Is Rihanna Lip Syncing At The 2016 VMAs? It Wouldn't Be The First Time Fans Have Wondered
Our favorite bad girl of hip hop, Rihanna received the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award at the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards, so we got to see her perform at the awards ceremony in New York's Madison Square Garden. But is Rihanna lip syncing at the VMAs? A RiRi performance is always a good thing, but are we getting Rihanna au naturale? This allegedly wouldn’t be her first performance where she's relied primarily on background vocals. But, honestly, does it really even matter that she wasn't singing entirely live? We still get to have Rihanna traipsing around to some of her greatest hits. Surely that has to be worth something?
There have been a few accusations of Rihanna lip syncing over the years, including one during her most recent tour, "Anti." Gabe Meline of KQED Arts reports that, at an Oakland show in May 2016, the artist "blatantly lip-synced approximately one-eighth of 'We Found Love' on Saturday night, and spent the other 87 percent of the song meandering around the microphone or simply standing there and letting her pre-recorded vocals play." Despite her allegedly obvious lip syncing, Meline admitted that most fans didn't seem to care at all, because Rihanna puts on one heck of a show anyway. Are any of us surprised about that turn of events?
Before RiRi allegedly lip synced in Oakland, she reportedly lip synced in Los Angeles at a concert with Eminem at the Rose Bowl in 2014. As LA Weekly writer Ben Westhoff puts it, "Thus began two hours and a half hours of lip synching." But, again, while lip syncing is sort of frowned upon in theory, no one could deny the appeal of Rihanna or Eminem because as Westhoff says, they are both "hot." I can totally see how the hotness of both RiRi and Em would distract from a lackluster vocal performance.
So maybe Rihanna is guilty of a lip sync here or there, but that doesn't mean she isn't still a fantastic performer. Even if Rihanna is mouthing along to a few lines during her performance at the VMAs, I'm pretty sure the fans don't mind that much. A lot of the appeal of a performance is the choreography, set pieces, and story the stage represents — it's not just vocals people care about. We already know that the woman can sing. She can do whatever she wants with her voice as long as she's keeping us entertained visually. All I have to say is do your thing Riri, and the rest of us will continue to sit and adore like the loyal subjects we are.