One thing a good old-fashioned live awards show will do is give the music consumer glimpses into just what a sham a lot of popular music is. In the hustle and bustle, backbones are exposed between the cracks in the facade to those that pay close attention.
Take for example last night’s 2011 CMA Awards. During Martina McBride‘s rendition of her mawkish, objectionably-sentimental Cancer song “I’m Gonna Love You Through It,” three times during the performance, you could clearly see a teleprompter flashing words in Martina’s direction, for this song that’s supposed to come from inspiration, and be sung from the heart, before flashing out quickly, illustrating culpability from the show’s producer’s that they knew showing a teleprompter on camera would not give a good impression.
Watch at 1:07, 1:30, & 3:00 in the video below.
Whether Martina actually needed the teleprompter or not, I don’t know, but I have no doubt she was actually singing the song live. The same cannot be said for American Idol’s reigning champion and Alfred E. Neuman look-alike Scotty McCreery. During his abridged performance of the song ‘Walk In The Country” from his new album Clear As Day, he was clearly lip syncing. I noticed it immediately as he started the performance. He would lip sync during the verses, and in between, and at the end of the performance, his microphone was cut on so he could speak or shout.
Unfortunately there are no good videos of the performance at the moment, and the lip syncing may be the reason for that.
I was finally sent a video that has been confirmed on two different computers to have the audio and video synced up. The quality is not perfect, but it is better than the other two videos out there, and will help folks make their own decision. Pay attention to the first segment, where the camera is isolated on Scotty. This is where I first noticed the lip sync, as in my opinion, his facial movements do not sync up with the lyrics. Then pay special attention at 00:37, where Scotty pulls the microphone away while vocals can still be heard, and at 00:59, where his vocals clearly change, the backing tracks falls out, and Scotty’s voice sounds “live” in the performance for the first time.
For an even clearer video, you can try using this link.
Scotty was also clearly caught lip syncing a couple of weeks later at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Scotty McCreery offered up the only obvious lip synced performance of the night. With the over-production and intense interest in award shows, you might think lip syncing would be more commonplace. But it tends to be pretty rare, seen as a stigma in a situation where top tier talent is supposed to be showcased. Having said that, some artists, especially if they are up-and-coming, can be forced into plip-syncing by producers or their record label. What makes this offense even worse is that Scotty McCreery is an American Idol alum. It’s been popular lately to say that a lot of pop stars would not be able to make it on talent contest shows like Idol, because they are not good enough.
As I said when I welcomed Scotty McCreery to country:
In an ironic symptom of the current state of country music, teeming masses of 14-year-old glitter-faced girls high on Spree and voting en masse on cell phones seem to be a better judge of talent than boardrooms full of business and marketing majors. Look at Carrie Underwood; she’s kept her nose pretty clean with me. So American Idol or not, I promise I will judge you on your own merit.
Scotty’s lip sync performance also comes just days after Idol’s rival talent show “The X Factor” was caught red handed using lip syncing and backing tracks with one of their contestant’s, Leroy Bell. All of a sudden, the facade that these reality show stars are the real deal, put through even more rigorous trials than real stars, is starting to crumble.
As for Scotty McCreery, I think it is perfectly legitimate for McCreery fans to ask if maybe some of the performances that won him American Idol’s top spot were lip synced as well.