Paying lip service to great fakers

Girl at Olympics ceremony is just one of many who have been exposed as lip-syncers

August 13, 2008|By Jill Rosen | Jill Rosen,Sun reporter

The 800 drummers weren't the only highly synchronized performers at China's Olympic opening ceremony.

Less well-received: the lip-syncing pigtailed girl in the red dress.

A collective boo/hiss moved across the globe yesterday as word spread that the sweet-voiced cherub actually didn't sing the song spotlighted during Friday's event.

It was actually another, supposedly less photogenic, child.

According to the Associated Press, the government made the call to pull the chubby-faced tot with crooked teeth but an angelic voice and bring in the pixie ringer who became a national celebrity after the show.

Not the first case of lip-syncing, but possibly among the cruelest.

If there could be a mix tape of lip-syncing's greatest hits, awkwardly dubbed of course, it would have to include:

* Milli Vanilli: Possibly the most notorious modern lip-syncing case, the pop duo burned up the charts with its debut single, "Girl You Know It's True," and earned a Grammy in 1990 for Best New Artist. The jig was up later that year when during a live performance, the recording began to skip. The Grammy people snatched that statue right back.

* Ashlee Simpson: If you're caught, blame it on "acid reflux." That's what Jessica Simpson's younger sister did when confronted about using prerecorded music for a 2004 performance on Saturday Night Live, which is supposed to be, uh, live. On the show, her first number, "Pieces of Me," went off without a hitch but when she returned to the stage for a second number, "Pieces of Me" started playing again. Simpson later said that she had lost her voice due to complications from acid reflux.

* Natalie Wood: It's amazing to think that the girl named Maria wasn't actually singing her own parts in West Side Story. Someone else was feeling pretty. It was actually Marni Nixon, a lush songstress aptly known as "the voice of Hollywood." Nixon also filled in for Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady and Deborah Kerr in The King and I. Her name does not appear in the credits for any of those films.

* Partridge Family: If one is going to create a show all about a family that sings, wouldn't it be smart to cast people who actually can? Though Shirley Jones and David Cassidy could hold a tune, the rest of the 1970s family packed onto that painted bus was hopelessly lip-syncing. Danny Bonaduce, who at age 10 played Danny Partridge, couldn't even properly fake the ability to hold a guitar.

* C&C Music Factory: In the 1990s, the dance group took liberties when filming the video for its No. 1 hit "Everybody Dance Now." Though vocalist Martha Wash, a woman of size with a voice to match, sang the recorded version of the song, as far as the MTV set knew, the thinner Zelma Davis was the lead singer since she certainly appeared that way in the video.

* Britney Spears: Last year, months before the debacle at MTV's Video Music Awards that was supposed to have been her comeback, Spears wasn't exactly giving her vocal cords a workout at a series of much-hyped House of Blues shows. As the Orange County Register put it after one act in Anaheim, Calif., "Most of the time, Spears didn't even try to hide the fact that she was faking it, smacking her gum like a cow chewing its cud instead of mouthing words."

No moving lips? Even Milli Vanilli wouldn't stoop that low.

jill.rosen@baltsun.com

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