You may be grooving to your favorite singers’ tunes every time they come on the radio, but despite what it looks—or even sounds—like, their voices aren’t actually always that unique. Even if they are booking out arenas and selling millions of albums, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they can hit every single high note or perform perfect melisma. All it takes is a single live performance or appearance on a late night show to confirm that these singers have actually pretty average voices.
Here are the worst singers who are famous and we don’t know why:
34.) Taylor Swift
If we could give another two-word phrase for a synonym to pop star, it would without a doubt be Taylor Swift. The young lady’s fan base is simply crazy big. She has surprisingly amassed over 316 awards so far, and her relatable character made her a model that young teenagers (and even older moms) look up to. But how much does her vocal talent play into the equation? If you ask us: not that much.
Taylor Swift may not be a great singer, but she’s a business genius. She has tapped into the market of teenage girls who like country music and has worked her butt off to promote her music. But that’s where the catch is: when she was in her register, she sang pretty well, but as soon as she switched to pop, the transition didn’t go as well. She sometimes sings off-key and can’t hit accurate pitches. Like what happened on her hit song Shake It Off.
33.) The Black Eyed Peas
Who remembers the golden era of The Black Eyed Peas, when their music could be heard at any college party and club?
I don’t know if we paid attention to it at that time or if we were busy just busting our moves to I Gotta Feeling, but OMG, how can a song be so heavily auto-tuned?! A little help from music programs here and there had never harmed anyone, but when the digital tool becomes as prominent as any other band member—maybe even more important than some of them—that’s your cue that bad things are about to go down.
The Peas may not be the worst singers out there, but their songs, Just Can’t Get Enough and Boom Boom Pow, are dripping with digital effects of all kinds, and we’re done with those tricks.
Okay, we can’t talk about The Black Eyed Peas without mentioning Fergie.
Or rather, without mentioning the un-Fergalicious performance she gave when singing the National Anthem at the NBA All-Star Game last February. No one knew what had actually happened there. It was just… upsetting.
So we turned to the pros for a very much-needed explanation and vocal coach O’Neil Gerald delivered. He dissects the performance on his Youtube video and sheds light on the matter. O’Neil says that Fergie isn’t actually a bad singer, but she’s rather had “a really, really, really bad day with a bad arrangement.” A false vibrato made her “wobble out of pitch”, and there was a lot of “nasality” and “tongue tension” as well.
There you have it; the technical explanation we were all waiting for.
31.) Paris Hilton
Instead of asking yourself, “What does Paris Hilton actually do?”, it’s better to go for, “What doesn’t Paris Hilton do?”
The hotel heiress had a reality TV show with her BFF Nicole Richie, she wrote the best-sellers Confessions of an Heiress and Your Heiress Diary, launched her skin-care collection ProD.N.A and released a single called Stars Are Blind in 2006. These achievements might have been good commercial decisions, but artistically, there is a LOT to say.
The heavy use of auto-tune can only be overshadowed by the absolute lack of creativity in the video clip’s production. How can someone so rich produce a clip so cheap it looks like it was on a liberal arts student’s budget?!
We don’t know what’s sadder though: the less-than-average voice, the tacky music video, the uninspired cliché lyrics or the fact that it had reached number 18 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100.
From TiK ToK to Blah Blah Blah, many of Ke$ha’s songs are a perfect case of a flaky DIY auto-tune sessions.
Her music was so loaded with digital effects that the reputation of her not being able to sing stuck with her like a plague. She also has had a high-profile, bad performance, like C’mon on X Factor, that didn’t help her image. The singer has reportedly had enough of it and decided to do something about it.
Luckily for her, in some later performances, she sounded as good as on her records, and sometimes even received good acclamation from the public on her duet performance with Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips.
If only her former songs were held at that standard.
29.) Chris Brown
Long gone are the days where Chris Brown could entertain crowds of crying fans and full arenas. Even years after his domestic violence scandal with Rihanna, the R&B singer is still considered a disgraced former hit-maker.
We don’t really want to admit it, but Chris Brown sometimes has a pretty decent voice and can actually sing, but if there is one thing we hate more than the overuse of auto-tune, it’s the laziness of an artist. When he’s not lip-syncing or singing off-pitch, he somehow just forgoes his parts in a song and dances instead!
Yes, his dance moves might be sleek, but that doesn’t cover the fact that he is first and foremost a singer, before being a performer.
28.) Kanye West
Oh, Kanye. What to say? If you’re wondering how bad of a singer Kanye West is, we give to you his ambitious Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody cover on Glastonbury. It moved the crowds and the internet, only not in a positive way.
Prior to this performance, nearly 150,000 people signed a petition sent to the festival’s organizers to urge them to “cancel Kanye West’s headline and get a rock band.”
Looking for the person who brought auto-tune to the masses and gave it the universal appeal it has today? That’s T-Pain for you.
A digitized voice was the signature effect of T-Pain’s 2000s songs, but nowadays, he seems to be straying away from the trend. His Need ToBe Smokin live performance at the NPR music headquarters revealed an artist with good stage presence—not gonna lie—but with an average voice that doesn’t really belong on the top charts.
Pitbull is a mystery to all of us. He actually checks off all of the criteria of a talentless artist—can’t sing, can’t rap, can’t write—but he is still crazy popular. How on earth did the music industry come to this point? He has flagged himself with the title Mr. Worldwide and has come as far as to create his own record label. On what basis? We have absolutely no idea.
Our best guess is that it all started when his first album M.I.A.M.I. ranked #14 on the Billboard Hits in 2004. That’s when the singer built himself a name in the Miami Latin music scene. But the real breakthrough happened when JLo featured him in her super hit song On The Floor.
We all remember those times we jammed hard on the single, but if it weren’t for Jennifer Lopez’s groovy song we certainly wouldn’t be able to sit through Pitbull’s boring—yes, boring—voice, at all.
25.) Justin Bieber
When he first walked on to the music scene, people either loved him or hated him. His song, “Baby” released was auto-tuned and young girls went wild. It has over 9 million dislikes on YouTube, which is the most dislikes ever in the platform.
He has been criticized for not having creative lyrics and repeating words over and over again. As he’s gotten older, his songs have matured, but unfortunately there is still a lot of auto-tune.
24.) Rebecca Black
Who can forget “Friday?” In 2011, the song was released and it was a hit. However, many did not like the song’s tunes.
She has released music recently though, and critics seem to enjoy Rebecca’s newest music.
23.) Miley Cyrus
Miley Cyrus’s career launched after the hit “Hannah Montana” where she played a girl who was a regular girl by day, but a singer by night. She wanted to break her good girl Disney persona and launch her own music.
Her album, “Bangerz,” received backlash because it was auto-tuned.
22.) Katy Perry
As Katy Perry’s popularity has increased, her success makes us scratch our heads. When she sings live, we rather listen to her lip sync than attempt to sing a range of notes.
Despite a voice like that, Katy continues to book shows.
21.) Selena Gomez
Gomez is known for her acting, her time on Disney channel, and her infamous love life. When she first released her album, it hit #1 on the charts. We aren’t sure why the album was popular because her vocals were weak and the auto-tuned voice sounded fake.
Over the past few years, she is trying to build vocals up by taking lessons.
20.) Britney Spears
Britney Spears came on to the music scene in the late 1990s when pop music was at its peak. She was known for her baby voice, her dance moves, and her catchy lyrics. Later, it came out that her career was manufactured by her producers and record label.
When she sings live, she can no longer sing the baby voice, however, her fans still buy all of her albums.
Her songs are catchy and popular, but she has been criticized for failing on stage.
She has admitted in interviews that she has never taken a proper voice lesson. She just wings it.
18.) Ashlee Simpson
This pop singer had a short-lived career in the early 2000’s. What killed her career is being caught on “Saturday Night Live” lip syncing and the whole internet exploded with hate.
Since then, she has not been able to revive her career.
He is a famous producer of a variety of singers. He tested out the waters with his rap career and it bombed. His voice was auto-tuned and he was terrible when he sang live.
So he decided to stay behind the scenes since then.
16.) Mariah Carey
When she first started in the music industry, Mariah was praised for her vocal range. When she performed, she only had a few backup singers to help her out with the chorus and the books.
Now after over two decades, her voice just isn’t the same. Her vocal range is a distant memory.
15.) Hilary Duff
Every girl growing up in the 2000s loved Lizzie McGuire. When the show ended, Ms. Duff decided to transition into music. She got a lot of criticism from her fans.
Most people listened in horror when they heard some of her music.
14.) Adam Levine
Maroon 5 took the world by storm in 2002 when their first album was released. They won a few Grammys for this album! After listening to newer albums, people started to feel deja vu.
Adam has a basic singing voice and it’s like listening to the same song over and over again.
13.) Janet Jackson
Janet became a R&B icon when her self-titled debut album came out in 1982. Since that time, she gained a cult following. Fans will travel far to see her.
They will still love her, even if her singing is terrible. She does make catchy music, but her singing is weak.
12.) Jennifer Lopez
To say the least, Lopez’s music career has been thriving for many years. She writes catchy songs and the beat is always amazing. Unfortunately, this singer cannot hold a note.
Even though her singing isn’t any spectacular, she was a judge on American Idol.
11.) Carly Rae Jepsen
This singer got super popular a few years back when Call Me Maybe was released. Everyone was singing it because it was a catchy tune.
Unfortunately, this singer has not been able to top the same success. When she sings live, it’s painful to watch because her singing is lackluster.
10.) Lana Del Rey
This singer is known for her amazing hair and depressing lyrics. But Lana Del Rey is not famous for her singing voice.
She has even commented on her lacking singing ability in interviews before.
9.) Jason Derulo
In recent years, Jason Derulo had a few big hits. He cannot sing live though. When he gets onto the stage, his pitch is way off, he breathes too loud into the mic, and it is off key.
Most of his live performances are cringe-worthy.
8.) The Pussycat Dolls
At the beginning of their success, the Pussycat Dolls were known for their catchy tracks and dancing. Every woman in this group had a weak voice and they were just supporting the main star, Nicole Scherzinger.
Nicole is a classically trained singer while the other members were not.
Remember Me and You? Well, this was a great song, but it was her only hit.
People found out she cannot sing and stopped listening to her.
6.) Keyshia Cole
The singer, Keyshia Cole, was once popular in the R&B community. She was even compared to Beyonce. Since the popularity of R&B has declined recently, Cole has not been getting as much work as she would like.
Also, fans complained that her live performances are terrible. Her voice seems strained and not powerful enough.
5.) Bob Dylan
Yes, Bob Dylan has a wonderful voice for his songs.
His non-fans find his tone grainy and loose leaps from one note to another. People describe his voice as a combination of sand and glue. Yikes.
4.) Soulja Boy
This rapper is one of the most hated. He is criticized for having lazy lyrics, cheap beats, and an ego that is way too big.
He is so hated that rapper Ice-T accused Soulja Boy of killing hip-hop.
3.) Nicki Minaj
Before this rapper gained fame, Minaj had amazing reviews for her self-released mixtapes. This did not transfer to her studio albums.
Critics have said that she has boring lyrics and a high-pitched voice. A lot of her older fans want her to go back to her old roots.
2.) Yoko Ono
Known as the woman that broke up the Beatles, Yoko Ono tried to start a singing career.
However, she wasn’t talented. When she sang live, it didn’t end well.
1.) Lil Wayne
After releasing his 2008 album, Lil Wayne was considered the best rappers of all time. Then he took a fall from the top when he changed up his music. People said that he has had poor production values and basic lyrics.
The rapper was so desperate for something new that he created a rock-themed album.
These are the worst singers in Hollywood. What do you think of these singers? Are there others that should be on the list? Let us know in the comments! For more celebrity gossip, make sure to check our list of the 20 older celebrities that don’t look a day over 30!