While the jury is still out on the whole Beyonce Lip-SyncGate (we're still refusing to believe Queen Bey committed such musical treason), there are definitely a handful performances we've witnessed in the past that could have used the lip sync treatment. Whether you're singing at the Grammys (the biggest ceremony in the music industry), or performing on American Idol (where your voice is all that's keeping you in the competition), sometimes singing live just doesn't cut it. These stars may have beautiful voices and amazing musical talent, but for some reason, an odd performance gets away from them. Here's a few (unfortunately) memorable performances that would have been served better with the lip-sync treatment.
Train, "Hey Soul Sister" on the Today Show
Screeching vocals don't exactly float our boat. The recorded version is nice enough to listen to, Train should have just played that.
Selena Gomez and the Scene, "Love You Like a Love Song" on Good Morning America
Could Gomez not hear herself, or was she simply out of breath during her GMA performance? This does not sound like the catchy ear worm we love to find on the radio.
Katy Perry, "Firework" at the American Music Awards
Oof. Perry just could not hit those high notes... unfortunate, as they make up the entire song. Not only that, but she couldn't even get all the words out! Maybe this one is too difficult to sing live... ever.
Bob Dylan with Mumford & Sons and The Avett Brothers, 2011 Grammy Awards
Everyone was pretty taken aback when Dylan unveiled his newfound "old man voice" during this joint performance. Dylan's always had a pretty polarizing voice, but this is hardly the icon we know and love.
Kristy Lee Cook, "8 Days a Week" on American Idol
This poor Idol contestant relied a bit too much on her vibrato, and it came off as nerves. Not exactly a show stopping performance. There's a reason why she didn't win her season!
Black Eyed Peas, Super Bowl XLV Halftime Show
When a group's major hits are mostly autotuned, you can't be surprised by a lackluster live performance. And with the Peas penchant for jumping around, there's the extra problem of hearing them gasp for breath.
Taylor Swift and Stevie Nicks, "Rhiannon" at 2010 Grammy Awards
When contemporary star Swift paired with the legendary Nicks, what could have been a great duet came off as amateur hour. Sadly, young Swift couldn't quite harmonize with her onstage partner.
Music's Greats, "Across the Universe" at the Grammy Awards
So many musical styles all vying for the spotlight was just too overwhelming, not to mention a song choice that was already very stylized. What we wound up with was a performance that was messy and pretty all over the place.
Lana Del Ray, every performance ever (especially Saturday Night Live)
Oh, Lana, what can we say? You should stick to the studio. Always.
Kanye West, "Heartless" at the 2008 American Music Awards
We reiterate what we said about the Black Eyed Peas: when your hits are all computer edited and auto-tuned, singing live is not going to go over well.
[Photo Credit: Mark Wilson/Getty Images; NBC; Jeff Kravitz/Getty Images; Al Bello/Getty Images]
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David Mitchell's novel Cloud Atlas consists of six stories set in various periods between 1850 and a time far into Earth's post-apocalyptic future. Each segment lives on its own the previous first person account picked up and read by a character in its successor creating connective tissue between each moment in time. The various stories remain intact for Tom Tykwer's (Run Lola Run) Lana Wachowski's and Andy Wachowski's (The Matrix) film adaptation which debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival. The massive change comes from the interweaving of the book's parts into one three-hour saga — a move that elevates the material and transforms Cloud Atlas in to a work of epic proportions.
Don't be turned off by the runtime — Cloud Atlas moves at lightning pace as it cuts back and forth between its various threads: an American notary sailing the Pacific; a budding musician tasked with transcribing the hummings of an accomplished 1930's composer; a '70s-era investigatory journalist who uncovers a nefarious plot tied to the local nuclear power plant; a book publisher in 2012 who goes on the run from gangsters only to be incarcerated in a nursing home; Sonmi~451 a clone in Neo Seoul who takes on the oppressive government that enslaves her; and a primitive human from the future who teams with one of the few remaining technologically-advanced Earthlings in order to survive. Dense but so was the unfamiliar world of The Matrix. Cloud Atlas has more moving parts than the Wachowskis' seminal sci-fi flick but with additional ambition to boot. Every second is a sight to behold.
The members of the directing trio are known for their visual prowess but Cloud Atlas is a movie about juxtaposition. The art of editing is normally a seamless one — unless someone is really into the craft the cutting of a film is rarely a post-viewing talking point — but Cloud Atlas turns the editor into one of the cast members an obvious player who ties the film together with brilliant cross-cutting and overlapping dialogue. Timothy Cavendish the elderly publisher could be musing on his need to escape and the film will wander to the events of Sonmi~451 or the tortured music apprentice Robert Frobisher also feeling the impulse to run. The details of each world seep into one another but the real joy comes from watching each carefully selected scene fall into place. You never feel lost in Cloud Atlas even when Tykwer and the Wachowskis have infused three action sequences — a gritty car chase in the '70s a kinetic chase through Neo Seoul and a foot race through the forests of future millennia — into one extended set piece. This is a unified film with distinct parts echoing the themes of human interconnectivity.
The biggest treat is watching Cloud Atlas' ensemble tackle the diverse array of characters sprinkled into the stories. No film in recent memory has afforded a cast this type of opportunity yet another form of juxtaposition that wows. Within a few seconds Tom Hanks will go from near-neanderthal to British gangster to wily 19th century doctor. Halle Berry Hugh Grant Jim Sturgess Jim Broadbent Ben Whishaw Hugo Weaving and Susan Sarandon play the same game taking on roles of different sexes races and the like. (Weaving as an evil nurse returning to his Priscilla Queen of the Desert cross-dressing roots is mind-blowing.) The cast's dedication to inhabiting their roles on every level helps us quickly understand the worlds. We know it's Halle Berry behind the fair skinned wife of the lunatic composer but she's never playing Halle Berry. Even when the actors are playing variations on themselves they're glowing with the film's overall epic feel. Jim Broadbent's wickedly funny modern segment a Tykwer creation that packs a particularly German sense of humor is on a smaller scale than the rest of the film but the actor never dials it down. Every story character and scene in Cloud Atlas commits to a style. That diversity keeps the swirling maelstrom of a movie in check.
Cloud Atlas poses big questions without losing track of its human element the characters at the heart of each story. A slower moment or two may have helped the Wachowskis' and Tykwer's film to hit a powerful emotional chord but the finished product still proves mainstream movies can ask questions while laying over explosive action scenes. This year there won't be a bigger movie in terms of scope in terms of ideas and in terms of heart than Cloud Atlas.