Aretha Franklin defends lip-synching Beyoncé

Aretha Franklin has defended Beyoncé amid reports she lip-synced the American national anthem at Barack Obama's inauguration on Monday.

The soul singer has voiced her support for the 31-year-old star and said she is "not surprised she pre-recorded" her version of 'The Star Spangled Banner' in Washington DC immediately following the president's swearing-in and speech, because it was too cold at the event to sing live.

The 70-year-old star told ABC News: "I thought it was funny because the weather down there was about 46 or 44 degrees (6 or 7 degrees Celsius) and for most singers that is just not good singing weather.

"I thought it was really funny, but she did a beautiful job with the pre-record … next time I'll probably do the same."

Franklin also said it was a personal decision for her to perform live at the 2009 inauguration.

She said: "I think it's optional really, it's up to the artist. In 2009, I wanted everything to be live and on the real side for the moment as it actually happened. Those were my feelings for my performance, but having come face to face with 28, 22 degrees (-2, -5 Celsius) I am not surprised she pre-recorded."

Milli Vanilli star Fab Morvan also told gossip website TMZ.com that he was shocked by the backlash Beyoncé has received, saying: "It's hard to believe, in this day of auto-tune, that people are still acting surprised.

"Everyone knows Beyoncé can sing. Everyone should just step back and relax. There are far more important things to worry about. But I can certainly relate to what she's going through."

The band's director Colonel Michael J. Colburn previously revealed that the singer only had one night to rehearse with the band as she is currently preparing for her high profile show at the Super Bowl in New Orleans on February 3, during which she will be joined by her Destiny's Child bandmates Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams.

Other performers at the event including newly engaged 'Stronger' singer Kelly sang live.

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