It was the most eye-opening moment in entertainment phoniness since we learned that Milli Vanilli didn’t really sing their songs. Or since we discovered that Britney Spears isn’t really a blonde. Or since it was revealed that Jenny From the Block really doesn’t want anything to do with the old hood.
When Ashlee Simpson wasn’t in sync with the song she was lip-synching on “Saturday Night Live,” the public had a Wizard-of-Oz-like-moment, a glimpse behind the curtain of faux entertainers.
The way our gal Ashlee handled it all was rather graceless. There was the bizarre Axl Rose-like jig, the walking off stage, and, of course, the unforgivable: lying about it and blaming her band.
We’d pay good money to hear Elton John rant on about this one. Fans rallied to Ashlee’s defense. Well, not exactly.
“I am throwing out your CD and deleting you from my computer,” ex-fan Carly wrote on the “Community Board” of Simpson’s Web site. “Do you think we are stupid? . . . I never felt this strongly about something and I am not the only one. Ashley you are a fake and you lost fans because you lied and cheated them.”
“How lame that you blamed your band WHEN THEY SAVED YOU’RE A--?” wrote “Everythingintime.” “People think you [stink] for lying not because of the ‘lip syncing’ thing.”
“Ash u've disappointed me,” wrote “Kwewest” “i personally think u should be dropped. . . . I know many of these artists like britney do the same thing and get away with it but u have to take the fall like Martha Stewart.”
Why do we care? Is it because she had the No. 1 song in the country? Is it because she is the marginally kid sister of another star who has rocketed on fame on a mediocre voice and reality show phoniness? Is it because the entertainment world has become so manufactured, so packed with pre-fab stars that it was gratifying to watch one of them get busted? Or is it because we have discovered something that we actually knew all along? It was as if we had all seen Star Jones’s wig fall off or one of Victoria Beckham’s fake breasts deflate: the deeply satisfying sensation of having our suspicions confirmed.
As with so many celeb foibles, there are lessons to be learned for us ordinary citizens.
1. Don’t fake it.2. Don’t lie to cover up a mistake.3. If you make a fool of yourself in public, don’t compound the problem by doing a jig.
But let’s not confuse this whole episode with the Milli Vanilli scandal. At least those two guys could dance.
Jeannette Walls is the celebrity gossip voice of MSNBC.com. She delivers Monday through Thursday.