Like everyone watching live and on TV, Darren Criss was awed by Beyoncé's stirring rendition of the national anthem at President Barack Obama's inauguration—blithely unaware that she had actually lip-synced to a prerecorded track.
Yet a day before the bombshell revelation, Criss, who had performed at a pre-inaugural bash, waxed enthusiastic about the pop superstar's performance, telling E! News that Bey moved him to tears.
"I was somewhere in the crowd crying when Beyoncé was singing," he told us at the Washington Convention Center Monday, adding, "It's Beyoncé—it's a double force there. I was just somewhere off to the side…it's just such an incredible thing."
Controversy notwithstanding, the 25-year-old, who hit the stage at the kids' inauguration concert with costar Naya Rivera, recalled what it was like to perform in front of luminaries like Michelle Obama and Jill Biden.
Apparently, it all comes down to two words: nerve-racking.
"I was so nervous," he said. "It's incredibly nerve-racking to come out onstage. You look out and there's Dr. Biden and first lady Michelle Obama, and I'm looking out and my hands start jittering…and I'm sweating bullets."
He also copped that he "screwed up a little bit, but hopefully nobody noticed." (For the record: Nope, we didn't catch a thing.)
As for meeting the first lady face to face, Criss gushed that the FLOTUS was "very kind," but he admits he was too nervous to ask whether first daughters Malia and Sasha were Glee fans.
No worries, Darren: After that rocking performance at the kids' inauguration concert, we're betting they're certainly fans now.