X Factor admits to obvious lip syncing, backing track usage

The first results show for The X Factor continued the show’s tradition of plagiarizing heavily from American Idol by starting with a bad group number that was lip synced by the show’s contestants. Fox has admitted that the contestants lip sync group numbers and also use backing tracks for their live performances. (The UK version admitted auto-tuning its contestants’ performances; Idol admitted to group performance lip syncing back in 2009.)

On Thursday, group’s performance of “Without You” opened the show and was very obviously lip synced from the very start, well before LeRoy Bell forgot to raise the mic to his mouth when his track started, which means he’s getting unfair attention.

Fox admitted that the contestants lip sync, telling TheWrap, “All survival songs are performed live, with just a backing track. For the group ensemble performance, the vocals are pre-recorded to allow acts to concentrate on preparing for their own live competitive performances on Wednesdays — this is also no different to what other competition shows do for ensemble performances.”

Depending upon what the backing track is used for, that might be the most damning part of this admission, because even though it is a competition, the opening number has no consequence at all. But that doesn’t change the fact that it looks absolutely ridiculous.

Meanwhile, the judges defended this season’s two other minor controversies: Stacy Francis’ previous singing career and Dexter Haygood’s insistence that he made a deal to leave the show. Of Stacy Francis, Simon Cowell told Entertainment Weekly, “We never said that you couldn’t have had a career in the past. It’s absurd. Many competitions I’ve done, [the contestants] have had record deals, they’ve tried musicals. She never hid it from us. I couldn’t care less.” As to Dexter Haygood, Simon said his claims are “absolutely crazy” and Nicole Scherzinger added, “It’s simply not the case, but I’m a big fan of Dexter’s and I always will be.”

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.