With fans complaining about Justin Bieber’s lip-syncing stunt, we see if the outrage was justified at all...
The much-hyped Justin Bieber concert in Mumbai is over and the singer seems to have left his die-hard fans high and dry. After having purchased tickets for exorbitant amounts of Rs 50,000 and Rs 75,000, the waiting crowds were greeted with Bieber dressed in basketball shorts and a t-shirt, lip-syncing to his own songs — and that too rather shoddily.
Understandably, fans grumbled on social networking websites, but the question is, why single out Bieber? From Beyoncé to Ashlee Simpson to Muse and Victoria Beckham; lip-syncing in live performances isn’t an anomaly. So if Justin were guilty as charged, he certainly wouldn’t be alone.
Today, it is common for acts to ‘sing’ over pre-recorded tracks — especially at large live events where acoustics can be challenging to control, feels singer and performer Neha Bhasin. A lot of times, artistes do use backup vocals to their songs, and there is nothing wrong with it, she says, “No one goes on to sing the full two-hour long concert without backup vocals. I’ve attended a concert by Beyoncé, and there was a healthy amount of lip-syncing. It is an established fact that Britney Spears lip-syncs in most of her concerts and that her fans are just there to watch her perform; so was the case with Michael Jackson. Unless it’s a completely acoustic performance like Adele does, where she is just sitting and singing, it is not possible to have the whole concert live.”
Having said that, keeping your fans in the loop is an important point that artistes should note, warns Neha, “It is important to let the fans know what they are going to expect, so that they don’t feel cheated, because if it is a live concert, they will expect the singer to sing,” she says.
Sahil Makhija, the lead vocalist of city-based death metal band Demonic Resurrection feels that Justin Bieber is being singled out because of the scale of the event, “It (the outrage) is because so much investment had gone into it, and many had paid so much for it. I am unaware of who is actually complaining. I haven’t seen actual Justin Beiber fans complaining. During concerts, artistes require immense stamina to maintain their energy levels and many are unable to do it. Especially in pop concerts, the energy required is even greater, as these types of concerts are all about song and dance,” he says.
Justin is arguably, the biggest social-media-pop-star in the world, the first ‘YouTube sensation’ as it were, however, it’s time to stop confusing fame with talent asserts singer Manasi Scott, “I feel a stage is a place you earn, because you are good live. Unfortunately, in this particular concert, he just couldn’t bring it and whether that was because he was lip-syncing or plain disinterested just made the whole experience rather blah!”
The teenage boys around us at the concert, most of whom have already won many stage medals for singing and music were sorely disappointed.”
Popular Bollywood singer Ash King admits that the show must’ve not lived up to the expectations but there is still a lot that India needs to learn. “The whole purpose of having a concert of that stature in India was to learn the technicalities, the way a concert is organised and putting up a performance. Who would’ve paid Rs 45,000 for a live concert by Arijit Singh or A.R. Rahman for that matter? We need to learn and understand rather than corner him for something, which is so common. I admit he might not be a musical genius – but there is quality in the kind of work he does and that’s the reason he is what he is today be it in terms of mixing, instrumentation and performance,” he says.
The lip-syncers squad
As Ashlee Simpson was all set to sing Autobiography on Saturday Night Live in 2004, the speaker started to play Pieces of Me, leaving the singer red faced as her lips refused to move.
At Britney Spears’ 2007 VMA performance, she seemed to sleepwalk through her routine, flailing her arms and failing to sync her lips.
Lohan performed her single Rumours on Good Morning America and for the first half of the song, she dazzled. Then at the two-minute mark, she stopped singing while the song played in the background.
In 2013, she sang the National Anthem at President Barack Obama’s inauguration. Beyoncé stated she used a pre-recorded track as she had missed rehearsals and didn’t feel comfortable singing live without practice.
— Inputs by Meenketan Jha