By the time LeRoy Bell missed his cue last night during the group number, I had already figured out the Top 12 were lip syncing on last night’s X Factor results show. The vocals on the Dave Guetta tune “Without You” were just too perfect to be live.
And I laughed. Ha ha. They’re lip syncing! Well, except for Astro. He probably sang live because the producers knew that fast rap he did would be too difficult to fake. He messed up the words. The only real moment of the number.
But despite the fact that lip syncing is common on live show and in many performances of the National Anthem at sporting events, folks seem to freak out every time it happens…as if it never happened before.
There was so much commotion about last night’s performance, that FOX felt the need to issue an official statement
“All survival songs are performed live, with just a backing track. For the group ensemble performance, the vocals are pre-recorded to allow acts to concentrate on preparing for their own live competitive performances on Wednesdays — this is also no different to what other competition shows do for ensemble performances.”
I prefer the lead vocals on the group numbers, at least, be sung live. I actually like the very thing the producers are afraid of–something going wrong. Bad dancing, missed cues, forgotten words all add to the cheesy hilarity of a group number, which isn’t supposed to be all that serious to begin with.
But if it’s not? Eh. I’m not going to get worked up over performances that don’t affect the outcome of the show. And as far as the backing tracks, I totally get why Idol and X Factor would pre-record them. It would take too much rehearsal time to perfect them and–let’s get real–often the contestants don’t blend all that well together.
A real scandal would be if there was proof that a competition vocal performance was manipulated to sound better or worse. When something like that happens, alert me. I’ll happily follow and contribute to the news cycle in every way possible.
ETA: American Idol clarifies their stance on lip syncing to The Hollywood Reporter, in case you were wondering:
“American Idol does not lip-sync. All of our solo performances, both during competition and after the contestant has been eliminated, are sung live with no vocal background tracks. Our ensemble performances are sung live with a background chorus track. During ALL solo and ensemble performances, our band is live.”
Lead vocals on Idol group numbers WERE lip synced during the Ken Warwick era, Seasons 8 and 9. Nigel went back to live vocals when he returned to Idol as producer in Season 10.
But for now…lather, rinse, repeat. Until the next lip syncing “scandal” when we can do it All. Over. Again.