Lip Stink


They all allegedly lip-synch. It’s like finding out there’s no Santa Claus. Madonna, Britney, Beyoncé, and now Ashlee Simpson. I lie awake at night thinking about these moments.

Ashlee Simpson loses it on SNL

October 23, 2004

By now, clever explanations of the event are pointless. Simply put, this is hilarious stuff. Thank you, Ash. Can I call you Ash? You have reinvigorated a once funny television show and, along with Janet Jackson’s nipple, delivered the goods in a dwindling medium, live television. There are numerous links to this video.

Elton John slams Madonna

October 8, 2004

“Madonna, best fucking live act? Fuck off! Since when has lip-synching been live?” This is what Elton John tells Q Magazine after Madonna is nominated for best live act in the U.K. Elton doesn’t lip-synch at his concerts. Or choreograph dances inspired by kabbalah, for that matter.

Beyoncé defies nature

August 28, 2003

The audience sits transfixed as Beyoncé Knowles descends onto the stage upside-down and almost naked. As she begins her performance the vocal track sounds suspiciously pre-recorded. How can she run around the stage like that and still sing so perfectly? She’s not even out of breath. This is a travesty. This is tragic, this . . . wow, her breasts look amazing in that dress.

Paula Abdul flunky demands credit

August 12, 1993

In 1985, Yvette “Corvette” Marine replaces Ann “Cheri” Bailey in Rick James’s all-girl group project, the Mary Jane Girls. Each woman represents a character type. Yvette is the cute valley girl. The band breaks up in 1987 and Marine goes on to become back-up singer for Paula Abdul. In 1993 she sues Virgin Records for $3 million, claiming that she wasn’t credited for singing on several tracks from Abdul’s album, Forever Your Girl. The claim is rejected and Marine lends her talents to a group called Loud Sunday.

Milli Vanilli

February 27, 1990

“Musically, we are more talented than Paul McCartney. Mick Jagger, his lines are not clear. He don’t know how he should produce a sound. I’m the new modern rock and roll. I’m the new Elvis.” These are the words of Robert Pilatus, one-half of Milli Vanilli, in USA Today. Five years later, stripped of a Grammy for lip-synching over someone else’s vocals, Pilatus is in and out of rehab, attacking people with lampposts and breaking into cars. Then, on April 2, 1998, he kills himself.

Dick Clark’s asshole

March 5, 1980

“What can I expect from this asshole?” That is the question Dick Clark asks Larry White, then tour manager for PiL, before the band’s scheduled appearance on American Bandstand. When they do go onstage, John Lydon refuses to mouth the pre-recorded vocals, ending the long standing Bandstand lip-synch tradition. He then invites audience members onstage, and infuriates Clark by charging the host’s podium.