Too busy to read the news this week? We’ve rounded up the stories from this past week that everyone’s most likely to be buzzing about. Here, everything you need to know to sound like you know what you’re talking about when you hit the party circuit this weekend.
Beyoncé Lip-Synced (Maybe) (Right?)
The nation was breathless, stunned by Beyoncé’s flawless rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” at Monday’s inauguration. But then, a country collectively betrayed, backlash came fast and fierce when it was revealed that Beyoncé maybe (probably/perhaps not/it could go either way/it’s still unclear) lip-synced. A Marine spokesman wouldn’t confirm or deny the reports; an inauguration official said she definitely did; multiple sound experts said there’s no way she lip-synced; and theories were floated that she sang live, but to a prerecorded track. Cloud Atlas was easier to follow. This is all not to mention that lip-syncing at major outdoor events is common practice—Whitney Houston even did it in 1991—and, if she was just mouthing the words, in typical Beyoncé fashion, she was spectacular at it. As Slate says, “If she was indeed lip-syncing at the inauguration, give her the Nobel Prize in mime.”
Obama Started Round Two
With all the focus on Beyoncégate, it’s hard to remember that something else big happened Monday: Obama was sworn in for his second term as president of the United States. In a rousing speech delivered from the steps of the Capitol (poignantly, on Martin Luther King Day), Obama laid out his agenda for the next four years, including women’s equality, immigration rights, and voting rights. It was also the first time a president discussed marriage equality in an inaugural address. “Our journey is not complete,” was his repeated refrain. Later that night, the president celebrated with wife Michelle, who stunned fashionistas by wearing a gown by the same designer—Jason Wu—two inaugurations in a row.
Manti Te’o Spoke
On Thursday Katie Couric channeled every sports fan in the country as she interviewed college football star Manti Te’o about the now infamous fake-girlfriend deception he was embroiled in—without ever losing her furrowed, skeptical, “you can’t be serious” gaze. For his part, Te’o denied involvement in the hoax; insisted he never lied to the press, because he was never asked if he met his girlfriend in person (“Aren’t you splitting hairs?” Couric countered); and said that he did not find it odd that he never tried to visit “the love of his life” after a near-fatal car accident put her in a coma. Couric summed it up perfectly: “Either you’re the most naive person on the planet, or this is the saddest story ever written.”
Hillary Got Feisty About Benghazi
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testified in front of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday about the events leading up to the attacks on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, and the handling of the aftermath. There were explanations. There was shouting. There were tears. And there was the throwing of some serious shade. “What difference, at this point, does it make?” she said with a raised voice when asked why the American people weren’t immediately told what security officers knew about the attack. In her opening statements, she got choked up remembering the fallen Americans. And she made this face at John McCain.
Sundance Gets in Full Swing
Right now, hordes of entertainment journalists and celebrities are shivering in Park City, Utah, watching the premieres of a slew of indie films that the rest of us will be able to see once they trickle into theaters over the next year. Among the big stories thus far from the Sundance Film Festival: Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s directorial debut, Don Jon’s Addiction, won over the crowd, as did the Sam Rockwell–Steve Carell dramedy The Way, Way Back, which was snatched up by Fox Searchlight for a massive $10 million. Other buzzy new projects: Amanda Seyfried’s turn as the famous porn star in Lovelace, James Franco’s documentary Kink, and the affecting coming-of-age romance The Spectacular Now.
It Was Cold
A strange thing called January struck much of the Northern Hemisphere this week, with the above-average temperatures we’ve been enjoying for much of the winter season plummeting to uncomfortably frigid lows. New Yorkers begrudgingly bundled up as winds chilled the temperature to the single digits. The Midwest was in shivering anguish as parts of Minnesota felt temperatures as cold as 32 degrees ... below zero. Climate change may have helped 2012 become the hottest year on record in the U.S., but right now all anyone can say is, “Brrrr.”