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Aretha Franklin has more than a little bit of respect for Beyonce's choice not to sing live at Obama's official inauguration this week.

The jazz matriarch defends Beyonce amid reports she lip-synced the American national anthem at Barack Obama's inauguration on Monday.

Aretha 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."

As for her own presidential performance in 2009, Ms Franklin said it was a personal decision for her to perform live.

"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."

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