Our Five Favorite Infamous Lip-Syncing Disasters

Sometimes faking it just isn’t worth it.

Lip Sync Battle, a show born from an incredibly popular Tonight Show feature-turned-viral video sensation (this is how the TV sausage gets made now, people) premieres on Spike tonight. While this will certainly be a celebrity-packed extravaganza that the whole family can enjoy, we at Maxim look back fondly at a time when lip-syncing was not a skill to be enjoyed by millions, but a practice rooted in deep shame and subsequent public humiliation. Here are our five favorite lip syncing disasters:

1. Milli Vanilli, MTV live performance, 1989

The most infamous lip-syncing kerfuffle of all, their faked performance on MTV only opened a bigger can of worms: Turns out they hadn’t even sung on their debut album. For shame, Milli Vanilli. We never looked at your beautiful dreads the same way.

2. Beyoncé, The 2013 Inauguration

Beyoncé lip-synced at President Obama’s 2013 inauguration, then responded to the allegations with: “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. It was about the president and the inauguration, and I wanted to make him and my country proud, so I decided to sing along with my pre-recorded track, which is very common in the music industry. And I’m very proud of my performance.” And that gracefulness is why she’s always on top.


3. Ashlee Simpson, Saturday Night Live, 2004

Possibly the most painful to watch in the bunch, Ashlee Simpson went to perform her second song of the night as the musical guest on Saturday Night Live, only to have the wrong one start. We don’t know which is worse: The leprechaun jig she performed when she got caught, or that she tried to blame it on acid reflux afterwards.

4. Britney Spears, 2007 VMAs

Poor Britney. She opened the 2007 VMAs with obvious lip-syncing and half-asleep dancing. This embarrassing performance coincided with the time she was having severe personal troubles, but she’s doing quite well for herself now.


5. 50 Cent, 2007 BET Awards

Ah, 2007. The year of the sloppy awards show lip-sync. 50 Cent’s performance of “Amusement Park” didn’t fool anyone, but, life goes on.