Lip-synching a live performance is considered a grave offense to many. It’s a shameful thing that insults the audience’s intelligence and pocket books, and in some cases can leave a musician’s reputation forever marred. Despite all of that, lip-synching is still a very common practice amongst artists. Sometimes it’s even required of them regardless of what they may think about it, but when news of the mimed performance hits the media it’s always a big scandal.
Check out these 15 lip-synching artists who were caught in the act.
Beyoncé’s performance of the National Anthem at the 2013 Presidential Inauguration for Obama’s second term left people in awe of her flawless voice. Turns out her flawless performance was a flawless recording. It was decided that a recording would be the best decision given that Beyoncé did not have a chance to rehearse with the Marine band for the song. Widespread speculation led to media coverage of this supposed scandal, but Bey didn’t seem too phased by it. She definitely had an easier time of it than others on our list like…
The younger Simpson daughter had a chance to step out into the spotlight in 2004, free of her sister’s shadow. Too bad the spotlight was on her for all the wrong reasons. During a performance on Saturday Night Live Ashlee was supposed to sing two songs, “Pieces of Me” and “Autobiography,” but when it was time to perform the latter song, the words to “Pieces of Me” came booming out through the speakers yet again. Ashlee’s lips weren’t moving. An embarrassed Ashlee attempted to deflect the attention with a little jig, which of course, only brought more embarrassment. She could be seen teary eyed and apologetic at the end of the show.
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A lip-synching Britney Spears is hardly news or shocking, but still the public was disappointed to see her mouthing the words in her performace of “Womanizer” on the X Factor back in 2008 and down right pissed when she dared to feign a vocal performance on her Circus tour which saw fans walk out of the arena in Australia.
This not-so-dynamic duo represents the most popular and surprisingly tragic case of lip-syncing in music history, marking the quickest fall from grace since Adam bit the apple. The public became skeptical of the group’s singing ability when the recording of their hit “Girl You Know It’s True” kept repeating part of that line in the chorus as Milli Vanilli (Rob Pilatus and Fab Morvan) attempted to play it off before running off stage during a live MTV performance. However, the straw that broke the camel’s back was when one of the real Milli Vanilli singers came forward out of anger that Rob and Fab were credited as singing on their US debut album in 1989. The next year Milli Vanilli’s founder Frank Farian confessed to the whole scheme resulting in the duo getting stripped of their Grammy Awards, dropped from Arista Records, and sued in 27 different lawsuits. Arista records also deleted their album from its catalog. A struggling and depressed Rob Pilatus died of an accidental drug overdose 8 years later.
50 Cent let the audience know right out the gate that his performance of “Amusement Park” would be of the lip-syncing variety when he opted to take off his jacket during his entrance onto the stage instead of singing along to the vocal track during the BET awards in 2007. Not too long afterwards, the vocals stopped altogether and all we heard was instrumental playing while 50 aimlessly wandered around the front of the audience giving out handshakes and waiting for the track to come back in. File this one under “Head-scratcher.”
Photo: AP Photo/Michael Dwyer
Not all lip-syncing is an attempt by the artist to skirt a live performance, many times for high profile events the lip-syncing is sanctioned by the event director as was the case with Jennifer Hudson’s 2009 Natioanl Anthem performance. Hudson received a lot of flack for the incident as if it was her fault though the producer of the show required both she and Faith Hill to sing to back up tracks.
The performance of “The Star Spangled Banner” that brought the public to tears at the 1991 Superbowl was, in fact, a previous recording of the song for “protection” in case any issues prevented the singer from being able to belt it perfectly on game day. While some were surprised and upset many people understood the pressure to have a flawless national anthem at the biggest sporting event in the US, and knew that, though she might have been lip-syncing, it was indeed Whitney’s powerful voice all the way. No Milli Vanilli stuff.
Cheryl has been accused of lip-syncing quite a few times in her not so long career. Her latest fiasco was October 2012 during a performance for the popularity charity Stand Up To Cancer. The music started, the dance heavy routine began, but no vocals materialized. Well, there were vocals but they were very whispered and wispy coming out of Cole’s mouth unto a mic that was not turned on, presumably to allow the audience only to hear the recording instead of her singing live. The only problem was, yeah, no recording…
Photo: James Devaney/WireImage
We all know Mariah can hit those crazy high notes but she sure didn’t seem like it when she lip-synced a song on the X Factor. The mega diva was a little bit too slow in lifting the mic to her perfectly primped lips as her squeaky high note rang out from the recording without her. Hardly ever embarrassed, she kept on singing but viewers can’t help but wonder if maybe those old pipes just ain’t what they used to be.
The belly-dancing beauty was caught slipping as she mimed her way through “She Wolf” during a FIFA World Cup performance in 2010. Her hips might not lie but looks like her lips sure do.
One of Disney’s singing creations, Ashely Tisdale, got hit with criticism for lip-syncing to her song “Last Christmas” during her Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade performance in 2007. It wasn’t her fault though, it’s required for all performers to lip-sync during the parade!
With all the dancing Chris Brown does is it really a big deal if he lip-syncs? Still, it was a big deal to many people when he got down with the mime during his song “Turn Up the Music” at the 2012 Billboard Music Awards. Spunky singer Pink tweeted about the incident saying “One day if I lip-sync, I hope I do it as well as him.”
Starting your music career with a lip-syncing scandal while singing a song about stopping rumors when you’re already not a great singer isn’t the best way to actually stop rumors. Lindsay, who surprisingly went platinum with her debut album Speak, seemed to have forgotten the lyrics to her first single “Rumors” while she was attempting to lip-sync with the track.
This one was just too amusing not to include on our list. It’s a lip-syncing of sorts. More like instrument-syncing. Perry pretended to play the flute to a flute instrumental of Jay-Z’s “Big Pimpin'”. She was just so pleased with her faking until she forgot that there was one more string of notes to play and took the flute from her lips as the music played without her. An embarrassed Perry pulls the flute apart and does an awkward giggle in admission of her folly. See for your self here.