Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Lipped or Not: Mariah Carey "Top of the Mountain" concert

mariah ski suit ischgl

Already in Europe celebrating her Wedding anniversary, it was a short trip for Mariah Carey to make to get over to Ischgl, Austria, to perform at the Top of the Mountain concert to mark the closing of the ski season. Courtesy of Mariahjournal.com we have a few videos, one of Shake It Off and another of fan favourite, Without You, to share with readers.

While I wait for the other videos to make themselves known to the world via Youtube, I pose a simple question to you canny readers: were parts of these songs lipped, or were they entirely live?

Comment below with your reasons why you think either way.

UPDATE:  After hearing the rest of the concert let me now put my marker in the sand. Make It Happen  was a performance that was fully live, in my opinion, and it's the key to unravelling this conundrum. Note how the higher octave belts were rough and coarse, but full and with changeable dynamics. They contrasted greatly to the sustained and high belted notes of songs like Without You, Always Be My Baby and Shake It Off , which were light, crystal clear, but had the same constant volume to them and none of the hoarseness. This is where I think the backing track took over for Mariah. If she was singing those parts live, then why were the Make it Happen belts so markedly different in tone and timbre?

The reason for her (alleged) use of a backing track on certain tracks and not others I don't understand, but the contrast between belting in performances was so great I can't believe she was responsible for all the vocals on the day.

But whatever, it sounds like she's becoming more experimental with her voice and having much more fun on stage- listen to the end of I'll Be There  or the way she played around with the melody in My All- and that makes me happy! It's about time Mariah Carey let her hair down and started enjoying herself: she's got nothing more to prove to anyone.

mariah carey animated gif

Without You:

Shake It Off:



Underneath The Stars:

Make It Happen:

I'll Be There:

Always Be My Baby:

It's Like That:

We Belong Together:

Love Hangover/Heartbreaker

My All

Touch My Body


  1. I'm pretty sure without you was 100% live but I still think that like before- the end of shake you off is lipped. It sounds oddly perfect just like the last performance of it. I don't think any of her real performances ever showcased the exact same vocal until recently.

  2. I think both are sung live, First one she smiles at some point and you can hear that in the voice. Also can hear the walking up and down in the breathing. The breathing is in sink with the movement.  But I am wondering if she is also one of the taped background voices? Sometimes that tape drowns out her lead vocals and if one of the taped voices is hers that might give at that moment the illusion of lip synching? Just a possible theory.
    Was this high up? And does that altitude have an effect on the singing?

  3. What I want to know is why you think it was lipped? 

  4. Jason Nicoson1 May 2012 at 04:54

    Mariah Carey is a legend, she can pretty much do whatever she wants. She's earned it, she's been a workaholic for most of her life making good music and is a sweet soul and the most respectable body of work in the history of music. She doesn't need to be judged harshly with her track record in any way.

  5. Well....

    1. Mariah is looking incredible the more often I see her in recent times!

    2. Without You is clearly live, her voice sounds slightly thinner? I like how she plays with the melody. As for Shake it off, I am a little bit more suspicious there, it sounds like a frew versions I have heard before. But I don't care, she is on stage and rocking it lol

    3.In comparison to her March performances I think she sounded slightly weaker, but I am going to blame that on the performance being outside in the cold and her voice diffusing more. Just glad to have her back - my main grievance is not hearing any new material lol (my darned impatience lol)

  6. Just because you are a legend does not mean you can just go around doing whatever you want. In fact if a legend were to go around lip syncing like she has, then they are inclined to even more criticism than a usual pop star. It leads to speculation of loss of talent or ability and the whole point of performing live is to put on a show and to show off the talent you have to entertain your audience. When you lip sync you are giving a false performance and are basically cheating a crowd out of their money. They are no longer paying for the artist. They're paying hundreds for the track that would cost about $1 if it were released as a single.

  7. Jason Nicoson1 May 2012 at 15:25

    What I'm saying is it's Mariah Carey, she's a pro, whatever she does she's doing it for a reason. In her career she never gave herself many vocal rests in between albums/touring ect because she cares about giving her fans music. People would pay more than hundreds of dollars just to see Mariah talk. Plus she's been through a lot this year with her husband's rare disease and now her sisters liver cancer. Even legends aren't perfect 10% of the time and that's ok. I love how you seek 100% perfection 100% of the time when that is 100% not possible.

  8. Jason Nicoson1 May 2012 at 15:28

     What I'm saying is it's Mariah Carey, she's a pro, whatever she does
    she's doing it for a reason. In her career she never gave herself many
    vocal rests in between albums/touring ect because she cares about giving
    her fans music. People would pay more than hundreds of dollars just to
    see Mariah talk. Plus she's been through a lot this year with her
    husband's rare disease and now her sisters liver cancer. Even legends
    aren't perfect 100% of the time and that's ok. I love how you seek 100%
    perfection 100% of the time when that is 100% not possible.

  9. Like any of her performances, the hard vocal parts are lipped. Even her live singing sounds off due to the cold air... Mariah really should not have taken this gig, it's far below the standard she gave us at Gotham Hall where she sounded INCREDIBLE.

  10.  I really don't agree. What is your argument for saying it was lip synced "at the hard parts"?

  11. Well she is a singer and people have the right to judge her if she is giving awful performances. It doesn't matter if you're a legend or something.

    Suppose in a job, you have been performing well for 25 years but now that you're older your performance has clearly declined. Will your bosses excuse that because you are a legend? No, your ass will eventually get fired. LOL

  12. Jason Nicoson1 May 2012 at 20:16

     It's definitely not an awful performance and if she does have an "awful" performance she's still Mariah Carey at the end of the day and is STILL very talented and has reputation for people not believing in her and her bouncing back. It's the haters problems if they want to constantly give up on someone who has constantly proven herself over and over. They try so hard too.

  13. Mariah Carey has the most respectable body of work in the history of music??? That's highly debatable. 

  14. Jason Nicoson1 May 2012 at 20:56

     Well I feel strongly about that opinion but at the same time if you disagree I'm totally fine with that. If you're more oldschool or more rock and roll or whatever for instance you might say Elvis or The Beatles have the best body of work and if you think that, that's fine but one thing is for damn sure: there's no CURRENT artist out that has a better body of work than MC.

  15.  LOL Oh yes there are...a lot of artists in fact. Of course that is somewhat dependent on what exactly your specs are for "respectable body of work"? Are you talking bulk or salesnumbers or critical acclaim or chart success? Can you give a more elaborate description of what constitutes a "respectable body of work" to you?

  16. Jason Nicoson1 May 2012 at 22:03

     Clearly it doesn't matter to what what I mean by respectable body of work since you're so quick to disagree with something you don't even understand so I'm gonna say thanks but no thanks and that it's my opinion, if you want to name your artists that you think have a stronger body of work go head.

  17.  Well, like I said Jason, for me to name examples it would help if you were able to be more specific, You see, there are so many more in such different areas of music. From Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan, Lucinda Williams Robert Plant, Barbra Streisand, Burt Bacharach, Dionne Warwick, BB King, Tina Turner, Kate Bush, Peter Gabriel, U2. Paul mcCartney, Paul Simon, James Taylor, Quincy Jones, Jerry Douglas, Tony Rice, Paco de lucia and my personally favorite 27 Grammies winning Alison Krauss. I am sure I can come up with many more musical artists but since you DID mmanage to refine your definition to "current", I went with these one or two examples which I personally like. I am sure others can come up with a few more names.

    There IS, Jason a fine line between stating an opinion and pretending to state a fact. :)

  18. Jason Nicoson1 May 2012 at 22:49

     I didn't redefine my statement, I made 2 different statements: "Mariah Carey has the most respectable body of work in the music of history and if you disagree that's fine" And "If you want to disagree it would be even harder to disagree if you compare her body of work with current artists". You haven't said anyone that stands out more than Mariah and you failed to give your one or two examples of current artists that have a better body of work than Mariah. There is a fine line and I'm ok with that, like I said you can disagree if you want and you did and your rebutal was a complete hot mess of just naming random artists. You had absolutely no focus in your answer. If you don't know what body of work is that's just sad. IT'S ALL THE ARTISTS SONGS THEY'VE DONE.

  19.  You actually said "there's no current artist out there" in reply to Hannah's  response. I did not say REdefine, I said define. Perhaps you should read before flying off in a huff?
    And seriously, I think I refuted your statement quite sufficiently but of course, if you have no idea of the body of work of the artists I mentioned, you can continue to stake your claim . :) Though I dare say it demonstrates quite a staggering ignorance regarding music and it's history for someone making such a bold statement on the history of music.

  20. Jason Nicoson1 May 2012 at 23:29

    Opie Ever I didn't redefine or refine my statement, yes I know what I said to Hannah. I just went over that. I made 2 seperate statements. I'll say it again since it didn't compute in your brain: Mariah Carey has the most respectable body of work in the music of
    history and if you disagree that's fine" And "If you want to disagree it
    would be even harder to disagree if you compare her body of work with
    current artists.
    So you disagree and you never named the current artists you said you named so at this point I don't care what you have to say anymore because you don't have anything interesting to say which I knew you wouldn't since you disagreed without even knowing what I was talking about.

  21. Always the same crap. People, deal with the fact that Mariah is not lipping. Why didin't you post all Celine Dion's playback performances on Jamica festival? Fuck off!!!

  22. Always the same crap. People, deal with the fact that Mariah is not lipping. Why didin't you post all Celine Dion's playback performances on Jamaica festival? Fuck off!!! Leave Mariah alone.

  23.  Jason you are being a bit of an ass.
    I named a whole list of current artists whose body of work is as big and in many cases bigger than MC's  Whether you're talking about the amount of songs/ albums, critical acclaim or peer acclaim and in several cases sales numbers. Do I really need to post the stats on each of the names on that list? Fact of the matter is, you are lazy( or you would have bothered to look up those names) and ignorant ( because anybody who doesn't know most of these names is pretty ignorant regarding music history) and ridiculously argumentative without ever backing up your factual claim. Because you DID make a factual claim.
    Next time, try adding "that I know off" and that way we all understand immediately that you are expressing an opinion formed on little to no actual knowledge.

    And you still fail to understand that I full well understood what you said and thought it was so out there inaccurate, I choose to give you an opportunity to refine your words to where they are at least defensible. I find it genuinely a shame you rather put me down aggressively than honestly discuss and exchange opinions.
    I mean, I enjoy a good fight as much as a good conversation but given a choice, I'd prefer the latter.

  24. Jason Nicoson2 May 2012 at 00:06

     Coming from someone who disagreed without understanding no thank you and coming from someone who tried to put dionne warwick's body of work up against mariah carey I just don't have interest in hearing or sharing with you on the subject because you are on such a different page. So just be ok with that and move on.

  25. HAHA. It's funny how people take criticism of their favorite artist so personally. 

    Who cares if Celine used a playback? It's irrelevant, we're talking about Mariah. 

  26.  Way to continue ignoring arguments and continuing with the insults instead. I agree, I should really "move on". You  clearly did before you even made your first post here. Please though, before I do, explain to a poor ignorant poster why Dionne's body of work is less "respectable" than MC's?

  27. Jason Nicoson2 May 2012 at 00:30

    You act like I'm hitler when in fact I specifically said you can disagree if you want but YOU made it impossible to just disagree amicably YOU DID. Reread the conversation from the beginning if you have to. You shot down my thoughts without understanding and that's when the conversation had no chance of being amicable because that $hit doesn't make any sense to shoot down a thought and not understand it.

  28.  "Hitler"??? You seriously provoked that name just now? Well, you know what that means in internet arguing...you just lost! :-b

  29. Jason Nicoson2 May 2012 at 00:49

     There are no rules. If there were you would have been eliminated when you put Dionne Warwick up against Mariah Carey. At least you're funny, even if its not on purpose.

  30.  Dionne Warwick 62 albums
    Warwick ranks second only to Aretha Franklin as the most-charted female vocalist with 56 singles making the Billboard Hot 100 between 1962 and 1998. 5 Grammies

  31.  Hate to burst your bubble but that was actually on purpose. In fact, I am of the opinion it was the most purposefully funny comment in music history.Well CURRENT history for sure. BUT if you are willing to put any of your statements on music history up against that claim...I am most willing to concede defeat.

  32. Jason Nicoson2 May 2012 at 01:03

     Sarcasm doesn't win fights buddy. You're still not saying anything interesting, you haven't this entire time.

  33. Jason Nicoson2 May 2012 at 01:05

     Ok now you're talking about quantity over quality, just stop. You sound really stupid.

  34. Thanks for the extra videos DD. I haven't had a chance to listen to them all yet, but Hero is (apart from one possible lipsynched line I think at 1.11) live. I know y'all are Mimi fans but that number does not sound great...a bit flat and her voice seems to be occasionally cutting out. Did she have a cold or something? I agree with everyone who says that must be a v hard environment to sing in...singing outside in the snow with all that cold air about must be a nightmare!

  35. Willie Nelson recorded over 60 studio albums, Kennedy center honoree, 10 Grammies, widely considered an American Icon.

    Bob Dylan: As a songwriter and musician, Dylan has received numerous awards over the years including Grammy, Golden Globe, and Academy Awards; he has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, and Songwriters Hall of Fame. The Pulitzer Prize jury in 2008 awarded him a special citation for "his profound impact on popular music and American culture, marked by lyrical compositions of extraordinary poetic power."In April 2012, President Obama named Dylan as a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
    70 albums ,11 Grammies,

    Barbra Streisand: 60 albums, With fifty-one gold albums, she is second in the all-time charts, ahead
    of The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, exceeded only by Elvis. Has the widest span (46 years) between first and latest Top 10 albums
    of any female recording artists or act and she holds the record for most
    Top 10 albums by female performers. She holds the record for the second-most #1 albums world-wide by a female artist (13), behind Country music star Reba McEntire
    One of the few entertainers who have won an Oscar, Emmy, Grammy, and Tony Award. 11 Grammies

    Paul mcCartney : listed in The Guinness Book Of Records as the most successful musician and composer in popular music history with sales of 100 million singles and 60 gold discs. 14 Grammies.
     His and Lennon's song Yesterday has been played more than 7,000,000 times on American television and radio.

    Doc Watson: 76 albums, 7 Grammies plus a life time achievement Grammy and National Medal of Arts

    Jerry Douglas: Called "Dobro's matchless contemporary master," by The New York Times, and lauded as "my favorite musician" by John Fogerty, Douglas is one of the world’s most renowned musicians.In addition to his thirteen solo recordings, Douglas has played on more than 1600 albums
    13 Grammy award. In 2004, the National Endowment for the Arts awarded Douglas a National Heritage Fellowship.

    Alison Krauss: 14 albums, 27 Grammies won out of 41 nominations, the most awarded singer and the most awarded female artist in Grammy history.At the time of her first award, at the 1991 Grammy Awards, she was the second youngest winner ever (currently tied as third youngest)Has been credited with influencing various "Newgrass" artists.
    The Recording Academy (which presents the Grammy Awards) presented her with a special musical achievement honor in 2005 ( at the age of only 34).

    Now exactly how do you want to argue Mariah Carey's to be "the most respectable body of work in history of music" Jason?

  36. I agree that it's a slightly strange gig for her to take...no dancers, no decent lights etc, it all looks rather amateur, for instance what is that guy doing onstage with her mic pack at the end of 'We belong together'? LOL! At least there are some live musicians with her. I can only imagine it was v well paid, and I suppose it's great that she's performing again, no matter where the event.

  37. I'd like to add that I am not "bashing" Mariah. She blew my mind the very first time I heard her sing on the Arsenio Hall show and I said right there and then  "this girl is better than Whitney" and I still think she is an awesome singer. Her choice of material is not to my taste but nothing bad against Mariah.  and since she has proven time and again to sound awesome live- like that first time I heard her, I wouldn't hold it against her to opt for lip synching under these circumstances. Though I really think she didn't on those original two videos.

    My previous comment went solely to Jason's extremely debatable statement.

  38.  Yes the quantity of most singles being sold enough to make her the most charted female vocalist who also happened to have a greater quantity of albums made and equals the quantity of times the folks at the Grammies voting ( which are btw voted on by fellow recording artists) deemed Mariah's recording the best of the year.

  39. And Jason, I didn't even mention Dolly Parton's career achievements yet. ;) But Imma gonna, just to really drive the point home...
    over 62 albums plus 24 compilation albums, All inclusive sales of singles, albums, collaboration records,
    compilation usage, and paid digital downloads during Parton's career
    have reportedly topped 174 million records around the world, most successful country artist ever, 45 Grammy nominations of which 8 won, also nominated for two Academy awards and one Tony award, a star on the Hollywood walk of fame, the Living Legend Medal by the U.S. Library of Congress on April 14, 2004, for her contributions to the cultural heritage of the United States followed in 2005 with the National Medal of Arts, the highest honor given by the U.S. government for excellence in the arts and is presented by the U.S. President.And in 2006 the Kennedy Center Honor .
    On a tribute album to Dolly, Melissa Etheridge, Norah Jones, Alison Krauss, Sinead o Connor and Me'Shell NdegéOcello paid tribute to her.

  40. its not irrelevant when this blog only talks about Mariah Carey as if she was the only one who lips. All the Celine's playback performances on Jamaica Festival are all over the internet but the blog only posts bad things about Mariah. Why not Celine's? Gaga's? Madonna's?

  41. Well DD is a big Mariah fan, so expect a lot of posts on her. And this article is not bad. It's simply a question to the readers: do you think Mariah liped or not? DD does not attack Mariah in this post. He doesn't even say lipping is a bad thing and he acknowledges that most of the performance was live. There are plenty of posts about other singers lipping, there are posts on Jennifer Lopez, Madonna, Beyonce, and Cheryl Cole that are all about lip syncing. Instead of getting upset, try stating why you think she did not lip sync. 

  42. I totally missed that performance until a couple of months later. But I don't understand why people take it so personally. I never said it was a fact, just stating my opinion. Neither of us can be 100% if it was live or partially lipped.  

    Besides I've commented on other singers miming, and its interesting you commented about Celine because I've read a lot, recently, about her lipping the top notes, so was waiting for a new performance to post on it. Besides you can't call me out for not picking up on others lipping and then get on my case when I speak about mariah doing so, its hypocritical.Life is so much more fun if people would just chill out. Its just singing. Have an opinion, sure, but don't ruin your mood over it.  Save your  passion for burning issues like poverty, injustice, local government or the environment. They need it more. 

  43. I agree, especially with the last part. I in no way say my opinion is more weighted than anyone else's. If you don't agree with the lipping then just tell me why.  People can read it, just as they read my post, and come to their own conclusions. It might even change my mind. See stuey's post at the start or opie's. They disagrees with me, and say why.

  44. I would assume that the altitude, and the cold would have an affect. But saying that, Trey Lorenz was singing just as beautifully in the same set of conditions, so I'm not sure

  45. See I think the thinning is where it was lipped, especially when its contrasted to the gruff belts in make it happen. The mystery of Mariah. Quick call jess, she'll get to the bottom of this


  46. very touching. I almost shed a tear.
    YOU NEVER posted ANYTHING bad about others singers playback performances. It's only Mariah's.

  47. no more talking here. I don't know why I even try.

  48. http://www.divadevotee.com/2011/09/jennifer-lopez-performs-at-iheartmusic.html


  49.  I haven't heard this Trey but I see now that what I took to be an accidental drowning out of her live voice by the backing track, you think might be on purpose?
    Coming from listening to a whole different genre, I was totally not aware this kind of thing was a practice in pop music these days.Back when I was still listening a lot to pop, it was , I seem to remember, sung all live or all lipped.:)
    Anyway, I agree that at some points the track does drown out the live voice. I find it impossible to figure whether this is an accident or on purpose.

  50. Ahhh please do! she will solve al, failing that Dick Van Dyke pmsl

  51. If anything, it's a compliment to Mariah - when other people are lip-synching, it's normally very obvious.
    So Mariah is either:
    1) Such a good live singer that parts of it don't even sound live
    2) Miming/lip-synching so cleverly that we're not sure if she's doing it or not.

  52. You need Columbo. He knew just how to deal with Divas. The thought of Mimi fretting whilst he blows cigar smoke in her face makes me laugh.

  53. Im surprised she decided to touch Emotions seeing as she hasn't done a great performance of it in years.

  54. Hahaha but not Frost....he would be to hard on my MC...and please no sick pun intended there people! I know how your minds work...

  55. Indeed, but having read and watched the remaining posts here, I am inclined to think that she was defo lipping parts of the songs. Not 100% of them but the trickier parts - yes.

    I also agree with your conclusion there, if we all agreed on everything and all was rosy in the garden life would be as much fun as diving into a pit of enraged vipers...debates and discussions make life interesting, and can make the debated data itself clearer and more consise!

  56. Honestly, it was her camel toe that stole the show. http://imgur.com/GFzTn

  57. Oh and Without You was definitely lipped at the chorus and the bridge. They don't call her miming Mimi for nothing. She even did her classic "Turn head away from audience and cover face and mouth with hair"  technique, which is usually indicative of her miming a song. I'm no vocal expert but the tone between the chorus and the verses varied too much for her not to be miming the chorus. Also, she was changing up the melody throughout the verses, but preserved the original studio recording melody for the chorus. On the performances where she actually sang live she seemed to change up the melody (We Belong Together). It just seems too coincidental IMO. I really don't understand why Mariah stans find it so hard to believe that she mimes, when it has been clear on numerous occasions. She isn't the first artist to do this, nor will she be the last. IMO, she should just plow though her songs, flaws and all, because people are paying to see her sing live and THAT is what they deserve. But I digress. These are MY opinions, so please don't take offense to anything that I have written. 

  58. Dancingdarkribbon6 May 2012 at 10:33

    Although I don't mean to throw much of a wrench into your thought DD, for some reason, Mariah's belts can alternate with their textures. I went to the Angel's Advocate tour and, some of the songs where she used more coarser/rawrer belts (It's A Wrap) are preformed alongside with more clear belts (Hero, HATEU as I was the lucky one who went to the Oakland show!). I think this might be because of age and how Make It Happen is preformed in general. In comparison to Hero, Always Be My Baby, etc. the vocals aren't as smooth. They sound a bit rougher, and that's from a recording from 1992. 

    Undoubtably, she is lip syching at some parts. But, high altitudes and snow + thinner oxygen might have been a contributor (Along with...her deciding to lip lol). I suppose it doesn't impact much - she's still a fantastic singer and still has it after all of these years. Her voice has suffered a little wear and tear thanks to the belts, the age and the drinks, but one of those is getting cured so I think her vocals might be getting more clearer at this part. I still can't believe it when people state her voice is in shambles now. 

    Thank you for the post, DD. 

  59. I did think about if she was able to alternate between the two textures, i just can't understand why she would chose to sing "Make it happen" so gruffly if she didn't have to. But then on the flip side, why not lip the tough notes on that too. Something to think about ! Thanks for your well thought out and reasoned response, Dancingdarkribbon .

  60. I can not in good conscience approve your other message, lol!

  61. Dancingdarkribbon6 May 2012 at 22:32

    No worries :) I think they're gruffy because of age. Make It Happen already has some roughish vocals as I noted. The belts aren't as smooth sounding as they do in other songs just in recordings. Perhaps her attempts to stay close to the roughish-but-still-clearish belts just fell flat because of her age or the fact that the oxygen is noticeably thinner in higher altitudes. Oh well! If I ever see her live, I'll be sure to record and send the results (:

  62. LOL at you cutting the picture..I see why you did that

  63. LOL Aww some of the other blogs I read have readers/bloggers with humor that is a bit vulgar. I couldn't help myself hahahaha. 

  64.  Damn! Now you guys got my mind set on trying to imagine what WAS in that other message. ;D

  65. LOL It was a link to a photo that uhh... accentuated her moose knuckle. That's really what stole the show. haha

  66.  Thanks Mel, for giving my imagination a break. ;)
    I understand much is allowed here but not too sexual a reference.

  67. I also think she's better than Whit :)