Pop Culture

Simpson opts for extra help because of acid reflux

If Ashlee Simpson’s stomach was upset Saturday night, imagine how she’s feeling now.

The 19-year-old singer was busted for a “Saturday Night Live” lip-synch gone awry, with her manager-father saying Monday that his daughter used the extra help because acid reflux disease had made her voice hoarse.

“Just like any artist in America, she has a backing track that she pushes so you don’t have to hear her croak through a song on national television,” Joe Simpson told Ryan Seacrest on Los Angeles radio station KIIS-FM. “No one wants to hear that.”

He said she’s never used the extra help before.

Ashlee Simpson appeared on NBC’s “Radio Music Awards” Monday night. Before she sang a song from her hit album, host Carson Daly reassured the audience they were getting a live performance.

“Live, yes, live,” he said.

Earlier, in an interview on MTV’s “Total Request Live,” Simpson said that “the whole situation was a bummer.”

Simpson had performed her hit single “Pieces of Me” without incident earlier on “SNL.” When she came back a second time, her band started playing and the first lines of her singing “Pieces of Me” could be heard again.

She was holding her microphone at her waist at the time. Simpson looked momentarily confused as the band plowed ahead with the song and the vocal was quickly silenced.

A flustered Simpson made some exaggerated hopping dance moves, then walked off the stage.

She told “TRL” that she and her band didn’t know what to do. “I think all of us went into a state of shock,” she said.

Simpson poked fun at herself during Monday’s awards show. When her band started playing, she screamed, “It’s the wrong song!”

Seconds later, she told the crowd: “Only kidding.”

Saturday’s incident exposed what many consider an obvious secret: that some singers who appear onstage aren’t singing live at all, or at least have their voices augmented by backing tracks. And it’s happened before on “Saturday Night Live,” too, executive producer Lorne Michaels told the Associated Press.

“She was mortified and in her dressing room, but (producer) Marci (Klein) got her to come out for goodnights and explained that it wasn’t the end of the world. It wasn’t her fault,” Michaels told AP Radio.

“Every artist that I know in this business has had vocal problems at some time — from Celine on down,” said Joe Simpson, also father of Jessica Simpson. “So you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.”

He said it was his decision to use the tapes when it became apparent that acid reflux disease had swollen Ashlee’s vocal cords. After consulting Wayne Newton’s doctor, she received a cortisone shot to get her ready for the “Radio Music Awards,” he said.

It was the band’s drummer who pushed the wrong button onstage, he said.

Said Michaels: “If she were a more seasoned performer then I think that she would’ve taken charge and said, ‘No, let’s start this over again.”’

To add to Ashlee’s indignity Monday, eBay.com was auctioning off her private cell phone number, which it said had been inadvertently, and briefly, posted on her Web site.

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