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Jan 02 2017
She Did What She Hadda Do: Epic Diva Disasters Onstage — Who Persevered, Who Melted Down? Comments (0)
The above Céline perf wasn't a disaster, but its conceptual badness is this post's theme.

In light of Mariah Carey's NYE nightmare, check out these OMG-disastrous performances from some of the world's top divas.

Hey, it happens ...

Mariah Carey, Medley, Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve

WTF: She simply didn't have the range. Or the will to properly rehearse.

Who's to Blame: Team Mariah said Dick Clark productions sabotaged her, DCP said nah.



Madonna, “Living for Love,” the Brits

WTF: She didn't fall, she was pulled down — and during a song about stumbling! But she got back up, sang the song live and hit all her marks. Bitch still features this on her VEVO.

Who's to Blame: Madonna said a producer made her entrance much longer at the last minute, which is what producers will do if you let them. She also  briefly pointed the finger of blame at Armani, who designed her cape. But the dancers who dragged her went on tour with her, and she wound up telling Ellen she took all the blame herself for tying her cape too tight.

She's also dealt with in-ear issues, and did so graciously:


Jennifer Lopez, “Louboutins,” AMAs

WTF: Back in 2009, in a stretch when J.Lo was making songs nobody wanted (before she sold her soul to American Idol and re-became one herself), J.Lo had a nasty spill in a performance that presaged Madonna's tumble — she enters in a hood and falls during a song about falling. J.Lo was bloodied but otherwise recovered. No singing necessary, but still, she recovered like a champ.

Who's to Blame: J.Lo said she didn't remember going down, and claimed, “You should know me better than that. That was part of the choreography.” That sounds like the “I don't know her” of falling on your ass.


Britney Spears, “Gimme More,” MTV VMAs

WTF: Then overwhelmed with mental issues — to put it mildly — pop princess Britney attempted a comeback with a effortful, trance-like walk-through of her latest single, but wound up displaying all the rhythm of a drunk stripper in small town bar that doesn't have strippers. She didn't even pretend to sing. Celebs in attendance gaped in disbelief.

Who's to Blame: MTV never should've let he on the stage — her issues were widely known. Fans tried to blame everything from a broken heel to Sarah Silverman making mean jokes , but Britney was at least coherent enough to be “embarrassed” later.


Patti LaBelle, “This Christmas,” National Tree-Lighting Ceremony

WTF: Disasters do happen to people who can sing anything, but Patti LaBelle has to know what she's singing in order to sing it. Crooning for President Clinton, poor Patti was shoved onstage without her background singers and with no cue cards. She was all live, so just wailed as beautifully as possible, made up some lyrics and sang her displeasure.

Who's to Blame: Clearly, it was Hillary's fault. 


Ashlee Simpson, “Pieces of Me,” SNL

WTF: Jessica's little sister actually surpassed her, musically, with a pretty great album. Unfortch, she was not a seasoned pro, (she was all of 19) so she reacted badly when the same song she'd just “sung” on SNL began playing again, revealing that she had been lip-synching the whole thing. Unsure of what to do, she danced a jig and then slinked offstage. Her career died that night, even though many acts lip-synch on SNL, especially rappers.

Who's to Blame: Again, youthful inexperience led Ashlee to immediately blame her band at the end of the show. It definitely was the fault of whomever was in charge of which button to push, but it didn't look good for Lily Vanilli to shirk responsibility for being unable to recover in any meaningful way.


Ellie Goulding, “Love Me Like You Do” & “Burn,” AFL Grand Finale

WTF: The singer and her band were onstage waiting to perform when two of her songs started playing magically at the same time. She completed her performances, but the cat was out of the lip-synching bag.

Who's to Blame: Ellie blamed a mysterious sound guy, writing on social media, “Incidentally, the sound guy who pressed playback twice and trigged both band tracks simultaneously is nowhere to be seen…”. She did, however, make the excuse that she had been sick while simultaneously mocking people for thinking she lip-synchs. Which she does, at least sometimes. When she knows the track — one at a time, thanks — is about to start.


Chaka Khan, “It's Raining Men,” The Late Show with David Letterman

WTF: It's painful when one of the greatest singers ever shows up to sing the camp classic (and yet a surprisingly vocally challenging song) It's Raining Men alongside one of its co-writers (Paul Shaffer!) and doesn't know more than a smattering of the words. Chaka bluffed her way through, but never pulled the plug. God bless those backup dancers — they're singers/women, too!

Who's to Blame: Clearly, Chaka should have had a prompter. Or learned the words. To a song most of us can sing from start to finish with no rehearsal. But hey, her sounded amazing! I wish she'd try it again or even record it.


Stephanie Mills, “What Cha Gonna Do With My Lovin',” 63rd & Hayes

WTF: Stephanie Mills couldn't hear properly and you could see her panic momentarily, but she did what a pro does — she had them cut the music and sang the song a cappella. “We don't need no music! ... Now, that's the way you do that!”

Who's to Blame: Hard to care when you save the day like that!


Adele, All I Ask, Birmingham NEC Genting Arena

WTF: In the second chorus of a gut-wrenching performance, all sound went out ... and Adele just kept singing a cappella (and completely inaudibly to all but the people directly in front of her). Who really saved the day? The fans? They simply sang most of the rest of the song for her, until the sound returned.

Who's to Blame: A mysterious technical failure.