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A Brief History of Lip Syncing

Posted April 29, 2015 - Blog Posts

You never knew that you needed to see Anne Hathaway swinging on a wrecking ball until Lip Sync Battle came along on Spike. But now you know. You know that you need to see The Rock as “Tay Tay” Swift, Mike Tyson owning Push It and Jimmy Fallon, wearing his heart on his sleeve, offering up the best Madonna performance that a chat-show host could ever muster. Spike, you’ve Lip-Sunk our Battleship.

Spike’s smash hit isn’t the first time that lip-syncing has entertained us though. We’ll clue you up with a bit of history.

The Partridge Family

That’s right, everybody’s favourite all-singing, all-dancing TV family couldn’t actually sing. Well, most of them couldn’t, at least. Of the seven Partridges, it was only teen idol David Cassidy who stepped up to the mic to belt out a tune. Think about it – being on a stage surrounded by silent singers must have been pretty weird for everyone’s favourite 1970s heartthrob.

Knowing that the family was actually lip syncers did nothing to halt their success – the show ran for 96 episodes and spawned 13 albums, one number one single and one smash hit holiday record. Not bad for a bunch of people who couldn’t actually sing!

RuPaul’s Drag Race

Lip Sync Battle actually owes a lot to drag queens. Since time immemorial, drag queens have perfected, owned and revolutionised the art of lip sync. If the Lip Sync Battle performers went up against legendary queens Lypsinka and Tandi Iman Dupree, they would be annihilated.

RuPaul brought lip-syncing to the mainstream with his insanely popular reality TV show RuPaul’s Drag Race in 2009. Since then, we’ve seen wigs being torn, tears shed, insane acrobatics, breakdowns, fights, and absolutely sickening performances in the show’s ‘Lip Sync For Your Life’ segment.

Watch the lip sync performance in the video above. In the show’s own words: it will give you life!

RuPaul’s Drag Race is coming to TruTV in June

The Arbor

Lip syncing doesn’t always have to be funny or entertaining to be effective. Clio Barnard’s 2010 film The Arbor uses the medium for a devastating effect. It features actors lip-syncing over recorded interviews about playwright Andrea Dunbar’s life and death.

With stories of murder, abuse, alcoholism and addiction, it’s not an easy ride. But thanks to the use of recorded interviews, the film is more grounded in reality than it ever could have been as a straight drama.

The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon

The ember that lit Lip Sync Battle’s fire. Without Jimmy Fallon taking on his A-List guests on his talk show, Spike would have never created the incredible Lip Sync Battle. And for that, Jimmy, we are forever grateful.

Now that you’re clued up on the history of lip-syncing, you’re fully ready to watch the next episode of Lip Sync Battle on Spike on Tuesday at 10.30pm. Battle on.

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