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“Idol” lip-synching controversy: how bad is it?

March 27, 2009

USA/“American Idol” bid an unsurprising farewell to Texan Michael Sarver on Thursday night, but what might have surprised fans of the popular singing competition this week was the revelation that their Idols lip-synch during their group numbers.

The admission by an “Idol” spokesman, which first appeared in a story in the New York Times on Wednesday, was sure to leave some die-hard fans scratching their heads. Isn’t this show, after all, all about the singing? And if it’s okay in the group numbers, will it one day be okay in the individual performances?

Or, are our poor Idols so overworked with rehearsals, trips to Motown, Ford commercial shoots and meetings with celebrity mentors that they can be let off the hook for a bit of singing over pre-recorded tracks? After all, the group numbers are widely regarded as little more than filler during the hour-long elimination shows and are arguably among the series’ least enthralling segments.

The contestants appeared to sing along to a recorded track again during their group “Motown medley” on Thursday, with some words seeming to not quite match up.

But lip-synching or live singing, one thing is certain: Sarver won’t be doing either on “Idol” anymore. Judge Simon Cowell effectively sealed his fate when he told Sarver on Wednesday that he had no chance of winning the competition. So, a rather unsurprising elimination, yes. But who could face the chopping block next? And will the lip-synching controversy force a move to live performances for the group numbers?


Anyone who has been in the audience at an American Idol broadcast knows that the singing for the group numbers was pre-recorded. So, it was hardly a secret. I don’t like the fact that they do it, but I understand their reasons.

Posted by Ralph | Report as abusive

The Wall street meltdown, Bernie Madoff, the goverment torturing prisoners, a bogus war in Iraq were warning signs but lip-synching on Idol is the strongest proof yet that we are a culture in moral decline. innit?

Posted by Rara Reitaard | Report as abusive

With the lip-synching on a contest about singing what is next? Scott getting out of the drivers seat on the next set of Ford commercials.


Ooooo. Big surprise. You didn’t even have to be in the audience to figure that out. I figured it out 4 seasons ago at home when I started to pay attention to it.

Posted by Jason | Report as abusive

We have people losing jobs, a President who thinks we are in a terrible economical situation, although we are not so bad off that he is not able to have a party at our White House every Wednesday. And we need to talk about something that has been happening for years. You people on the news websites need to look at the real problems in this country to cry about, rather than a bunch of kids who lip sync an opening song. Get a brain.


they should not be doing the lip sync thing. How disappointing


I don’t understand the group performance. This is NOT an audition to sing in a group! Those are not the skills America is judging them on and it is a waste of time. That could be a whole new show….groups….that actually write ORIGINAL music so we don’t have to here the judges tear about each idol for “NOT MAKING IT ORIGINAL” or for making a song “TOO DIFFERENT”. AND – No more group lip sync! That is NOT talent!

Posted by Connie | Report as abusive

I don’t think people really care about the group singing. It’s just a production and not representative of their talent.


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