So, it was reported today that the little girl who sang during the Olympic Opening Ceremonies was lip synching. There has been alot of angst and hurt feelings over this. . . .and my response is. . really?? you didn't know??
The fact is that most large stadium/t.v. performances are lip synched. There are a few reasons for this.
1) when you perform at a large stadium, the slapback from the house sound system is so disorienting, that you get confused and can't stay with the music. . . if you were singing live.
2) There would, most likely, not be enough time to set up mics/bands/equip/ for so many performers and put that all through 1 sound system. Its not impossible,. . but just completely unwieldy to get together for a half-time show, for instance.
3) The sound quality of most "live" recordings that are completely live. . . . is not good. From time to time, folks shell out the money for a live recording and they bring extra equipment and it sounds acceptable. (folks still usually go into the studio later and overdub vocals and fix certain parts, etc. . . )
4) Mixing for t.v. is hard. . . . notice how most bands sound terrible on Jay Leno or Letterman.
Also, when you sing. . .you have to breathe occasionally,. . . you can't jump up and down and run a marathon while singing (hello Britney spears). . . .and for men , your adam's apple will move, and the muscles in your neck will flex.
So, when you watch people sing on t.v.. . just watch, listen and see if it matches up. Just because someone has a mic, does not mean you are hearing them. :)
Also, when you move around in front of a mic,. . your sound changes. So, listen and see if their volume is going up and down as they move around, turn their head, etc. . . . .
The girl from Beijing sounded like she was in the middle of the best recording studio in the world, and was 100% on pitch on every note. :)
The Super Bowl is interesting, because they've done both. Tom Petty was obviously lip-synching last year (his vocals were note perfect, with a certain amount of reverb, and inflection. . . . and oh yeah. . . he backed away from the mic while his note was still ringing :) )
But, a few years ago. . . Sting was completely live. . .and I'm pretty sure Paul McCartney was too (unless his pre-recorded vocals were off on a few notes :) )
So, in the case of a super-huge, international event. . . the artist will sometimes get to do it live.
If you see some dude singing at the Citrus Bowl half-time show,. . . . I doubt it. And, I've never seen a Thanksgiving Day half-time show (or parade) that was not completely lip-synched.
Sometimes, they will setup a smaller sound system within a stadium, and then its alot easier to pull off. Its actually just like having a concert at a regular venue. This is what they do at Colorado Rockies games, for instance.
So, buyer beware.
I'm just here to help, everyone!!!! :)