If Ashlee Simpson’s stomach was upset Saturday night, imagine how she’s feeling now. Busted for a “Saturday Night Live” lip-synch gone awry, her manager-father said today (Oct. 25) his 19-year-old daughter used the extra help because acid reflux disease had made her voice hoarse.
“Just like any artist in America, she has a backing track that she pushes so you don’t have to hear her croak through a song on national television,” Joe Simpson told Ryan Seacrest on Los Angeles radio station KIIS-FM. “No one wants to hear that.”
He insisted it would be Ashlee’s live voice alone during her appearance on NBC’s Radio Music Awards tonight. And he said she’s never used the extra help onstage before.
“The whole situation was a bummer,” Ashlee said in an interview on MTV’s “Total Request Live.” Simpson had performed her hit single “Pieces of Me” without incident earlier on “SNL.” When she came back a second time, her band started playing and the first lines of her singing “Pieces of Me” could be heard again.
She was holding her microphone at her waist at the time. Simpson looked momentarily confused as the band plowed ahead with the song and the vocal was quickly silenced. A flustered Simpson made some exaggerated hopping dance moves, then walked off the stage.
She told “TRL” that she and her band didn’t know what to do. “I think all of us went into a state of shock,” she said.
The incident exposed what many consider an obvious secret: that some singers who appear onstage aren’t singing live at all, or at least have their voices augmented by backing tracks. And it’s happened before on “Saturday Night Live,” too, executive producer Lorne Michaels said.
“She was mortified and in her dressing room, but [producer] Marci [Klein] got her to come out for goodnights and explained that it wasn’t the end of the world. It wasn’t her fault,” Michaels said.
“Every artist that I know in this business has had vocal problems at some time — from Celine [Dion] on down,” said Joe Simpson. “So you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.”
He said it was his decision to use the tapes when it became apparent that acid reflux disease had swollen Ashlee’s vocal cords. After consulting Wayne Newton’s doctor, she received a cortisone shot to get her ready for the Radio Music Awards, he said.
It was the band’s drummer who pushed the wrong button onstage, he said. Michaels corroborated that, adding, “If she were a more seasoned performer then I think that she would’ve taken charge and said, ‘No, let’s start this over again.'”
The message board on Ashlee’s official Web site has become a battleground where her staunch fans are fighting to defend her from an onslaught of thousands of negative, even vicious posts.
Amidst the often-vulgar posts in the site’s “open forum” is a quote lifted from a Lucky magazine interview where she was asked about lip-synching. “I’m totally against it and offended by it,” she said. “I’m going out to let my real talent show, not to just stand there and dance around. Personally, I’d never lip-synch. It’s just not me.”
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