Lip Syncing Gone Wrong: 10 of The Most Embarrassing Fake Performances in Pop History


It’s no secret that famous performers, particularly pop artists, lip-sync from time to time, and we don’t always hold it against them if they put up a good enough show. However, some people think it’s a much worse betrayal. While some have valid reasons, others have been doing it several times, and others have had their career investments cut short as a result. The moral of the story: avoid lip-syncing.

Britney Spears

Many times, Britney Spears has been a fave of lip-syncing rumors. Part of the reason why most people believe she lip-syncs is that the dance routines and maneuvers in the live performance may be tough to execute. She was caught on camera during her Las Vegas residency when she performed a new version of Perfume. When it was time for her to sing, the audience heard Sia instead of Spears. It may be awkward to some degree, but we still love her.


Milli Vanilli

This controversy shocked many. It turned out that the singers weren’t Fab Morvan and Rob Pilatus, but two unidentified artists. It sparked rumors, and the Grammys rescinded their Best New Artist credit as a result. They received a lot of flak and quickly became the poster for what not to do in the music industry. They’re still being talked about decades later.



Beyoncé’s voice is, without a doubt, incredible. Everyone can agree on that, right? She would earn her prominent degree if she couldn’t sing. When she sang the National Anthem during President Barack Obama’s Inauguration, fans noted that she was lip-syncing. Beyoncé admitted to lip-syncing, something she doesn’t generally do. She is an obsessive perfectionist, and she didn’t have enough time to rehearse, so she decided not to sing at all.

Red Hot Chili Peppers

When Red Hot Chili Peppers would play at the Super Bowl halftime show back in 2014, along with Bruno Mars as the primary act, fans were ecstatic. However, they forgot to plug in their instruments, and the audience fled in a daze. Flea quickly responded, stating that they were simulating all of the instrumentation with only live vocals. Although the producers had given them little chance, they believed that this performance was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that would pile up their career investments.



Muse, meanwhile, followed in Maiden’s footsteps by doing something similar on Italian television back in 2009. The trio switched instruments and vocal roles during their mimed performance on Quelli Che il Calcio. The hosts didn’t know much about the band, meaning that they were completely unaware of the planned trolling.

It was a significant deal for some because the Italian press accused Muse of insulting the show’s hosts. Maybe it’s a little harsh, but the interview that followed the performance is pure gold.

Ashlee Simpson

Ashlee Simpson made news all around the world. When it came time for her second song, her vocals for Pieces of Me began to play, revealing that she hadn’t been singing at all. Simpson started doing an uncomfortable hoedown before rushing off stage, unsure of what to do. At least we got her background voices to credit.

Whitney Houston

Singing the Star-Spangled Banner during a major sporting event is one of the highest accolades an American musician can achieve. There are many excellent interpretations of the anthem, but Whitney Houston’s version from the 1991 Super Bowl is a favorite. However, it turned out that this moving rendition was a studio recording with the entire orchestra. It didn’t matter, though, because that voice built an investment in the music world.


Johnny Rotten and Public Image LTD

Contrary to what you might assume from a list like this, this episode was a bit of a prank, mocking the whole intended impersonation thing.

In 1980, Johnny Rotten and his new group Public Image LTD decided to annoy the TV producers and presenters. They were supposed to simulate a performance on American Bandstand, but Johnny decided to make light of the situation and fool around instead of singing. He then went around the flooring and just had a good time.


Iron Maiden

Iron Maiden did something similar on German television a few years later, in 1986. The boys purposefully mimicked the performance of Wasted Years by switching instruments and simply goofing around. They had a clear message for Iron Maiden: never urge them to fake a performance.

Mariah Carey

Aren’t we all aware of Mariah Carey’s lip-sync mishap on New Year’s Eve 2016? She appeared on Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Year’s Eve With Ryan Seacrest. The song began, and the vocal track went wild. It messed up Carey’s lip-sync, as she never matched up with the audio. She attempted to locate her tune but was unsuccessful, exacerbating the issue. She was understandably outraged and embarrassed by the incident, given her notable degree.