To Sync or Sing? That is the Question.

When Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton and others in their wavelength of talent are caught lip-syncing instead of singing live, it’s hardly a surprise. In fact, sometimes it’s a relief. Not many people I know are fans of chronic ear-bleeds and scream-induced migraines.

However, it becomes a bit of a revelation when talented, highly admired artists who are paid huge sums of money at a time to carry out their duty of singing live fail to perform.

World renowned singing sensation Beyoncé caused controversy when she lip-synced her way through the American national anthem during President Obama’s inauguration ceremony at the end of last month. At first the diva received overwhelming praise for her rendition of The Star Spangled Banner, with US gossip website TMZ going as far as to call it “f*cking amazing”. It was only on closer inspection when it was realised the brass band she was accompanying were not actually playing their instruments that it became obvious the Queen Bey of the music industry had in fact mimed her way through the whole performance.

The scandal caused uproar on social media sites such as Twitter, and many people even began doubting the Destiny’s Child singer’s capability to sing live at big events – a huge blow to the popstar who was gearing up for the biggest performance of her career, Sunday’s Halftime Show at the American Super Bowl.

Beyoncé defended herself at a press conference last week, which she began by singing the American National Anthem a cappella – as you do – by calling herself a “perfectionist”. She said she wanted her performance for Barack Obama to be flawless and various conditions such as cold weather and lack of time to practice led to her decision to use a pre-recorded track. “I practice until my feet bleed and I did not have time to rehearse with the orchestra. Due to no proper sound check I did not feel comfortable taking a risk.” The wife of rapper Jay-Z went on to say that the performance was supposed to be about the President and she was very proud of the decision she made.

Though few in the public eye stand anywhere near Beyoncé on the pedestal of fame and fortune she is definitely not alone in the red-faced caught-in-the-act miming hall of shame. Here are a selection of performers who could no doubt sympathize with the All The Single Ladies songstress.

Columbian popstar Shakira performed at 2010’s World Cup Closing Ceremony in Africa and though her Hips Can’t Lie, her lips certainly can. (Sorry, that was too good/cheesy an opportunity to miss..) After mere seconds of her performance it was blatantly obvious that she was miming her way through her popular track, “She Wolf”. In fairness her constant booty-shaking did keep a vast number of eyes off her disastrous lip syncing, but sadly not enough and her performance was written off as nothing but a Beautiful Lie. God, it’s just too easy sometimes.

Britney Spears blew what was billed to be her big comeback when she stumbled her way through a performance of “Womanizer” on ITV’s The X Factor in 2008. Following a few years of what can only be described as “psycho Britney”, fans were eager to see the American starlet redeem herself as the Princess of Pop. Unfortunately BritBrit messed up spectacularly with lacklustre dance moves and completely out of time miming. Not one to learn from her mistakes, Oops she went and did it again the following year infuriating Australian concert goers by poorly miming her way through her Circus tour causing mass walkouts and huge demands for refunds.

OK, so she hardly has a glowing record of making the hairs on the back of your neck stand up with her live singing, but Cheryl Cole hit an all time low with her most out of ‘Toon’ performance yet on last year’s Stand Up To Cancer charity show. The Geordie singer’s microphone apparently ‘failed’ at the start of her performance despite viewers hearing her clearly whispering along to her hit track, Call My Name. The blame being adequately placed on an inanimate piece of technology led many to believe that she had in fact planned on miming to a pre-recorded track that the silly old sound technicians forgot to turn on. Scarlet for ya Chezza, no more miming Aloud, y’hear?

Mariah Carey quickly jumped to defend her fellow American warbler Beyoncé after inauguration-mime-gate. Multi-million album seller Carey stated that she completely understood the pressure Queen Bey was under and how not having enough rehearsal time with a backing band can throw a performance completely off skelter. This may have been because Mrs Nick Cannon experienced a red-cheeked moment herself on Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway in 2008. The high-pitched screamer, sorry singer, was revealed to be miming when she failed to lift her mic to her mouth on time for a high note. Whoopsy. Mariah had previously defended singers who mime while carrying out complicated dance routines, saying it is next to impossible to do both at the same time. Funny how during this disastrous performance the most exertion Carey carried out was lifting her hand in order to fix her hair. One of the biggest divas of our time, LOL.

Basically, Beyoncé is far from alone in her embarrassment over last month’s inauguration ceremony performance. To be fair the backing track she sang over was all her own recording and knocked multiple other female singers off the talent scale, regardless. However, I think this may mean we should all feel less amateur and super more talented when kicking absolute arse in SingStar at gaff parties. Sure that’s basically what the majority of this day and age’s “popstars” are making millions for. Karaoke, anyone?

Megan Ecock

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