Lip-syncing: An Unnecessary Evil

By Lis Lewis

There has been a lot of press about the fact that artists lip-synched at the BET Awards show. The fans are disappointed and other artists are disapproving. So am I. Why sing to a recorded performance when there’s an audience hoping to hear an impassioned LIVE version of your song? It’s cheating. I understand it’s risky – you might miss a note or make a sound you didn’t intend. But the audience wants to get to know you, not hear the record they already have at home. If the song is too high, change the key. If the melody is too demanding, simplify it. But at least sing. We buy your music because we love the way you sing; that’s why we go to your shows (or watch you on TV) – we want to hear you. It should feel immediate and inspired, not phony.

The performances that were live – Miguel (of course), Charlie Wilson, Justin Timberlake, Robin Thicke, India Arie – were moving, exciting and electric. JT was playful, changing the melody and improvising with the other artists he performed with. India Arie played guitar and sang with authenticity. Miguel showed off his range and flexibility singing not once but three times with three different artists. It was so exciting to hear the great vocal variety he brings to his shows along with his sexy physicality. I’m hoping that other artists will take their cue from them and work hard to perfect a live, real vocal performance.

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