Today is National Awkward Moments Day. Cringe.
As we love celebrating something random and unnecessary whenever we can these days, today NME are snatching up the opportunity to celebrate this special day in full force, taking a nostalgic stroll through some of music’s all-time most awkward moments. From interviews, to live performances and award shows, we’ve narrowed down eight moments which are worthy of celebrating on this important day.
Mariah Carey’s failed lip-sync on New Year’s Eve performance
A failed lip-sync on Mariah Carey’s 2016 appearance on Dick Clark’s New Year Rockin’ Eve was so beyond redemption that she ended up talking more than she sang on stage. Complaining about ongoing technical issues and her desire for hot tea amidst random vocals, the performance was a real shambles. She later told Entertainment Weekly that she was mortified by the whole ordeal.
Adele gives the middle finger at Brit Awards
During the 2012 Brit Awards James Corden was forced to cut Adele short in her acceptance speech. She flipped the middle finger facing crowd with an ironic smirk. Though she later clarified that it was to the “suits” at the Brit Awards and not her fans, at the time it wasn’t clear if it was a subtle gesture to James Corden.
Richard Ashcroft on BBC Breakfast
Absolutely everything is awkward about this Richard Ashcroft interview on BBC Breakfast. Everything. The Verve frontman spring-jumps over the sofa to walk into the set walls, claiming it was like The Truman Show, and he even had a little lie down at one point. He also proclaims that he’s never had a bad review from a “good-looking person”, making a dig at NME after burning an old copy of a magazine with his face on it when he received a less than positive review from us. Hosts Naga Munchetty and Charlie Stayt don’t even try to look amused.
Beyonce’s Face Plant
This video just about crosses the line from cringe to shock-horror as Beyonce took a nasty face plant at a 2007 performance in Orlando. While performing ‘Ring the Alarm’, the singer, who was 25 at the time, whips her hair and head bangs before tumbling down the steps face first onto the floor. She quickly recovered though and jumped straight back into the performance.
Morrissey on Dermot O’Leary’s BBC 2 Radio show
In an incredibly forced interview between former Smiths frontman and presenter Dermot O’Leary, the two repeatedly clashed. Morrissey told the presenter “There is just something about your face that says ‘Please lie to me and I will believe you'”, with O’Leary later telling the singer, “(You need to) listen and not just wait for your chance to talk.”
O’Leary ended by saying “It’s been really difficult but I’ve really enjoyed it, just ‘cos you haven’t answered any questions.” Morrissey later publicly apologised and said he was in foul mood that day.
Serge Gainsbourg and Whitney Houston
In 1986 a 21-year-old Whitney Houston appeared on the popular French variety show Champs-Elysées. The show’s host, Michael Drucker, introduced her to the legendary French musician and singer-songwriter Serge Gainsbourg.
Gainsbourg kissed Houston upon meeting her, but quickly became inappropriate, touching her neck and face and correcting Drucker’s sanitised translations.
Gainsbourg soon leaned towards Drucker and said “no, you are not Reagan, I am not Gorbachev, so don’t try.”
He then said in English, “I said, I want to fuck her.”
The audience gasped and Houston understandably seems shocked. Something tells me this wouldn’t be allowed on TV today.
Ashlee Simpson on SNL
In 2004 Ashlee Simpson suffered a lip-sync flop which will forever be remember as one of the worst ever. Performing on SNL, her backing track vocals started playing when the microphone was down by her side. She quickly realised in horror what happened, awkwardly trying to dance it off before walking off stage altogether.
Taylor VS Kanye at the 2009 VMAs
From the moment it happened we all knew it would go down in award show (and awkward moment) history. When Taylor won Best Female Video at the 2009 MTV Music Videos Awards for her song ‘You Belong With Me’, Kanye West jumped onto stage, taking the mic from her before saying “Yo Taylor, I’m really happy for you, Imma let you finish but Beyonce had one of the best videos of all time…one of the best videos of all time!” Everyone in the audience can be seen looking horrified, including Beyonce herself who awkwardly laughs in shock at what just happened. It spawned one of the great modern celebrity feuds and many a great meme in the heyday of emerging meme culture.