Chin Up, Taylor: These Pop Stars Had Off Nights, Too!

In the days since Taylor Swift took the stage at the Grammys, a number of critics have poked fun at her sub-par performance. The negative press became so pervasive that yesterday, the president of Swift's record label, Big Machine's Scott Borchetta, went on the record defending her, saying that a technical issue during the live broadcast was partly to blame.

We can think of several other embarrassing musical performances caught on live TV. Remember these?

- Britney Spears at 2007's MTV Video Music Awards: This performance was hyped as a big comeback for Spears after a year of erratic behavior and personal drama. Instead, the former teen phenom took the stage bloated and dazed. Her missed cues, lackluster dancing and sluggish lip-synching were the talk of the VMA's. The explanation? Spears didn't offer one. Sources said she intended to stage a collaborative performance with hipster magician Criss Angel, but scrapped the plan at the last minute. Others blamed the debacle on substance abuse. 

- Beyonce's July 2007 concert in Orlando, Fla.: As a hard-driving dance beat pummeled the crowd, the R&B diva took a serious tumble down a long flight of stairs. She was professional enough to go on with the show, but bloggers had fun with the clip, which went viral. (The Grammy winner implored futilely from the stage, "Please, you all, do not put it on YouTube!" Nice try.) Later, on CNN, the star explained, "My heel actually got caught in the bottom of my coat."

- Janet Jackson at the 2004 Super Bowl: During a provocative duet with Justin Timberlake, Jackson's breast popped out (skeptics wondered if the shocker was choreographed when Timberlake reached for her bustier.) That year, the most watched television event became the most talked-about, and the ensuing damage control spawned that instantly infamous two-word excuse -- "Wardrobe malfunction." 

- Ashlee Simpson's 2004 appearance on SNL: Musical guest Simpson reportedly planned to lip-synch along with a backing track during the live broadcast. When her drummer cued the wrong track, she stood helplessly by while her voice sang lyrics without her. Exposed, she did an awkward jig for a few seconds, then ran off stage. After deafening howls of derision from music fans coast to coast, Simpson told MTV's TRL that her acid reflux disease acted up before her performance, causing her to lose her voice. "It's so embarrassing," she said. "The total situation was a bummer. I made a complete fool of myself."  

- Nirvana's Kris Novoselic at the 1992 VMA's: Kurt Cobain's bandmate threw his bass guitar in the air, only to have it fall back on his head. He landed in a heap, then ran off stage. On his Seattle Weekly blog, he wrote about the incident: "Nirvana gets introduced... I'm plugged into some awful bass rig that's distorting terribly. I can barely hear what I'm playing, and the tone deteriorates into an inaudible mess. F--k it... time for the bass-toss schtick. Up it goes!!!! I stumbled offstage toward the green room with my hands on my forehead. I walked straight into the bathroom and looked at a bloody forehead...." Ouch! Now that's a painful performance!

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Do you think Taylor Swift deserves the criticism? Chime in below


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