BEIJING The decision to have a pretty face lip-synching during the Beijing Olympics opening ceremony instead of the actual singer was taken after consulting with broadcasters, Games organizers said on Wednesday.
Nine-year-old Lin Miaoke was lauded for her performance but was merely a photogenic stand-in for the real singer, who was rejected because of her appearance, organizers said.
Lin was celebrated across China as the angelic voice with the adorable face who sang "Ode to the Motherland" at Friday's opening extravaganza.
But a director of the opening ceremony, Chen Qigang, said Lin's voice was overdubbed by the singing of the real child singer Yang Peiyi.
"The song was pre-recorded," Beijing Games spokesman Sun Weide told reporters. "The artistic directors made that decision after consultation with the broadcasters."
"The artistic directors just picked the best voice and the best performer," he said.
Games Executive Vice President Wang Wei said it was done to achieve a better effect.
"It was a joint decision to achieve the most theatrical effects," Wang said. "I do not think there is anything wrong with that."
The International Olympic Committee defended the decision, which has angered viewers and media around the world who felt they were given the wrong impression.
"This is a technical decision," IOC Games Executive Director Gilbert Felli said. "We have to put it in the context of the opening ceremony. That is a casting issue that we have in every performance."
Felli said he accepted the fact others may have a different opinion but said the decision was similar to a coach dropping a player and leaving him on the bench.
He did say, however, organizers should have made the spectators and viewers aware of that fact.
"It is clear for me that the right information has to be given to the people," Felli said.
This was not the only pre-recorded sequence of the ceremony.
On Tuesday organizers of the August 8-24 Games said several of the fireworks that shot into the Beijing sky in a sequence of explosions across the city had also been pre-recorded.
(Editing by Steve Ginsburg)