Update: After maintaining silence for roughly twenty four hours, the members of the Rascal Flatts have finally confirmed the allegations. They did lip-sync Sunday’s performance.
During their comedic opener at Sunday’s ACM Awards, hosts Luke Bryan and Blake Shelton raved about the fact that country shows–unlike so many music performance broadcasts–feature live vocals and instrumentals.
“If you don’t like live music you need to go down the block and see Britney Spears,” cracked Shelton to an appreciative crowd.
For better or worse, the night’s performers spent the majority of the broadcast adhering to the commitment of live vocals.
Then something strange happened.
As Rascal Flatts began performing new single “Rewind,” the broadcast audio seemed to switch to a pre-recorded track. The smooth cut, with which lead singer Gary LeVox was not perfectly in sync, lacked the crowd noise, microphone feedback, echos, volume drops and other disturbances one would expect from even the best live performances. All indications were that a separate audio track was being piped in over the performance.
While it initially seemed like a fun gag for the audience’s benefits–perhaps playing off the “Rewind” theme of the lyrics–it never changed. Mild, but monotonous crowd noises occasionally emerged in between the verses and choruses, but they never convincingly suggested that the audio feed was coming from the actual stage.
Given what they saw and heard, those viewing at home would seemingly be justified in ripping Rascal Flatts for lip-syncing–especially in the context of the opening comment about live music. Indeed, many fans blasted the band on Twitter.
Unclear at press time, however, is whether that track was simply added to the television broadcast (due to a technical glitch) or whether it was also used to mask actual lip-syncing in the arena. If it was a technical glitch, however, it was fixed in time for a subsequent Bryan-Shelton comedy bit and performance by Dierks Bentley and Sheryl Crow.
The band has yet to comment on the allegations.