Conrad Murray, Micheal Jackson
The current trial of Dr. Conrad Murray, who plead not guilty to the involuntary manslaughter of the late Michael Jackson, is making headlines with new scandalous developments and shocking revelations daily. As the surprising details continue to surface with each court hearing, we’re taking a look back on the 10 most memorable scandals in pop music history.
10. Ashlee Simpson Lip Syncs on ‘SNL’
For years, Ashlee had lived in the shadow of her sister Jessica’s fame. But on October 24, 2004, Ashlee stole the spotlight — but for all the wrong reasons. During her first ever booking on ‘Saturday Night Live,’ Ashlee was busted lip syncing to a backup track when ‘Pieces of Me,’ the song Ash sang during her first performance, started playing at the start of what was meant to be her second act. Making matters even worse, after being caught in the audio snafoo, Simpson awkwardly started to do what can only be described as a jig around the stage. The “singer” would later claim she was forced to lip sync because of a severe sore throat, but has yet to live down the shameful and embarrassing event to this day.
9. Mariah Carey’s Odd Behavior on ‘TRL’
It’s been over ten years since Mariaj Carey’s oddest. ‘TRL‘.appearance.ever, but many fans remember it as if it were yesterday. Mimi randomly showed up to the MTV studios, genuinely surprising host Carson Daly as she wheeled out a cart of popsicles to give to fans. What happened next seemed like some sort of bizarro dream because, well, Mariah just wasn’t making any sense. “All I know is I just want one day off when I can go swimming and look at rainbows and, like, eat ice cream. And maybe, like, learn how to ride a bicycle,” Mariah rambled at one point. Earlier in the interview, multi-millionaire Carey also claimed to be in the poor house to a stunned Daily and audience. Days later, Mimi checked herself into a mental facility, where she was able to escape the demons that had haunted her. Sadly, she won’t likely ever escape the stigma stemming from her strange ‘TRL’ drop in.
8. Miley Cyrus’ Semi-Nude Photos in Vanity Fair
During her Annie Leibovitz photo shoot for Vanity Fair she was just being Miley. But when the magazine hits stands in June 2008, there was public outcry over just how much of Miley was showing in the risque shots. Quick to backtrack, Miley released a statement slamming the pictorial and apologizing to fans. “I took part in a photo shoot that was supposed to be ‘artistic’ and now, seeing the photographs and reading the story, I feel so embarrassed,” Cyrus said at the time. “I never intended for any of this to happen and I apologize to my fans who I care so deeply about.”
7. Madonna Makes Out With Britney Spears (and Christina Aguilera)
Madonna caused a scene and sparked controversy, as usual, this time with the help of two of her young pop star proteges at the 2003 MTV Video Music Awards. During the provocative performance the three ladies engaged in some girl-on-girl action that raised brows and made headlines. Madonna turned toBrit Brit and leaned in for an open-mouth lip-lock, which garnered an interesting reaction from Brit’s ex, Justin Timberlake. Madge then turned toXtina on her other side and smooched her as well. It was the MTV camera cut-away to JT’s reaction in the audience that left Xtina’s follow-up kiss less memorable than Britney’s.
6. Christina Aguilera Botches the National Anthem
Xtina’s VMA kiss may nothave been as memorable as Britney’s, but her butchering of the U.S. national anthem certainly stuck in the public’s mind. The media really let Christina have it when she jumbled the words to the ‘Star Spangled Banner’ at Super Bowl XLV in front of, well, all of America. Just a few lines into the song, Xtina sang, “What so proudly we watched at the twilight’s last [unintelligible lyric],” instead of “‘O’er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming.” Hear the messy mix-up at :43.
5. Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson “Nipplegate”
Justin Timberlake teamed up with pop icon Janet Jackson for an historic collaboration during the Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the musical collab, but a Janet Jackson’s exposed breast that made headlines. At the end of their ‘Rock Your Body’ duet, JT sang “Bet I’ll have you naked, by the end of this song,” before ripping off Janet’s tear-away top, exposing her pastie-accessorized breast for the entire family-oriented audience to see. Not quite naked, but close enough to cause instant outrage and earn it’s own scandal-connoting catch phrase. Watch “Nipplegate” in action at 1:20.
4. Milli Vanilli Lip Syncing Exposed
These days, we’re almost more accustomed to lip syncing than actual singing when it comes to pop music live performances, but it wasn’t the lip syncing of their own pre-recorded vocals that banished Milli Vanilli to the hall of shame, it was the confession that the spandex-wearing duo had been mouthing someone else’s vocals all along. First exposed during a 1989 live performance which aired on MTV when the CD recording of their hit ‘Girl You Know It’s True’ started skipping over and over until the guys ran off stage with embarrassment. By the following year, Fab Morvan and Rob Pilatus confessed their dirty little secret and their fame turned to infamy and disgrace. Watch the performance that was their undoing at 1:52.
3. Madonna Performs Reenactment of the Crucifixion
Queen of controversy, Madonna lands on our list, yet again, for her scandalicious stage act during her 2006 Confessions tour. Not satisfied with being just Madonna, the pop icon took iconoclasm to whole new heights when she bound herself to a giant crucifix and played Jesus while singing ‘Live to Tell.’ The Vatican itself condemned the stage stunt as blasphemy and suggested Madge be “excommunicated.” All in a days work.
2. Sinead O’Conner Tears Up a Picture of the Pope on ‘SNL’
Sinead’s October 3, 1992 performance on ‘Saturday Night Live’’ probably would have been forgotten by Sunday, October 4 had the Irish-born singer not torn up a picture of Pope John Paul II after finishing her rendition of Bob Marley’s ‘War.’ After the “rrrrrip heard round the world,” ‘SNL’ producer Lorne Michaels called Sinead’s actions, “A betrayal,” and the New York Daily News dubbed her a “HOLY TERROR.” Skip to the 2:55 mark to see the famous tear.
1. Chris Brown and Rihanna’s Domestic Violence Drama
It was supposed to be an amazing Grammy weekend for then-couple Chris Brown and Rihanna. But upon leaving a pre-Grammy party, the night’s festive mood turned violent. Police records would later allege that after a fight broke out between the pair in their car, Brown “punched her [Rihanna] in the left eye with his right hand. He then drove away in the vehicle and continued to punch her in the face with his right hand while steering the vehicle with his left hand.” Fallout from the very public case of domestic violence was severe for Brown, who found radio stations refusing to play his songs and fans swearing they’d never buy a Chris Brown CD again. Years later, both Chris and Rihanna have moved on, with Ri even recently claiming she’s still a fan of her ex.