knowles's first bona fide scandal in a 16-year career as a professional entertainer. The American public is still slack-jawed at the thought of the coolest girl-next-door defrauding the millions who tuned into President Barack Obama's second inauguration ceremony on Monday.
As clear as the pretty nose on Beyonce's face, the spine-chillingly flawless rendition of the US national anthem seemed, to the majority, to be a pre-recorded track. Though the Destiny's Child front-woman's performance was praised by the critics as being inspired, and an inspiration, why would such a seasoned vocal talent lip-sync like her life depended on it?
In the absence of comment from the singer herself, the allegation of miming is being compared to that of 80s plastic pop stars Milli Vanilli, and Lance Armstrong's recent doping admission. The question on the lips of millions is why one of the most poised and talented voices of her generation would fail to sing live for her beloved president?
Could it be that the new mom and coiner of the body-confidence moniker 'Bootylicious' is having a crisis of confidence? One would expect that had she been experiencing problems with her voice, Beyonce would have had no qualms about admitting it. With no word from the Carter- Knowles camp, did she cave with nerves?
Now, it is customary at these large events to have a pre-recorded track in case of bad weather. It is general knowledge that many stars, such as Jennifer Hudson and Whitney Huston, have availed of the prefab opt-out. However, Beyonce's iconic status as an independent woman who can achieve anything took a hit as her fans were rocked by what they saw as a betrayal.
This performance is not her first since becoming a mother to Blue Ivy in early 2012. Last summer she gigged in all her stage-sequinned glory in Atlantic City. To most this was a sign that Beyonce was back.
But there had been a great adjustment in her life. A new mother's confidence can still be knocked after the baby is weaned and the body's back in shape. Even for the mega-rich, the arrival of that first child causes a shift in priorities that forces a new perspective.
Eighteen months out of the game is an eternity in show business. Even for a gal like Knowles who made a career out of living and breathing confidence, it would be understandable to be anxious about getting back on top. After a year where megastars Lady Gaga, Rihanna, J-Lo, Madonna and Britney dominated the celebrity pages, charts and stadiums, does the multi-award-winning star fear that she's gone off the boil?
A seemingly desperate roster of projects – 'The Beyhive' blog, a self-directed HBO documentary, Destiny's Child's reunion, the Superbowl half-time show and the inauguration gig – could suggest that Beyonce is grappling with her reincarnation as a working mother in the public eye. Why is she spreading herself so thin when she could easily pick up where she left off with her singing, acting and fashion business?
One ponders the pressure to fit the 'having it all' celebrity mould. Taking maternity leave from her regular work schedule, she was exposed to an intimidatingly successful crowd while spending more quality time with her husband Sean Carter/ Jay-Z. Though Knowles is independently successful, from a business and creative perspective she was not particularly diversified before her pregnancy.
It would seem that taking on so many new projects during a time of great change can shake even someone with such abilities. The new world Beyonce is trying to manoeuvre, with a baby in tow, is a scary one. The public will get over 'lip-gate', but Beyonce should expect her share of Milli Vanilli jibes.
With looks and talent, she needs to take a deep breath and find the moxy that got her that first number one, to get back in the headlines for the right reasons.