Mariah Carey’s Lip-Sync Mess-Up

The singer did not end the year on a high note — but she's not alone in the slip-up category

As a performer in Times Square in New York City on New Year’s Eve, Mariah Carey experienced a lip-syncing snafu that is never fun for singers — or fans.

“I’m trying to be a good sport here,” she told the crowd as she fumbled a song and music kept playing in the background. “We’re missing some of these vocals, but it is what it is.”

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Carey’s spokeswoman, Nicole Perna, later blamed the lip-syncing issue on “technical difficulties,” though Carey also appeared to have trouble reaching certain notes while singing.

After trying to get the audience to finish the lyrics to her song “Emotion” and complaining there was no sound check, Carey stopped performing in the middle of “We Belong Together,” clearly struggling. With the illusion of a real performance long gone, she said, “It just don’t get any better.” Carey then left the stage.

Other snafus actually put Carey’s train wreck in a better light.

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“Sh** happens. Have a happy and healthy new year everybody! Here’s to making more headlines in 2017,” Carey tweeted later about what some fans on social media referred to as a “disaster.” Carey was performing for some 1 million people gathered to celebrate the New Year with the famous ball drop in Times Square. She was the headlining performer for “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve,” hosted by Ryan Seacrest.

Many performers have had troubled relationships with lip-syncing over the years. While it is more commonplace now, it was once a career killer. Always embarrassing when it goes wrong, lip-syncing is an art form today. Just look at Spike’s top-rated television series “Lip Sync Battle,” where celebrities, even singers, are invited to the stage to lip-sync to their favorite tunes.

Still, no matter how accepted it may be, lip-syncing is never something a performer wants to be caught doing. It’s downright embarrassing, as Carey’s recent flub proves. Hers isn’t the worst, though. Here’s a look at a few lip-syncing snafus that somehow put Carey’s train wreck of a performance in a better light.

Beyoncé: The one place where you likely don’t want to lip-sync is a presidential inauguration. However, Beyoncé did just that. After an awkward performance of the national anthem at the 2013 presidential inauguration, Beyoncé responded to allegations of lip-syncing. Her excuse? Cold weather. “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,” she said, adding, “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.”

Ashlee Simpson: If there is a horror story that should swear singers off lip-syncing forever, it’s Ashlee Simpson’s. As the musical guest on “Saturday Night Live” in a 2004 show, Simpson ended up messing up her song “Pieces of Me” and as the track kept playing, she decided the best way to cover up her mistake was to do an awkward jig of a dance and then wander offstage.

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Host Jude Law gave her a chance to explain herself at the end of the program where she said, “I feel so bad my band started playing the wrong song and I didn’t know what to do so I did a hoedown. I’m sorry!” said Simpson. The explanation didn’t help. The performance gained a lot of media attention and a lot of negative headlines. Simpson’s rise to the top was stalled dramatically, and her career has never quite been the same.

Milli Vanilli: The band, consisting of members Fab Morvan and Rob Pilatus, had another horror story for performers who dare to take lip-syncing too far. The duo topped charts with their 1989 release, “Girl You Know It’s True.” They even walked away with a Grammy for Best New Artist in 1990. Their success, however, ended as quickly as it began when Milli Vanilli’s Grammy was revoked that same year — something that has never been repeated with another artist. After they were caught lip-syncing at a 1989 performance, controversy began to swirl around the duo. One singer came forward, saying the Milli Vanilli duo didn’t even use their real voices on their albums but took them from other singers without credit.

Leave it to Justin Bieber to be caught lip-syncing in the most dramatic, and disgusting, fashion.

After pressure on Morvan and Pilatus to perform their own songs on the next record, the band’s producer, Frank Farian, revealed to reporters that the lip syncing and false presentation of vocals were all true. Fans were not happy. In a shock to the music industry, the band’s Grammy was revoked and fans created countless petitions against Milli Vanilli. The two renamed themselves over the years and tried releasing various tracks and albums with little success. A comeback album in 1998, “Back and in Attack,” remains unreleased — presumably to the death of Pilatus on the evening of the CD’s release.

The Milli Vanilli name remains synonymous with lip-syncing to this day. “Even Milli Vanilli is embarrassed by Mariah Carey’s debacle,” tweeted Jimmy Traina in response to the latest snafu.

Justin Bieber: Leave it to Bieber to be caught lip-syncing in the most dramatic, and disgusting, fashion. The singer began vomiting on stage during his 2012 “Believe” tour. The trouble was — music and lyrics kept playing while Bieber was “indisposed.”

Bieber later blamed the incident on bad milk, but never addressed the lip-syncing.

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