• Wed, Nov 13 - 4:34 pm ET

10 Popular Artists Who Should Never Sing Live Ever Again

Shhhhh iCarly(via)

I know I can come off as harsh toward celebrities, but I promise I really do know how to give kudos as well. There are a ton of people out there who I really respect and think are incredibly talented, and you’d probably be surprised how much I talk about them.

For example, I can think of a bunch of really skilled singers whose music and voices I love, and whose careers I really admire. People who always knock it out of the park whether they’re recording an album or singing a capella or performing live.

But…you won’t see me writing about them today, because the fact remains that it’s much more fun and interesting to talk about the artists who don’t have that stuff going for them. They may be rich and famous and beautiful and I may even like their music, but oh boy oh boy oh boy should they not be singing live. Because then the whole illusion is shattered and all their loyal fans realize that they’re just auto-tuned eye candy who can dance around in fancy outfits and crank out a good hook on the reg.

No shame in that, right? I have as many of the artists to follow on my guilty pleasure mix as you do…I’m just aware of their limitations. Sorry not sorry.

1. Katy Perry

Katy Perry Smile(via)

Girl can put together a mean cupcake-themed outfit, and to be fair, I’ve never known someone who’s been able to pull off releasing the same melody quite as many times while changing up the lyrics and titles and calling them different songs. But that said, maybe keep it in the studio, Katy. John Mayer does enough live-singing-faces for the both of you.

2. Selena Gomez

Selena Gomez Smile(via)

Selena is totally a triple threat, as long as the threats are 1. being pretty, 2. dressing well, and 3. putting up with Justin Bieber. No more live-singing please.

3. Robin Thicke

Robin Thicke Performing(via)

Anyone with as many gimmicks as Robin is hiding something, and in this case it’s not whatever confusing agreement he has with his wife Paula Patton that lets him put his peen on Miley Cyrus. It’s the fact that he’s honestly not the greatest singer.

4. Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift Blowing Kiss(via)

She’s an excellent songwriter, and she commands the loyalty of fans like none other, but if you really listen to her music, Taylor’s songs are pretty one-note because she doesn’t have a ton of range, and she’s helped a lot by in-studio tricks.

5. Britney Spears

Britney Spears Surprised(via)

Let’s not try to argue with me over this one, mmmkay? Brit is the OG of sounding a million times better on her album than she does in person…and she doesn’t even sound that solid on her albums.

6. Miley Cyrus

Miley Cyrus Dancing(via)

I love me some Bangerz, which is why I’d be perfectly contented if she just lipsynced along with that for the rest of her life, to spare us from any future mediocre live versions. Although I will say I was surprised by how well she did with ‘Wrecking Ball’ on Saturday Night Live, so who knows.

7. Rihanna

Rihanna Performing(via)

Another woman with more hits than I can count, Rihanna should mostly just keep it in the studio because she apparently can’t be trusted to show up to her own concerts. And even when she does, her voice is worn out sometimes. So save it, lady. We already have all eight thousand of your albums.

8. Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga Wave(via)

No. No no no no. You blew it long ago, Lady Gaga. Your performances now are less about singing and more about hatching out of an egg while on fire. Pass. Definite pass.

9. Justin Bieber

Justin Bieber Singing(via)

Bring on the hate mail, but ever since this dude’s voice cracked, he can’t really sing. That’s probably part of why he’s acting out so hard.

10. Ke$ha

Kesha Dancing(via)

I have nothing but respect for Ke$ha, seriously. The woman has made a career out of doing whatever the eff she wants with songs that are in no way difficult to sing. She’s smarter than all of us put together, and the sooner you admit that, the better.

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  • KaitSmith

    I’d argue that when Miley isn’t preoccupied with grinding on teddy bears and sticking her tongue out, she’s a decent singer (especially compared to the others on the list). Here she is singing Jolene: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wOwblaKmyVw

    • Rochelle Annakie

      Totally agree. Miley can sing. No doubt.

    • Alexi Idreos

      I love me some miley cyrus jams

  • elle

    Nah look at that Jolene vide that kaitsmith posted. It is ridiculously good. She beat me to posting it! Also look at some of Ke$has stripped down stuff especially Die Young. I had a really hard time believing it was her cuz it’s actually really good

  • http://maitribathbody.com/ Maitri

    I think I’m the only person on the planet who thought that Selena Gomez “nah nah nah nah” song was absolutely putrid.

  • FauxRealFaux

    Miley has an awesome voice.

  • disqus_lbKQNlGQYG

    Sexy image, click.+–> http://blog.naver.com/nabackna

  • Lajya

    have you seen taylor swift’s cma or grammy performances of red or mean?? or even any random concert performance? she can actually sing, and so what if her voice isn’t like beyonce or whitney’s? life isn’t an american idol..:P

    • Cheryl

      Sorry. This bitch makes a ton of money. She should be able to sing, And she can’t.

  • Alexi Idreos
  • Yeah

    Most of these people can sing but just choose to sing songs that do not suit their voices at all, or try to do everything while they’re singing but can’t. To be fair, Ke$ha has a beautiful voice, but chooses to use all that autotune and sing the kind of music she does. That’s her personal choice, but she is definitely talented and CAN sing live. Taylor doesn’t have the range of a lot of singers but she switches keys a lot which is not as easy to do as it seems, and as someone who is learning to sing professionally I respect her for that.. (Try singing her songs without switching keys and watch how flat or awful you sound). I haven’t heard much of Katy live, but I have seen some of her acoustic performances, and she CAN do it, I think she just let’s her craziness get in the way of that, because she cares so much about putting on a show. Ditto lady gaga. Selena actually has a pretty voice, but it’s not very strong, which is why she does NOT sound good when she tries to sing and dance at the same time (and therefore uses playback) and I honestly think she should stop doing it. But If you hear like her UNICEF acoustic shows she does every year, she always sounds very beautiful, especially when singing songs that match her voice. I think she was trying too hard to make music people would buy than to make music that suited her. And I agree that most of Miley’s live performances have been flat and pitchy lately, because she focused too much on doing things to get people talking, but her SNL wrecking ball performance and also the video of her singing Jolene prove that she CAN sing live well. In a nutshell, most of the people on this list are actually very talented singers that have gotten too caught up in the production of it all which is sad; but that doesn’t diminish the fact that they’re talented so I don’t really think they’re “bad celebrity singers” or should “never sing live” again.

  • Rachel

    Miley used to not be able to sing live, and I can admit that. But she obviously took a lot of vocal lessons between records. Please see her Wrecking Ball live performance on Ellen, because I listen to that instead of the recorded version because it’s better. It’s here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nQ7gCD2chaM

  • Lina

    Actually, I think Ke$ha does a really good job singing The Harold Song live – fx the MTV World Stage performance was beautiful to me :D

  • GarnetHenderson

    Oh, Selena. That video of her performance at the MTV Movie Awards is just sad.

    • Alexis Rhiannon


  • Maddie

    Rihanna is so terrible live. It’s not even funny

    • Alexis Rhiannon

      That’s if she even makes it to the concert.

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  • CMc

    Robin Thicke is a very good singer…when he’s not running around a stage letting someone twerk on him. When he was on that one reality singing show, that I can’t remember the name of because it was only on one season because it sucked, he was excellent. It takes a special kind of stamina to run around a stage and sing and unfortunately not many people have it. I’m a professional singer and I get exhausted just standing still singing certain songs. But he can sing. He maybe just can’t sing and move at the same time. Lol.

    I love Lady Gaga. Nothing she does will ever make me not love her. I’ve also seen her in concert and her voice sounded phenomenal. Her antics have gotten increasingly ridiculous overtime but I don’t care. I love her.

    I wholeheartedly agree with every single other person on this list. ESPECIALLY Taylor Swift. She’s cute. Her songs are catchy. She cannot sing live for anything. I really don’t understand. How can someone sound so bad live and be so well liked? I give her props for singing live though because not a lot of musicians do. I just can’t listen to it.

    • Alexis Rhiannon

      Yeah I think I put people on the list as well who have become famous for things other than singing live, in addition to people who just aren’t good at it.

      I haven’t heard Robin Thicke really just sing live in so long, because he’s always stirring up controversy. And same with Lady Gaga. They may be talented, but it’s been overshadowed by their behavior, for me.

    • Meredith
    • CMc

      Below I linked two videos. One from 2009 and she’s shaky from the beginning. The second from about a year ago on New Years Eve and it’s also not good. I Knew you Were Trouble had several pitchy moments but she got it together in the end. We Are never Getting Back Together was horribly off key from beginning to end. But then the videos you posted are nice. She’s good at the acoustic, sing with a guitar, sit on a stool kind of performances. But overall she’s too hit or miss as evidenced by the fact that you found good videos and I found bad. She has gotten better since she first started, which I respect, but it’s not enough for me to say that she’s an amazing singer because in my opinion she isn’t. I still stand by my statement that she’s cute, she has catchy songs, she’s very likable, but her singing skill level is not up to par for me. If you like her than cool. And I mean that sincerely. I’m sure there are artists that I like that you would say you don’t. We’ll just have to agree to disagree.



    • Alexis Rhiannon


    • Meredith
    • Meredith
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  • uallrlosers

    u all have no idea who can sing and who can’t. im not a bieber fan but he can sing really good. miley has a great voice too and lady gaga has an amazing voice! she can hit the highest notes of all! and rihanna can sing too.