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The 13 Greatest Lip Syncing FAILs

Lip syncing is what you do when you're more famous than talented. These are videos of celebrities, famous singers and "artists" being caught lip syncing at the worst possible times.

Technology is both a blessing and a curse for the music industry. On one hand, it has made it easier for people without money for studio time to create music out of their bedroom. Unfortunately there is also a dark side to it with the auto-tuning and even worse, lip syncing.

Lip syncing is when an artist, for whatever reason decides that they cannot actually sing in front of the audience that has come and paid for them to do just that, so they have a backing track play during the performance and they just mouth along to it, just like you do in your car -- only with dancing. (We're looking at you, Milli Vanilli.)

Now, there are some cases where lip syncing could be acceptable. First, if you are making a music video since there is no way to perform live and have it turn out sounding good. We'll even let it slide for those singers who actually dance *a lot* and perform in their acts like Michael Jackson, since there is no way, during their higher energy numbers, that they can possibly get enough breath to push out the song and they don’t want to disappoint their fans.

Perfectly fine.

What singers have been caught lip syncing? The issue comes in when you are using the backing track just so you don’t have to do your job. It’s lazy and unprofessional. What’s even worse is when they do it poorly. The list below is the worst cases of lip syncing caught on tape and put on the web.

The 13 Greatest Lip Syncing FAILs Bands/Musicians
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  1. 1

    The most recent entry, and the inspiration for this list, while it is not a singing gaffe, Katy Perry should be slapped on the wrist for trying to convince us that one, a recorder is a flute, and two that she has any talent other than looking pretty and bouncing nicely.

    Ah, who am I kidding, I don't care.

    Just bat those eyelashes at me a few times or bounce up and down on a ball while wearing cleavage-heavy shirts like in this gif.

  2. 2
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    Watch Ashlee Simpson lip sync screw up on SNL in Music  |  View More Free Videos Online at

    Ashlee Simpson is known for many things: being related to Jessica Simpson, being now (sadly) hotter than Jessica Simpson, having a nose job, being married to that guy from that one band, oh and being a singer (sort of).

    Also known as the "jig seen round the world", Simpson will go down as one of the worst musical guests in Saturday Night Live history. Forever.

    She was on, "performing" to promote her new album, when the backing track stopped working and she did the only thing that popped into her cute little MILFy brain, dance her way off stage. Big ups go to her band, though, that went on to show that they don't need to fake it and just played the actual song for a while.

  3. 3

    Ah LiLo. This is what everyone calls her on the internet -- probably just to try and make her sound a little more like an actually-relatable little girl with family problems.

    She was, at one time, all that I could think about. Remember how cute she was in "Mean Girls"? Her flowing red hair. Her rockin' bod. Her amazing singing voice. Ok, maybe not the last part. Being that she was raised to diva status by the demi-Gods at Disney, she had to have a CD of inane, pointless, cakemold music put out at some point (a CD, I should mention, that was given to me as a gift. A joke gift that I just happened to listen to a few hundred times).

    It actually wasn't all that bad, of course it's pretty easy to tell that it wasn't really her voice. There was no trace of the years of cigarette/whiskey/crack abuse or any stray whistling from her previously-drug-damaged teeth in any of her tones.

    So it isn't too much of a surprise that when she went on Good Morning America and missed a few syllables here and there and wasn't on mic for a few verses, but sounded fantastic anyway. After all, they will just edit it out in post right? Wait, what do you mean it's live?

  4. 4

    Though they certainly weren't the first people to be caught lip-syncing, Milli Vanilli is probably the most scandalous. It wasn't just because they used backing tracks during all of their performances, it was because it was not even their voices that you heard on the album. The supposed frontmen, Robert Pilatus and Fabrice Morvan, never sang on a single track of the first album. It was all sung by a group of people that the producer deemed too unattractive to be seen.

    The above video shows one of the first times it became apparent that the duo were not actually singing during performances. It wasn't until after the group won a Grammy for Best New Artist in 1990 that it came to light that they were in fact duping America. And ever since then, the Grammys have been really meaningful and a bastion of recognition of the greatest talents in music...


    The whole thing didn't go over well with anyone and they had their Grammy revoked and were then sued to give back all funds generated by their record and concert sales in a class action lawsuit.

    At least they didn't try to blame it on the rain. Amirite ladies?

  5. 5

    Another of the Mouse House crew, Tisdale came into this world through the same gaping "High School Musical" vagina that also gave birth to Zac David Alexander Efron. Like most of these artists, I am sure that one of the reasons she uses background tracks is because her actual voice needs as much vocal reconstructive surgery as Bruce Jenner's face.

  6. 6

    50 can take a bullet, but it seems that he has some trouble staying on cue for his performances. It's not really his fault though considering he wanted to keep going -- it's just that the track decided against it.

    He did cover it well, though. "Just strut around until tech can get everything back on track, 50. You got this. Just keep going..."

    I still think he does a better performance with Keenan Cahill:

  7. 7

    Probably the easiest of the group to find errors in her performance, Britney Spears seems to be the Queen of not only Pop but also lip syncing. God bless that woman.

    The above clip is probably the most controversial, though. In what was supposed to be her triumphant return to the stage, Britney decided to use the time to slump around the stage in an outfit a tad bit too tight for her and poorly mouth her lines like a zombie.

    It's like she had to poop the whole time.

    One of my favorite clips though has to be this one taken from a fan video of her "Circus" Tour.

    You can clearly see that she screams into her mic but no voice is heard. Either they shut down her vocals extremely quickly, or more likely, it was never on to begin with.

  8. 8

    Really, this is but one of the 14,639 reasons I dislike Mariah Carey. Not only is she a boring performer who's only real talent is being able to communicate with dogs with her incredably annoying vocal runs, but she is just another self righteous performer who has gone on record as saying she would never lip sync:

    While she does make her point in saying that she understands people who have energetic performances who should have backing tracks, she says that if you don't have a good reason to do it, you shouldn't. It just doesn't line up since in the first video from GMA, she is not running around and doing anything that could ever be considered cardiovascular, but she clearly is not singing either. Just makes you think.

  9. 9

    The video here really explains it all. Though I can't put too much blame on Little Miss Booty-Shaker, since she is working it hard for all the good people of Africa. I really do think that you can solve all the world's problems by showing them a well crafted Shakira video filled with booty shaking and wolf howls.

  10. 10

    This is a great example of an artist just being plain old lazy.

    Not only has he determined that he doesn't want to spend the energy to actually sing at his own concert, but it seems that Eric Kupper couldn't even make the effort to do his own hyping. You will notice that he drops the mic right away, yet his voice seems to be magically broadcasting through the (incredibly) loud speakers.

    His answer to the situation? Drink some vodka, walk off stage and leave the poor girl alone to sing "Everybody Dance Now" over and over than, eventually, return to stage and take off his shirt.

    Still, it's probably one of the best performances C+C had in decades.

  11. 11

    If there are any artists that I could possibly see it being okay for using backing tracks during performances, it would be the ones that are putting on an energetic show. So when Gaga does it... it's fine I guess, she should just be able to hit the mic at the appropriate times. There are two reasons why she has been placed on this list though.

    First, this clip is from the Ellen show, not saying that in itself is a bad thing, but the fact that it is a clip where Ellen is promoting an upcoming performance and they choose to use one where Lady G is CLEARLY not singing since her voice is coming through when the mic is not anywhere near her mouth. I mean, why even hold a mic in the first place?

    And secondly, Gaga has gone on record saying that she never has or will lip sync:

    It's really this point that puts her in this shame pile. Like I said, I get the need to have a background track playing when you are dancing and whatnot. It makes sense, but to go out there and blatantly lie about not doing it, c'mon man.

  12. 12

    Squeeze Theeze Pleeze


    I will be completely honest with you. I have no idea who these people are. All I know is that the guy is either a miraculously talented singer for being able to continue singing perfectly while taking a lengthy stage dive, or there are shenanigans involved. Shenanigans.

  13. 13

    Spice Girls

    Spice Girls - Stop(Live Victoria's Secret... by nono_the_bean

    The Spice Girls were the 90's answer to The Monkees. We all knew that they weren't really all that talented, but man were they ever adorable. So when they came back from their years of retirement, we shouldn't have been at all surprised that they had forgotten how to properly lip sync or, rather, perform. At least they still look adorably, even Scary.

  14. 14

    Honorable Mention

    So this whole list is about the people who use lip syncing and back tracks poorly, ripping off their audiences by faking their way through their sets.

    There is a way to use these tricks to make a statement however. I wanted to put a few of these examples up because they are amazing.

    First off is a classic from Nirvana. Back in 1991, on the British TV Show, Top of the Pops, Nirvana was scheduled to perform live.

    The producers of the show told them that they had to record a pre-track and then mime their performance during the taping. Kurt Cobain was not at all pleased with this, so in true form, he recorded his voice an octive below his normal singing voice. He also changed the top of the song to the lyrics "Load on drugs and kill your friends". During the performance, Cobain never even tried to look like he was doing any playing, instead choosing to look like the puppet he felt like.

    Finally, the last honorable mention goes to Muse. Like Nirvana before them, you don't ever want to mess with Muse when it comes to their performance. In the first part of the video they... well... I will let you watch and guess:

    Did you see what they did? Maybe? For those who didn't, let me give you a hint, the drummer is not the drummer and the singer is not the singer. That's right, they all switched places. The other parts of the video just showed how you never want to ever make them do playback, from pretending to acting like marionettes.

    So amazing.

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