Quick Thoughts on Lip Syncing

My goodness, there has been such an uproar over the "news" that Beyonce was lip syncing the national anthem during the Presidential Inauguration earlier this week.  Many cried foul, and many cried "who cares?"  It's true that a lot of entertainers sing along to pre-recorded music during their live performances -- Whitney Houston did it during her famous Super Bowl appearance.  At a concert, if a lot of choreography is involved, it's sort of expected so that the vocals don't sound horrendous.  Yet, lip syncing is still a source of controversy, ending careers of pop stars caught in the act.  (Remember Ashley Simpson's Saturday Night Live nightmare?)

Some might argue, what's the big deal?  It's not like the Milli Vanilli scandal when Fab Morvan and Rob Pilatus didn't even record any of the original songs. There is, however, a sense of betrayal, of pulling the wool over the eyes (and ears) of fans.  Are we watching an acting performance or a singing performance? 

Live singing rarely can match the so-called "perfection" that results from hours, even days and weeks and months, in a recording studio.  Sometimes, with all the trickery of modern audio technology, it is actually impossible to replicate the sound one hears on a recorded track. 

Personally, I don't mind some back-up tracks to boost the quality of live vocal performances, but I do expect singers to actually sing if they're holding a microphone in hand and going through the motions in front of a live audience.  If it's revealed that they're lip syncing, it might not be the end of the world, but they should certainly be prepared for any embarrassment that comes their way.

Maybe they should just bring back that cheesy lip sync television show, Putting on the Hits? Plenty of today's pop stars have mastered lip syncing, transforming it into an artform, but for me and many others it's still a cop out.

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