8 Awkward Lip Sync Fails, From Mariah Carey to Garth Brooks (Videos)
Sometimes lip sync is a necessary evil. Other times, it leads to total chaos.
Jeremy Fuster | January 4, 2017 @ 7:59 AM
Last Updated: November 9, 2017 @ 5:32 PM
Whether we like it or not -- safe to say most of us do not -- lip syncing is a common practice for singers during live televised performances. For the producers of those shows, it helps make running the show go more smoothly. But as Mariah Carey discovered, weird things can happen when things get out of sync.
Before New Years' Eve 2016, arguably the most infamous lip-sync slip came in 1989, when the R&B duo Milli Vanilli bolted off the stage during an MTV performance after the track they were miming to began skipping. Soon after, the LA Times revealed that all of Milli Vanilli's work was actually the vocals of other artists.
In 2004, Ashlee Simpson had the most awkward performance in "Saturday Night Live" history. During the second musical segment of the show, a track for a song Simpson had performed earlier in the night played over the speakers. The flub exposed that Simpson was lip syncing -- something she later claimed was an emergency decision due to acid reflux -- leaving the vocalist to do an awkward jig and walk off the stage.
Some artists hate lip syncing so much they can't bear it. One such group is the heavy metal band Iron Maiden, who during a performance of their song "Wasted Years" in 1986, decided they weren't even going to try to pretend they were actually playing their instruments, with vocalist Bruce Dickinson swapping guitars with his bandmates and running to the drum kit to do a duet with drummer Nicko McBrain.
But that's nothing compared to the chaos Johnny Rotten pulled when his post-Sex Pistols band, Public Image LTD, was invited to perform on "American Bandstand" in 1980. At least Dickinson held a microphone at some point. Rotten just wandered through the audience before inviting them up onto the stage for an impromptu party. On the bright side, it gave Dick Clark a chance to show what a true professional he is.
One of the most common places for producers to use lip syncing is the Super Bowl, but it was controversial the first time such practices were revealed. In 1991, tabloid rumors began circulating that Whitney Houston's famous performance of the national anthem had been pre-recorded prior to the game. The producers confirmed this, saying that Houston was actually singing, but into a dead mic. This was done to prevent any technical problems from ruining the anthem.
Preventing glitches was also the reason why Beyonce lip synced the National Anthem during the presidential inauguration in 2013. But when news of the lip syncing reached the conservative blogosphere, Beyonce decided to nip it in the bud by coming clean at a press conference...and then letting loose a surprise performance of "The Star-Spangled Banner" for the media to prove she could do it.
A lip sync collection cannot be complete without a nod from "Lip Sync Battle." Even on a show where the practice is fully acknowledged and embraced, Mike Tyson found a way to make it weird by abandoning any attempt to mouth the words to "Push It" and instead breaking out into an old man dance for the ages.
Garth Brooks won Entertainer of the Year at the 2017 CMA Awards, but most will remember that night for when he decided just before showtime to lip-sync his performance on the show. Fans caught on quickly and weren't happy.