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  #1  
Old 01-26-2003, 08:19 PM
pkbites pkbites is offline
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Why do performers still lip-sync?

I'm watching the Super Bowl while I type this. As if the performance of the Raiders isn't making me sick enough, that hack Shania Twain comes on during half-time and lip-syncs a rather old song of hers.

I thought lip-syncing went out the door with Millie Vanilli.
Why, exactly, do allegedly talented artists still lip-sync their own music? I mean, the artist is there. The P.A. system is set up. They have their instruments on stage with them. Why the heck don't they just really play and sing? Whatgives?
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  #2  
Old 01-26-2003, 08:26 PM
Silentgoldfish Silentgoldfish is offline
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Better safe than sorry I guess. I like Blink-182 but every time I've heard a live performance of theirs they completely sucked -- off key, much simpler guitars than on the albums, very off key. If they lip synched they'd sound a lot better.
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Old 01-26-2003, 08:26 PM
Mangetout Mangetout is offline
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Live doesn't sound the same as studio, moreover, the less vocally talented the perfomer, the more likely that the recorded version that was released has been 'tweaked' (and was the result of multiple takes) - Live vocals have to sound good the first time around.
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Old 01-26-2003, 08:38 PM
pkbites pkbites is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Mangetout
Live doesn't sound the same as studio
It's not supposed to. If I went to a concert and the band sounded exactly like their album (even if they weren't lip-syncing) I'd be bored stiff. Live is supposed to sound...well....live.
When I go to see, or tune in to see a live band I expect to hear them playing/singing, not a damn recording!

I guess my point is, is that I'm disgusted that a highly paid artist would resort to lip-syncing in front of half the world. A performer with any talent wouldn't do this. It's shameless!
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Old 01-26-2003, 09:50 PM
RealityChuck RealityChuck is offline
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pkbites, you are evidently in the minority. As far as the acts are concerned, what they want to do in a live performance is to reproduce the sound of the recording exactly. The belief is that the fans would be disappointed otherwise.

Now the really talented acts do avoid lip-syching, and one of the real joys of a live concert is hearing a group make changes in a song. But a lot of the big name act these days are about showmanship, not muscianship and their fans don't care.
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Old 01-26-2003, 10:17 PM
pkbites pkbites is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by RealityChuck
pkbites, you are evidently in the minority
I don't agree. I'm willing to bet that if you went to any concert and announced that the entire show was lip synced fans would be pissed. I don't notice lip-syncing on late night shows like Saturday Night Live, Leno, Letterman, etc.. I don't think many bands are doing recorded songs during live performances. Which is why I think it's such an abomination when it happens.

It didn't sound like Sting and (whatever her name is) resorted to lip syncing during their stint of the half time show.
But, oh, wait, I forgot. Sting has some talent. I'm not even a big fan of his but I do know he's a class act.
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Old 01-26-2003, 10:25 PM
fusoya fusoya is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by RealityChuck
pkbites, you are evidently in the minority. As far as the acts are concerned, what they want to do in a live performance is to reproduce the sound of the recording exactly. The belief is that the fans would be disappointed otherwise.
I disagree with this too. I would NEVER go see an artist who has a reputation for lipsynching. I don't go to shows to see someone dance around, I go there to see MUSIC. As a musician myself, I use the concert experience as an opportunity to watch the professionals in action. And I love seeing how some bands take complicated album songs and arrange them for a 5 piece live band (as opposed to having 20 guitar tracks).
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Old 01-26-2003, 10:31 PM
Cisco Cisco is offline
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This is at least the 3rd post I've seen about Shania lip syncing since the half time show. I must admit that I was not paying attention at all but do you guys know she lip synced or do you think she lip synced?
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  #9  
Old 01-26-2003, 10:37 PM
Nametag Nametag is online now
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SuperBowl performances, like those at the Oscars, are generally sync'ed because the organizers insist. Maybe Sting sang live (dunno, didn't watch), but either he has the pull to insist on it or the chops to be asked. Also, he doesn't prance around like a damn idiot pretending that he's a better dancer than the underpaid no-names behind him, and completely eliminating any chance of singing decently.

Ahem. So with most acts, these once-a-year events are better off with a nice reliable tape.
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  #10  
Old 01-26-2003, 10:42 PM
Skillet38 Skillet38 is offline
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I spent several years on the road with a high profile band running the sound board. I can look at an artist performing and discern from the microphone body language and the mouth whether it's really live or not.....

Shania was singing to a tape. People breathe, and it's not hard to spot it when their breathing isn't in sync with the vocalizations you are hearing.

It was a great relief when Gwen came out and was obviously Really singng. Yes, she dropped a few notes (yes I have perfect pitch too, really sucks), but it was a real performance, as opposed to the steril pandering offering from Shania, which shouldn't be a surprise to anyone who is aware of the state that modern country music is in(sell to the lowest common denominator)

..... Shania's lip syching while Willie Nelson is selling his ass in a comedy commercial.

Sad times for a hard ridden horse,

SKT
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  #11  
Old 01-26-2003, 10:43 PM
Terminus Est Terminus Est is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Cisco
This is at least the 3rd post I've seen about Shania lip syncing since the half time show. I must admit that I was not paying attention at all but do you guys know she lip synced or do you think she lip synced?
There was the point where she started shaking hands with people in the "crowd" and dropped all pretense of singing.

I note that Bon Jovi did not appear to be lip synching, either.
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  #12  
Old 01-26-2003, 10:47 PM
gazpacho gazpacho is offline
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So do you guys think that No Doubt, Sting or Bon Jovi lip synced? It did not seem that we to us. I will chime in saying I would be really pissed if I went to a show and found out they lip synced it.
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  #13  
Old 01-26-2003, 10:48 PM
mazzer mazzer is offline
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Shania lip-synched because the song she performed was one of those wanna-be euro-dance songs where the vocals are piped through vocoder filters and what-have-you.

What Nametag said is another big factor.

Also, you might watch the feed and think someone is lip synching, because the sound and their lips don't match up. There is often a delay because of the stadium's sound system, so if the delay is constant, they might still be singing live.
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Old 01-26-2003, 10:48 PM
pkbites pkbites is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Cisco
do you guys know she lip synced or do you think she lip synced?

A fair question. Boy, would I feel like an ass to learn she wasn't.

But after watching her and listening to her, everyone here at Stately Bietz Manor( ) unanimously agreed that she was lip-syncing.
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  #15  
Old 01-26-2003, 10:53 PM
krsna77 krsna77 is offline
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The only time lip-syncing is ever an acceptable method (IMO), is when the act, in addition to singing, includes a lot of high-energy dance acts. 'tis difficult to sing when you're bumpin' up and down at a frenetic pace for an hour and a half.

That being said, lip-syncing is silly when you're only doing ONE SONG, and NOT DANCING. :P

Then again, I'm not one to criticize...
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  #16  
Old 01-26-2003, 11:03 PM
Zagadka Zagadka is offline
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Half of going to a live show is them throwing in random shite... breaking into a different tune in the middle of a song, changing the way something sounds, or just hearing the god damned voice live. There is a huge difference. I've seen several bands live where the aritist was more into the songs, and several where they were just going through the motions (like the Raiders)... it isn't hard to tell up close and personal.

With punk/grunge/etc bands in small venues, you can usually hear the difference quite easily. The nature of the music is to be more slopppy, if you will, but that's OK, because they also change things up live and sound different. Sometimes it works out better, sometimes worse, but it is different, and that is why you go see them.

If I wanted a perfect performance, I'd watch music videos.
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  #17  
Old 01-26-2003, 11:08 PM
Urban Ranger Urban Ranger is offline
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Re: Why do performers still lip-sync?

Quote:
Originally posted by pkbites
Why, exactly, do allegedly talented artists still lip-sync their own music? I mean, the artist is there. The P.A. system is set up. They have their instruments on stage with them. Why the heck don't they just really play and sing? Whatgives?
Maybe they can't really sing. Not better than you and I anyway. Maybe even worse. These so called "artistes" are being sold as image packages, you should have realised this when watching their MTV.
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Old 01-26-2003, 11:49 PM
pkbites pkbites is offline
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Re: Re: Why do performers still lip-sync?

Quote:
Originally posted by Urban Ranger
These so called "artistes" are being sold as image packages, you should have realised this when watching their MTV.
I grew up in the 1960's and 70's, the era of "studio musicians".
Joey Levine was one of my favorites. Most of these would lip sync their songs during appearances.

It just doesn't happen as much any more. It shouldn't either.
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  #19  
Old 01-27-2003, 12:02 AM
Craneop2 Craneop2 is offline
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People like Shania Twain are products of promotions. She has talent but cannot carry that talent ALL the time.

I was in a small country band myself and every night we played I sounded different to my own ear.. We NEVER played the same song the same way! Just didn't work that night,or maybe some were better than others?


Just remember that Shanias promoters wanted the audience to hear what they would buy if they bought her next "best of" disc.

There are people who are ACTUALLY show people, they put on a great show LIVE and it is ALWAYS great!! In the country genre I would HAVE to include Willy Nelson and Garth Brooks!
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  #20  
Old 01-27-2003, 01:24 AM
kniz kniz is offline
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On American Idol two of the judges picked someone to go to Hollywood. There was a short discussion about why the third judge did not vote for the performer. He said something like "What the two other judges are saying by voting for you is that you do not have to be able to sing to be a pop artist." He also said this was a well known fact in the industry.
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  #21  
Old 01-27-2003, 02:08 AM
bibliophage bibliophage is offline
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Since this is about music, I'll move this thread to Cafe Society.
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  #22  
Old 01-27-2003, 03:11 AM
A1C Joe A1C Joe is offline
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i think that any big name act that lipsyncs in front of an audience of loyal fans should be dragged out into the street and shot.
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  #23  
Old 01-27-2003, 03:32 AM
I can't believe that's butter! I can't believe that's butter! is offline
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Did they ever shoot Shania-- the way the camera angles were on some off the shots, you could just tell that the control room was caught off-guard as they scrambled in a never-ending battle to keep the camera lens at least an inch above her skirt hem, losing control at least twice. I'm sure the cherry-picker that they raised her up above the crowd on didn't help matters. It was this unexpected turn of events that forced me to trust my friends observation that she was indeed lip sync'ing. Show, indeed! All the actors (I'd guess) in the mosh pit didn't do much to convince me that she was rocking the house in any way with her vocal accomplishments.
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  #24  
Old 01-27-2003, 04:14 AM
Troy McClure SF Troy McClure SF is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by krsna77
The only time lip-syncing is ever an acceptable method (IMO), is when the act, in addition to singing, includes a lot of high-energy dance acts. 'tis difficult to sing when you're bumpin' up and down at a frenetic pace for an hour and a half.
I'm sure that's true, but I saw No Doubt in November, and they were running and jumping all over the place and sounded great (ironically, I think Gwen was a little weak at Halftime).

As for lip-synching, why even bother? Most of the time it's quite obvious, so why? Are they trying to sneak it by us? If we, as an audience, like the dancing so much, why not just dance? Quit pretending to sing.

Especially Shania Twain, I've seen her performance specials where she really sings, and, well, she can sing. Even N*Sync actually sang two years ago, while doing their dance routine (though admittedly, they sounded like crap).
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  #25  
Old 01-27-2003, 04:19 AM
Boo Boo Foo Boo Boo Foo is offline
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Jon Bon Jovi has long had a well earnt reputation for having an impeccable "live" voice. His music isn't exactly my cup of tea (just a dash too contrived for mine) but certainly he, and his band's reputation for being able to cut it live is one which I respect immensely.

As for Sting? well, he's the man, isn't he? Two and a bit years ago I had the pleasure of seeing the guy on his then world tour when he came to Brisbane. Not one of his "Police" songs that he played that night were played like the originals, and yet, wow - it sounded like you were in a recording studio if you know what I mean. You see, it's one thing to change your songs in a live setting - but it's an altogether different thing to do so in a way which makes them still sound fantastic.

Sting, in a live concert setting, is one of the world's great musos. His band has a reputation for attracting the best of the best, muso wise, and he takes incredible pride in being able to deliver live. As did U2 during the half time entertainment at last years Superbowl performance.

Amongst musos at least, lip syncing is a sure fire sign of lack of talent - 100% of the time. It's the ultimate "rip off" - at a muso level at any rate.
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  #26  
Old 01-27-2003, 04:25 AM
Omniscient Omniscient is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by RealityChuck
pkbites, you are evidently in the minority. As far as the acts are concerned, what they want to do in a live performance is to reproduce the sound of the recording exactly. The belief is that the fans would be disappointed otherwise.

Now the really talented acts do avoid lip-syching, and one of the real joys of a live concert is hearing a group make changes in a song. But a lot of the big name act these days are about showmanship, not muscianship and their fans don't care.

fusoya and pkbites, I just wanted to point out that you seemed to be missing the point he was making. Yes, I agree most fans would be upset (or at least very disappointed) if their band was announcing that they were lip-syncing. However, Reality chuck is also right that alot of people don't care, though not "most". The real focus of his comment however is that the majority of people at shows do want the band to sound just like the CD version. While they'd like to hear the impromptu additions and playfulness with lyrics and crowd interaction, they want the "sound" of the music to be as close to what they like from the CD and video as possible. The vast minority of concert goers genuinely like the "raw" sound of a live band, and many of the ones that do like it more for the nostalgia of it than anything. Lip-syncing has its place. And I think the vast majority are willfully (and blissfully) ignorant if their favorite polished stage acts are lip-syncing or not.

About the OP specifically at the Super Bowl. I think a very important point to make is what the goal of the performance is. Yes, most concerts where you're catering to people who are already your fans, are best served by singing live and are able to allow for the raw imperfectness of it. Good performers can minimalize the flaws inherent in it, and some can't. I however don't think that automatically makes them hacks. In the Super Bowl and other mass-TV audience acts the singer is very specifically trying to cater to the lowest common denominator. They aren't playing for people who know and enjoy them already, they are catering to those who have never heard them before. They are trying to sell records and make new fans. I have no problem with this. The best way for Shania to draw new fans is to play a old, proven song and have it sound the very best it possibly can. Yeah, purists may scoff at obvious lip-syncing, but in the end the less discriminating viewer who kinds the clean hook catchy is too important to overlook.

In the end, Shania lip-synced and No Doubt didn't. Neither was performing specifically for their fans, and in the end Shania is going to sell more records as a result because she sounded a 100 times better. When the singer is playing a show for ticket buying fans or their own, then they owe it to them to sing live most of the time, but when the show is for other purposes lip-syncing is acceptable.
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  #27  
Old 01-27-2003, 05:30 AM
Mangetout Mangetout is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by pkbites
It's not supposed to. If I went to a concert and the band sounded exactly like their album (even if they weren't lip-syncing) I'd be bored stiff. Live is supposed to sound...well....live.
When I go to see, or tune in to see a live band I expect to hear them playing/singing, not a damn recording!
Me too; please don't think I was defending the idea, just stating my understanding of the reasoning that is 'out there'.
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  #28  
Old 01-27-2003, 05:31 AM
Flutterby Flutterby is offline
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One thing people may not realize is that when dealing with a stadium, such as for the Superbowl, the prefered music interludes are synched. A lot of it for technical reasons (maybe some speakers not picking up the mike properly) or just because an open air stadium works better with using a tape. So people can actually hear the music and not just the voice and what music can be picked up etc.

When we did the opening for the World's Athletics Championships in 2001, we did have the singers there, but we had the tape running. Because the music itself was harder to get to reach everyone. Something with acoustics and stuff.

Yes, I realize many bands do open air concerts just fine without tapes, but that's part of the reason they do that. And plus it's the Superbowl. They want it to be as perfect as possible. Lip-synching is just a way of making sure that the voice/music doesn't go wrong and make a muck of things.
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  #29  
Old 01-27-2003, 07:27 AM
Boo Boo Foo Boo Boo Foo is offline
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"Obsidian"? Please tell us more about your role at the World Athletics Championships. I own a fairly cool recording studio setup - I'm really interested in the logistics of what you had to go through please.
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  #30  
Old 01-27-2003, 07:57 AM
gex gex gex gex is offline
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Quote:
originally posted by Silentgoldfish
Better safe than sorry I guess. I like Blink-182 but every time I've heard a live performance of theirs they completely sucked -- off key, much simpler guitars than on the albums, very off key. If they lip synched they'd sound a lot better.
Have you ever actually seen them live? I'm a fan, but I'll admit that their live recordings sound pretty rough (In fact, the live album they released a couple of years ago sounds a little too good as compared to their other live material, leading me to suspect it got some studio overdubs). But when I saw them live in 2000, they were still fairly sloppy, but due to the volume and atmosphere, the show was energetic and fun enough to overcome the less than perfect recreation of the songs.

And I guess Shania lip-synched because she is more about spectacle than music. The point was that she was there on TV doing stuff rather than playing anything. Vision was important here rather than sound.
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  #31  
Old 01-27-2003, 08:48 AM
Woeg Woeg is offline
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I've seen three live bands that absolutely rocked, and sounded better than CD in concert... Stabbing Westward, Depeche Mode, and the Cure. I am positive that none of them were lip synching, since the music was quite a bit changed from the CD releases, but it still sounded crystal clear and awesome!

For the record, David Gahan of DM was the best vocalist. Tons of energy, and able to maintain his voice at a constant, smooth tone.
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  #32  
Old 01-27-2003, 09:30 AM
TwistofFate TwistofFate is offline
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Its even funnier when they lip sync to tracks they didn't even sing on to begin with, ala Ashanti's "guide vocals" ending up on the final mix of J-Lo's album.
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  #33  
Old 01-27-2003, 12:20 PM
astorian astorian is offline
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A totally unrelated anecdote: Folks, I'm 4, ancient enough to remember seeing Super Bowl V, between the Colts and Cowboys, at the Orange Bowl. Wanna know what the ENTIRE halftime show was, back then?

Anita Bryant singing "The Battle Hymn of the Republic."

And, in case you didn't know it (I didn't, at the time), there's more to that song than "Mine eyes have seen the glory" and "glorry, glory, halleljuah." That song has about 20 verses. And she sang them all!

So, considering the alternative.... I can live with Shania Twain lip-synching.
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  #34  
Old 01-27-2003, 12:23 PM
astorian astorian is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by astorian
A totally unrelated anecdote: Folks, I'm 4, ancient enough to remember seeing Super Bowl V, between the Colts and Cowboys, at the Orange Bowl. Wanna know what the ENTIRE halftime show was, back then?

Anita Bryant singing "The Battle Hymn of the Republic."

And, in case you didn't know it (I didn't, at the time), there's more to that song than "Mine eyes have seen the glory" and "glorry, glory, halleljuah." That song has about 20 verses. And she sang them all!

So, considering the alternative.... I can live with Shania Twain lip-synching.
Make that 41... sorry!
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  #35  
Old 01-27-2003, 12:30 PM
Bongmaster Bongmaster is offline
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Ha, I knew it! I can't stand it when people lip-synch and don't bother to inform anyone beforehand. It would be one thing if the announcer said something like: "And here's Shina Twain lip-synching her 1999 hit..." but they try to pass it off as the real deal, sickening.
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  #36  
Old 01-27-2003, 01:28 PM
ioioio ioioio is offline
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My experience occurred 20 years ago, but I'll relate it for what it's worth. I was in a group of about 30 people who sang the national anthem at a professional baseball game. The song was taped, and although we really sang along with the tape, no one could hear us live. We used a tape because, I was told, it is incredibly difficult to sing live in a stadium because of the time delay between sound coming out of the mouth and coming out of the stadium speakers (I believe it can be several seconds).

To sing live with your delayed voice coming out of the speakers requires tremendous concentration (or probably in the case of big name bands, technology to bypass the problem).

Someone who sang the anthem live in a stadium told me that he focussed solely on his singing, shutting out the sound of the speakers. When he finished the anthem, he started taking bows; as he was bowing, he heard his voice from the speakers: "AND THE HOME OF THE BRAVE".

P.S. If you are hearing sound from the stadium speakers, it will not match the singer's mouth if they are singing live. I don't know if the sound & visual match up on TV.
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  #37  
Old 01-27-2003, 01:36 PM
beajerry beajerry is offline
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Shania obviously lip-synched, as evidenced by when she shook the audiences' hands and stopped moving her lips, but the sound of her voice went on.
Sting and Gwen obviously sang live.
But I couldn't tell about Michelle Branch--I wasn't watching that much, but the sound was 'too-perfect'. I think she synched too.
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  #38  
Old 01-27-2003, 03:20 PM
yawndave yawndave is offline
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My girlfriend, a big Shania fan, wouldn't believe me when I said that Ms Twain was singing to a tape. When Sting came on, I pointed out that his performance was obviously live. She couldn't tell the difference.
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  #39  
Old 01-27-2003, 03:29 PM
Troy McClure SF Troy McClure SF is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Woeg
I've seen three live bands that absolutely rocked, and sounded better than CD in concert... Stabbing Westward, Depeche Mode, and the Cure.
Add Aerosmith to that- you haven't heard Dream On unless you've heard it live. Their live performances wipe the floor with the studio cuts.
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  #40  
Old 01-27-2003, 04:50 PM
Banger Banger is offline
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I think that lip-syncing is just something we're going to have to deal with as long as football fans remain passionate about their divas.
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