October 24, 2004

Something Funny on SNL

In previous comments, Mike mentioned Jessica Ashlee Simpson’s WTF? moment in the musical guest segment on SNL last night.

If you missed it, through some screwup, Ms. Simpson’s lip synch track was not the one she expected. So, instead of performing, she danced around for a few seconds and then walked off stage. SNL cut to commercial.

Mistakes happen, but I found two things about this notable. First, why not just perform the song? Whatever happened to “the show must go on? Second, when she came out at the end of the show, she flat out blamed the bend. “My band played the wrong song.”

No, clearly there was some other screw up. Don’t blame the band. If it had been as simple as that (the whole band prepared to do one song and Ashlee out in left field) it shoudl have taken her a second or two to catch on and sing the song the band was playing.


Messenger Puppet blogged some links to the clip.

Clearly the music industry is in losing money because people pirate songs.

[Ryan corrected me. Somehow I can’t tell Ashlee and Jessica apart. No, it’s not because of any resemblance. It’s because I can’t muster the desire to care about telling them apart.]

Posted by James at October 24, 2004 2:54 PM
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ah yes. i also saw this poor, poor performance. but while jessica simpson has had many of her own WTF? moments, this one we cannot pin to her. it was actually Ashley Simpson, her sister, who was the "perfomer" last night. i agree with you, music piracy MUST be the reason all the artist can't make a decent album that people wanna buy.

Posted by: ryan at October 24, 2004 5:23 PM

Thanks for the correction, Ryan!

Posted by: James at October 24, 2004 5:55 PM

Well, see, there is no excuse for this. Hundreds of thoroughly stoned singers have dealt with this problem before. What's her excuse?

Posted by: Rui Campos at October 24, 2004 9:39 PM

I should have realized they were sisters. Two totally clueless white chick singers with the last name Simpson. What are the odds if genetics is not involved?

Also, if this was the band's fault, why did we hear vocals when the microphone was not up near her mouth?

Posted by: briwei at October 25, 2004 4:30 PM

The band actually tried to save her by switching to the song to match the vocals. But Ashlee was not able to keep up probably because of youth and the fact that her microphone was off.

In a way, I feel sorry for her, She's just a kid up there for her father and the record companies.

But, really. Where are the good acts? Where is the good music on SNL? Where is Mindy Smith, Rachel Yamagata, Joseph Arthur, Diana Krall... crap - Elvis Costello for that matter. How about Flaming Lips? Radiohead?

Why do I heve to watch Nelly and Kalise and Ashlee?


Posted by: James at October 25, 2004 5:16 PM

Because it is brought to you by Budweiser True music. Think Bud has a black eye over that? True lip synch is more like it! And what is so difficult about just performing live?

Posted by: briwei at October 25, 2004 7:03 PM

Well, if you saw Ashlee *really* perform live on the music awards show last night, you KNOW what's so difficult about just performing live.

She was bad. Really bad. Drunks on karaoke night bad. Worse than that. Unintentional yodeling. She pretended not to notice how bad she was, and then ran off the stage when she was done.

I don't care for Jessica Simpson, but she has a great voice. She can sing impromptu and without a band. (If only she would sing a real song.) I can see where someone thought it would be easy money to market her sister too. But I think the party's going to be over for her soon.

Posted by: Julie at October 26, 2004 9:08 AM

But wait! There's more!


She says she was hoarse from acid reflux and that's why she used the "backing track" on SNL. Okay, fine. I had a coworker who had bad acid reflux, and she was hoarse all the time. That's plausible.

And then she (Ashlee, not the coworker) got a cortisone shot from Wayne Newton's doctor so that she could sing on the awards show last night.

First of all, don't drag Wayne Newton into this sordid tale. Secondly, a cortisone shot can shrink swollen vocal cords, but it can't make you a good singer.

Posted by: Julie at October 26, 2004 9:19 AM

Why not pick some other talent for her future? Go with her strengths.

With the spin she put on the SNL screwup, I'm thinking that she could give Scott McClellan a run for his money if Bush is elected.

Posted by: James at October 26, 2004 9:22 AM

Ok, I am a 15 guitarist/musician in a highschool band with several years playing experience. Whenever hearing a song, I always think, "Who played what to get it to sound like that?" And after studying the ashlee simpson snl videos, a lot did not get it right when they said what happened.

To start, a tape is not what started off the "song" it was the drummer, putting out a simple beat. At this point he is playing the right song and things are going to plan.

But then, a tape comes in of Ashlee's voice singing the wrong song entirely, so the bass player goes to play along with this. Notice how at the beginning of the vocal tape it's really loud, then goes quiet?

That was because of:

1.the tech guy starting up the wrong vocal tape,

2. Ashlee’s going "What's happening?"

3. And, finaly the tech guy going, "Oh crap! The wrong song, now everyone knows she was lip-syncing it the first time around! I know! I'll turn it down just enough so it sounds like a backing track, then maybe Ashlee and the rest of the band will start playing along. Then it won't look as bad!”

But this is not what happened, because it would be impossible for the rest of the band to start playing along with the supposed “backing track” on the fly.

Also, Ashlee is to surprised to start singing along with the track on the fly. At this point, you can hear the drummer keep going with that simple beat, and see the bass player grab the volume knob and turn it down, because the taped vocals are fading away.

Just as you hear the vocals fade away, the guitarist starts playing the chords to the song that the tape started playing, and the rest of the band comes in (they are actually playing) I guess that they figured “what the hell, we’ll play it anyways!”

For some reason, Ashlee didn’t start when her band got around to it (after the tape played), so I have no pity for her, a real singer/musician could have come in when the band did, even if there was no vocal track backing her up because someone put in the wrong tape. You see, the reason why her voice sounds so good on tape is because they fixed it up in the recording studio with all of these effects like reverb, and double tracking to make it sound better.

Personally, I thought it sounded good as an instrumental, without those annoying lyrics getting in the way of the guitars

Anyways, that’s what REALLY happened.
(long enough comment, isn’t it?)

Posted by: scott at April 20, 2005 11:32 PM

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