Watch Smarter

How to Tell If a Singer Is Lip-Syncing

It’s all in their movements.

Watch Smarter is Slate’s series that teaches you to spot hidden tropes in pop culture and beyond. Watch all episodes.

Few things are more gratifying than calling out world-famous pop stars for lip-syncing their shows. But how can you tell? Sometimes it’s obvious (like when Freddie Mercury sings with the mic flung behind his shoulders), but sometimes it’s a little more tricky. Maybe their lip movements are mismatched by just a tiny bit. Maybe the incredible encore sounded questionably close to the studio version.

In this episode of Watch Smarter, Slate’s video series that spots and deconstructs tropes in pop culture, we offer some tips and visual clues to detect whether your favorite singer is lip-syncing in concert. Either way, remember the performance will probably still be spectacular.