As the old adage goes: anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. Musicians and performers are just as susceptible to Murphy’s law as the rest of us, perhaps more so given that taking to the stage is rife with opportunities to blunder. From painful tumbles to tuneless singing, mistimed stage-dives to getting caught out miming, there’s plenty of potential to leave a performer red-faced and their audiences cringing. It’s enough to make you question why anyone would ever choose a career in entertainment in the first place!
Despite the dangers, we’re grateful to the entertainers who face the threat of embarrassment head-on for our enjoyment. Without them, the world would be a much duller place (and there’d be a severe lack of hilarious videos to populate blog posts such as this one). Nobodys immmune to an onstage mishap: from the keenest amateur enthusiast to the world’s biggest stars, live music fails are the great leveller.
Hide behind your hands as we present to you our 20 favourite live entertainment fails:
Like all the great operatic heroes, this tenacious tenor doesn’t allow adversity to get in the way of a great performance.
During a live performance of Halo, Beyoncé hands the mic to a fan with a few tuning issues…
Madonna’s famous wardrobe malfunction at the 2015 Brit Awards, where her elaborate cape let her down. Literally.
Where to begin with this one… for a start, it’s not even a flute! Katy Perry reveals here inability to even play a rudimentary melody on the recorder. For shame, Katy, for shame.
Cheryl here, grunting her way through a “live” performance. The thing is, when she actually starts singing it sounds quite good!
Setting herself apart from her fellow Miss America contestants, Miss Mississippi demonstrates the art of murdering a violin live on stage.
You’ll get halfway through this video and wonder how the incredible drum solo can be considered a fail. Keep watching…
Sometimes it’s the audience who are responsible for live music fails. Despite his elegant riposte to a mobile phone going off midway through a recital, you can see the hate simmering in violia player Lukáš Kmiť’s eyes at the interruption.
Losing a stick is a common occurrence for a drummer… having it somersault into the air and bop you on the head? Not so much! A great recovery from Bruce Springsteen’s longtime drummer, Max Weinberg, regardless!
What is it about this song? Beyoncé suffers another unfortunate incident with a fan, this time trapping her famous tresses in the whirling blades of some stage-side equipment. Being the consummate artist she is, Beyoncé doesn’t let her tangled locks get in the way of her performance.
They all laughed at him when he said he could play like Hendrix on an acoustic guitar. He had the last laugh.
He really captured the spirit of the song: if you use your imagination, it sounds amazing!
There are no words.
If this epic cover of Eye of the Tiger doesn’t pump you up to go twelve rounds with Apollo Creed, then nothing will.
Lady Gaga’s romance with her piano ends badly as she topples to the floor and pokes her face.
How is Beiber’s voice so powerful? You can still hear him sing even when he drops the mic into the crowd!
They didn’t call The Who drummer Keith Moon “Moon the Loon” for nothing. In this vintage fail, Moon rigs his kit with explosive, without letting the rest of the band know. Moon took a cymbal to the arm, while poor Pete Townshend was left with permanent deafness in one ear!
Here, U2 guitarist The Edge sleepwalks his way through “Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” and over the side of the stage.
Does exactly what it says on the tin, this one. Guy dives off the stage. Fails.
No list of live entertainment fails would be complete without Jarvis Cocker’s infamous invasion of Michael Jackson’s overwrought performance of Earth Song at the Brits in 1996. Hint: skip to 5 minutes 8 seconds to get to the good bit.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our run down of our favourite live entertainment fails. Let us know in the comments if we’ve missed any classics. Although these mishaps can happen to anyone at any time, all the live performers on the Entertainment Nation books are true professionals: even if the worst should occur, they know exactly how to handle it without the audience ever noticing, just like good old Max Weinberg.