R&B star Chris Brown is in the middle of controversy once again, this time over whether he may have turned up the music a little too much during his dance-heavy performance at the Billboard Music Awards Sunday night.
Brown had not even finished performing his new single “Turn the Music Up” at the star-studded awards show in Las Vegas before some of his fellow music stars began to turn up the heat on him, on Twitter.
“What happened to people singing live???,” boy band member Joe Jonas tweeted.
“One day if I lip-sync, I hope I do it as well as him,” rocker Pink wrote at nearly the same time.
The two were criticizing the use of visuals over vocals in Brown’s performance, which included BMX bike stunt troupes racing around the stage behind him as the 23-year-old performed his famous dance moves.
Pink, of course, is no stranger to using onstage props herself, having famously included BMX bikes in her performance at the 2010 American Music Awards while she was pregnant with her daughter, Willow.
That performance history prompted another slam at Brown, this one from Pink’s husband, motocross racer Carey Hart, who wrote on Sunday, “Im pretty sure i saw my wife did that same performance, but she was 3 months pregnant and actually sang the song.”
Despite the backlash, music industry insiders say lip-syncing is not as rare as people think.
“It’s always been done,” Ian Drew, senior editor at Us Weekly told ABC News. “You need to get the perfect shot, and you can’t do a take again, especially when it’s live TV.”
After slamming Brown, Pink had kinder words for at least one of the night’s other major performances, country singer Carrie Underwood, who sang without as much fanfare as her R&B counterpart.
“Sing that song woman. Ms. Underwood sounds lovely,” Pink tweeted.
The debate over musicians lip-syncing has gone on for decades, insiders say, long before Britney Spears made her infamous blunder onstage at the MTV Video Music Awards and well before Ashlee Simpson walked off the “Saturday Night Live” set when an incorrect audio track caught her lip-syncing red-handed.
“If you look back, the greatest singers and most prolific artists of all time have lip-synced on TV, whether it be Prince on American Bandstand”or Madonna on the VMAs or Aretha Franklin on Soul Train,” Drew said. “Everybody uses it to some effect.”
For his part, Brown did not address his critics immediately, waiting until Monday morning to send out a cryptic tweet.
“Don’t hold ya breath waiting for me to stop doing me!,” he wrote.