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‘Idol’ Lip Syncing Should Come as No Surprise

Is is really that big of a surprise to anyone that the group numbers on "Idol" are prerecorded? The thought never crossed my mind until last week, when the wannabes were racing all around the stage — They’re downstage! Stage left! Back to centerstage! — with perfect vocals and no hint of breathlessness. It’s true, […]

Is is really that big of a surprise to anyone that the group numbers on "Idol" are prerecorded? The thought never crossed my mind until last week, when the wannabes were racing all around the stage — They’re downstage! Stage left! Back to centerstage! — with perfect vocals and no hint of breathlessness. It’s true, though, "Idol idealists."

A spokesman confirmed last week that "due to extensive choreography and to balance their voices with open mics against a screaming audience, the Idols do sing along to their own prerecorded vocal track during the group performances only."

The cheesy Up With People (look it up if you’re not familiar) group numbers have become a staple of the elimination shows. Those numbers have the Idols executing fairly manageable choreography while singing in perfect harmony. But let me tell you, I was actually in Up With People and, cheesy as it was, even we didn’t lip sync.

I guess the show really is preparing the kids for a career in the pop music industry. I mean, look at Britney. Her "Circus" tour is selling out stadiums; in fact, I’m going next month. But I know that what I’m getting for my $150 ticket is a "show," not live singing. Does it bother me that she won’t be singing? Not really. Is that messed up? Absolutely. I would rather hear tracks where they have produced the hell out of her than hear her actual voice — scary! Britney is not a singer but I wouldn’t wanna miss her comeback or another potential breakdown.

The difference with the Idols is that they are supposed to be singers. Megan Joy Corkrey aside, isn’t it foremost a singing competition?

I don’t fault the contestants; they are just doing what the producers tell them and what they’ve seen other stars do for years. It is insulting to the audience’s intelligence, though, for producers to continue this as if we can’t tell the difference, just as it was insulting when Beyonce did the same thing at the Oscars.

I am waiting on pins and needles to see what tonight’s group number will look and sound like in light of this revealation. Lots of running around with panting heard through the speakers? Or excellent vocals delivered from stationary positions? Most likely it will be something in the middle, as Motown has a lot of "vamp" moves.

Yes, time must be filled in an entertaining way. But get the guest performers to do another number or — how ‘bout this? – cut the results show to 30 minutes.