It’s a much-repeated but oft’ forgotten fact that celebrities and famous pop stars ‘are human too’. They make mistakes, they forget lyrics, they trip and fall, they get sick, and they sometimes make poor judgment calls. Sometimes, they make really, really poor judgment calls. And of course sometimes, they just have bad luck.
When we average people make a mistake, there’s rarely anyone around to witness it and hold it against us, other than a few friends who might bring it back up as dinner party fodder in a few months’ time. Celebrities are not blessed with the luxury of relative anonymity. When a famous person suffers from an embarrassing – simply human – moment they have thousands, and then millions (thank you, Internet) of eyes on the moment, over and over again, and if it’s eventually forgotten by natural memory it can always be revisited at any time thanks to technological eternal archives.
Not every embarrassing celebrity moment is career-shattering – some are just plain funny and can actually serve to make them seem more likeable and relatable to the public. However, some celebrities can single-handedly, in a brief moment, ruin the reputation they have built while keeping people talking for quite some time…
10. Madonna – Superbowl
Madonna performed at the 2012 Super Bowl Halftime Show for the first time in her long and successful career, with a performance that didn’t really pop as it should have and basically fell flat – much like Madonna herself.
During a part of her performance – a performance that literally most of the world was watching – Madonna missed one of her steps and fell flat on her face. Although, she got back up pretty quickly, the fall seemed to throw her off her routine for the couple of minutes following the incident. The Super Bowl performance is not the show you want to be caught falling on, but thankfully most fans were sympathetic.
9. Zac Efron – Red Carpet
In 2012, Zac Efron voiced the character of Ted in the animated comedy Lorax, based on the children’s book by Dr. Seuss. At the red carpet premiere event for the film, Zac Efron clearly drops what is obviously a condom on the ground as he greets a fan. Looking a little embarrassed, Efron just smiled sheepishly, quickly picked it up, put his sunglasses on and continued with the event. The video soon went viral for some time after the premiere and fans were left in no doubt that the young Disney and High School Musical star wasn’t so sweet and innocent anymore.
8. Christina Aguilera – Funeral
In January of 2012, Christina Aguilera performed at soul singer Etta James’ funeral, but her beautiful vocals of Etta James’ classic “At Last” were overshadowed by a brownish-red liquid that started dripping down her legs. Aguilera’s voice was strong and she seemed unphased by this leakage, but video footage shows the star trying to wipe her legs several times throughout the performance. Reports suggest that this liquid was the result of a spray tan gone wrong and not the more obvious, less appealing alternative, but no matter what it is, it’s embarrassing to say the least.
7. Ashlee Simpson – SNL
Ashlee Simpson had a career-defining moment when she performed on Saturday Night Live in 2004, but not in the way she had hoped. She was scheduled to perform two of her songs, “Autobiography” and “Pieces of Me”. When the music for “Autobiography” began, Simspon’s vocals of “Pieces of Me” started to play before she even had the mic near her mouth. She looked at her drummer in panic, tried to shrug it off by awkwardly dancing, until giving up and running off stage – while an instrumental version of the song continued to play until SNL cut to commercial. Simpson has become infamous for her lip-syncing fail. She was invited back to SNL the following year – where she performed without glitches.
6. Fergie – Concert
Fergie has publicly stated that she’s still embarrassed about wetting her pants at a concert in 2005 and that she will never be able to live it down. At a Black-Eyed Peas concert in San Diego, Fergie could not control her bladder during their performance of “Let’s Get It Started.” While her reps tried to deny that this is what actually happened, Fergie eventually admitted to having a couple drinks before the show, but didn’t think of going to the bathroom before getting on stage. Factor that in with excitedly jumping around on stage and you’re definitely in for a disaster.
5. Justin Bieber – World Tour
On the first night of his world tour in September 2012, Justin Bieber showed off a little too much at his Arizona concert. Bieber seemed perfectly fine when he came on stage at the beginning of the show but while performing “Out of Town Girl” – which included running up and down stairs on set and dancing with back-up dancers – Bieber suddenly turned his back to the crowd and crouched over. Not only did he throw up on stage in front of all of his fans, he soon after had to run off stage for a second round. After apologizing to the crowd, the rest of the show went on pretty normally. Within the next days, Bieber attributed his getting sick to drinking too much milk and mixing it with pasta before the show.
4. Katy Perry – MTV Awards
In 2008, Katy Perry performed her hit “I Kissed a Girl” at the MTV Latin America Awards. Being Katy Perry, she had a giant frosted pink cake on stage with her. After dramatically belly flopping on to the prop cake (this part was intentional) the frosting of the fake cake was all over the stage. When Perry freed herself from the cake, she slipped and fell down on the slippery mess and couldn’t get back up – she eventually had to crawl her way backstage, where she was finally helped up and carried away.
3. Tom Cruise – Oprah Winfrey Show
Tom Cruise was an actor much known for his secrecy and desire to keep his private life private, until he appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show in 2005 and declared his love for Katie Holmes by jumping up on Oprah’s couch like a little kid. The couple had only been dating a month or so before Cruise’s Oprah appearance and were battling rumours that the relationship was nothing but a publicity stunt. What some might see as a genuine act of love and inability to contain his feelings, others see as an embarrassing outburst and an action that diminished his reputation as an actor to be taken seriously.
2. John Travolta – Oscars
John Travolta became the laughing stock of the internet immediately after he introduced Idina Menzel at the Academy Awards this year – pronouncing her name as something along the lines of “Adele Dazeem.” Travolta butchered Menzel’s name like no other has ever butchered someone’s name – to the point that now there is a “Travoltify” converter online where you can enter your name and get the confusing Travolta translation of it.
Travolta released a statement apologising for his embarrassing moment and said Menzel would say to just “Let it Go” – a nice play on the title of the song of that Menzel performed.
1. Janet Jackson – Superbowl
One of the most famous, most scandalous and most controversial moments in TV history was when Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake took the stage at the Halftime Show of the 2004 Super Bowl. Timberlake tore off part of Jackson’s clothes during the performance, but accidentally went too far – in what has been called a “wardrobe malfunction” – to expose Jackson’s full breast. The coverage only lasted for about half a second until both the performers and the broadcasting reacted to cover it up. This incident took over headlines all over the world and caused much controversy on the issue of TV censorship, leading to stricter censorship in the long run – not to mention practically defining Jackson’s mediocre career. Justin Timberlake, thankfully, was able to escape the stigma of this Super Bowl.