Turns out Etta James has just been adding a little stand-up comedy to her concerts.
The veteran chanteuse, who made headlines last week for telling a Seattle audience that she "can't stand" Beyoncé, said Thursday that she was purely joking—despite the fact that she feels she would have done a better job singing her signature tune, "At Last," to Barack and Michelle Obama at the Neighborhood Inaugural Ball.
"I didn't really mean anything," James told the New York Daily News of her onstage aside. "Even as a little child, I've always had that comedian kind of attitude...That's probably what went into it.
"Nobody was getting mad at me in Seattle," she added. "They were all laughing, and it was funny." Her little speech did not arise "from a vicious place."
But when asked if she could have outsung Beyoncé, who played James in Cadillac Records and walked the red carpet with her at the film's premiere, the elder stateswoman of R&B replied, "I think so. That's a shame to say that."
James also figures that Obama probably isn't too miffed that she referred to him as "the one with the big ears" last week.
"He's got other stuff [to worry about] besides Etta James."