Universal Pictures via Everett Collection
There are some actors that we love to hear sing. In fact, we've compiled a list of a few performers' voices that we can't get enough of. Then there are others that really just shouldn't be given the opportunity to sing on screen. Some of them are truly terrible and some others are just misguided, but here's our look at the worst singing performances in movies.
Pierce Brosnan, Mamma Mia!
There's a reason that they used to dub actors' singing voices in musicals (Hello, Marnie Nixon!), and Brosnan is the poster child for revisiting the practice. He looks terrific in the Mediterranean locales and linen suits of Mamma Mia!, but his singing is bad enough that it almost deserves its own separate category.
Russell Crowe, Les Miserables
It's hard to know exactly what the producers were thinking when they cast Crowe in Les Miz, beyond just that he sort of looks right for the role of Inspector Javert. He certainly doesn’t sound right. Most of the rest of the cast can legitimately sing, so tossing the Gladiator star into the mix was all the more jarring.
Johnny Depp, Sweeney Todd
There are actually worse vocal performances in Tim Burton's film about the "Demon Barber of Fleet Street"… Alan Rickman and Helena Bonham Carter to name two. The issue with Depp's singing is that he can't seem to figure out what to do with his accent. Sometimes it's there, sometimes it's not, and sometimes it morphs into a little bit of Keith Richards/Jack Sparrow.
Alec Baldwin, Rock of Ages, or...
...Tom Cruise, Rock of Ages
We tried to pick which was worse… Baldwin singing "I Can't Fight This Feeling" with Russell Brand or Cruise singing "I Want to Know What Love Is" with Malin Akerman. There was no consensus since they're both about as bad as anything you'll ever see in a movie musical. Feel free to watch them and see if you can decide... if you can make it all the way through either one.
Drew Barrymore, Music and Lyrics
We love Barrymore, really we do. She's adorable and sweet and we like having her around. It's just that her voice is a little too thin for her to be singing on camera. We thought so in Woody Allen's Everyone Says I Love You and we thought the same thing in her rom-com with Hugh Grant.
Michael Caine, The Muppet Christmas Carol
Okay, so it's a Muppets movie, we get it. Kermit and Miss Piggy aren't the best singers either. But both Tina Fey and Amy Adams have proven that just because you're surrounded by felt doesn't mean that you have to sing poorly. In the grand tradition of British stage actors, Caine just kind of talks his way through his singing parts. Not all traditions are good.
Cameron Diaz, My Best Friend's Wedding
Yes, the script called for her to be intentionally bad… and, by that standard, this is a dynamite performance. You know that you're in a rom-com when the crowd at a karaoke place starts going nuts for someone butchering a Dusty Springfield song.
Edward Norton, Everyone Says I Love You
This is kind of a shame, because it's clear that Norton really enjoys singing. He tosses himself into the musical performance with gusto, treating it like it's the prison cell scene from Primal Fear… which is what makes him such a good actor. It just doesn't make him a good singer. Based on Keeping the Faith and his Motorola commercial, however, it does seem like he'd be more fun at a karaoke bar than Diaz.
Adam Sandler, The Wedding Singer
Here's the mistake that a lot of people make… just because Sandler sings a lot doesn't mean that he's a good singer. We admire the fact that he likes to do it and we laughed at "The Turkey Song" and "The Hanukkah Song" on Saturday Night Live, same as everyone else… but there are limits to how much of Sandler's man-child voice that we can take. He is, however, welcome to continue serenading Barrymore once every 10 years as he did recently on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. Sometimes even bad singing is sweet.
In a nice bit of stunt casting, Prince appeared on the post-Super Bowl episode of New Girl. The story saw The Purple One invitings Zooey Deschanel's Jess and Hannah Simone's Cece to a party at his mansion. According to the show's producers, Prince is such a fan of the show that he contacted them about being included in an episode.
He's certainly not the first music industry icon to show up on a scripted television show, but he might be one of the most unexpected. Having someone of Prince's stature cast himself in a guest spot on a sitcom opens the doors for other legends to jump into parts on the small screen. Here's our wish list pairing other musical royalty with the TV show that we'd like to see them pop up on.
Bruce Springsteen, The Good WifeThe show featured some of The Boss' new music on its January 12 episode in an effort to promote Springsteen's latest release. Know what works even better to promote your music? A real live appearance. Springsteen has been goofing off with Jimmy Fallon recently, so he's not as averse to putting himself out there as he used to be. Springsteen could easily show up in a story line protesting Chris Noth's Peter Florrick's policies as governor… and maybe share a moment with Julianna Margulies' Alicia.
Beyoncé, ScandalKerry Washington's Olivia Pope doesn't have many female friends — or really friends at all — as she manages one crisis or another for her D.C. clientele, so it might be nice to have one of her childhood friends drop in on her. Bey has acted before, most notably in Austin Powers in Goldmember, so we know that she can handle more than just a quick walk-on. Give Mrs. Carter and Washington some ample screen time together and it might be the most glamorous match-up since Dynasty went off the air.
Bono, Parks and RecreationGranted, this might not have been on this list before Amy Poehler decided to make out with the U2 front man after winning her Golden Globe… but now that we've seen that, how can you not want more? Plus, just the idea of Bono being stuck in Indiana is funny. Have his limo break down in Pawnee, let Poehler's Leslie Knope try to recruit him for some cause, and if they happen to end up making out, well, there's nothing wrong with that.
Lady Gaga, GleeShe's hosted Saturday Night Live and joined the Muppets for a holiday special, so Lady Gaga has done her fair share of small screen work. Glee co-creator Ryan Murphy has repeatedly shown how much of a fan of her music he is. With ratings declining for the show, it would be a boon to have Gaga appear as a rival glee club coach and torment Matthew Morrison's Will Schuester.
Justin Bieber, 2 Broke Girls
The kid needs to change his image, that part cannot be denied. When Britney Spears needed some good pub, she did an appearance on How I Met Your Mother. When Miley Cyrus was transitioning to her sexed-up adulthood, she did a stint on Two and a Half Men. Biebs needs to be seen making fun of his image and his missteps. There are worse ways to start the repair work than by taking a tongue lashing from Kat Dennings' Max.
It was announced recently that Christine McVie was reuniting with her bandmates in Fleetwood Mac after leaving the group in 1998. Fans can now be treated again to the group's Rumours-era lineup, with McVie taking back over vocals on her hits like "You Make Loving Fun" and "Hold Me."
With so many musicians cashing in on the money that can be made by going out on the road with a classic edition of their band, it's become hard to find acts that people clamor to have back together. Hard, but not impossible. Here are some artists that we'd like to see back in the band.
Slash, Guns N' Roses
Granted, Axl Rose is a nut-job and a major pain in the tuchus. Still, the demand for a tour featuring Rose, Slash, and the rest of the original lineup of GNR would be unbelievable and the group's core audience is now old enough to afford the ticket prices. If Don Henley, Glenn Frey and the other Eagles can spend years on the road taking separate busses and not speaking to each other, than there has to be a way for Axl and Slash to play nice long enough to cash in.
Beyoncé, Destiny's Child
Beyoncé certainly doesn't need to do anything that she doesn't want to do. Let's face it; Mrs. Carter has the entire world at her disposal. But, here's the thing, she's still friends with Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams, as evidenced by the recent photos of the three band members together at little Blue's birthday party. Beyoncé just released a 14-track "visual album" that nobody knew about in advance. If she's got that kind of time, then surely there's some extra to lay down some new DC material.
Roger Waters, Pink Floyd
Every subsequent generation has its own Floyd experience, whether it's watching late-night showings of The Wall or synching up Dark Side of the Moon with The Wizard of Oz. Waters is a creative genius, and notoriously difficult to work with. He's also 70 years old. Waters and the other surviving Floyd members (David Gilmour and Nick Mason) have done some one-off shows over the years, but it's not too late to give those younger fans one more chance to see one of Floyd's legendary live shows.
Steve Perry, Journey
There have been rumors for a long time that Perry's voice isn't what it used to be, which is why the singer hasn't released any new solo material in nearly 20 years. Perry's camp has denied that there is anything wrong with his voice, but even if there is a vocal issue, a reunion is still eminently doable. Arnel Pineda, the current lead singer of the band, has been a nice story, so keep him around to help supplement Perry. It's a little late to cash in on the hype that Glee created, but the band still might actually be more popular now than they were in their '80s heyday.
Dennis DeYoung, Styx
At the very least, this one would make Adam Sandler, an unabashed fan of the "Mr. Roboto" group, happy. DeYoung, who handled vocals on most of the band's biggest hits like "The Best of Times" and "Come Sail Away," has continued to perform Styx material in his shows and the other members of the group have long been on the fair and festival circuit. Sure, DeYoung sued the others at one time over the use of the band's name, but lawsuits are as much a part of the music industry as guitars. A reunion would at least upgrade them to the top county fairs in the country.