Don't Rain on My Parade: Thanksgiving Day Parade Fallout

Who doesn’t love waking up on Thanksgiving morning and turning on the Macy’s Day Parade? It’s a tradition in our house, even as adults. The clowns, the floats, the marching bands, the performers, and of course, Santa. What could possibly go wrong with an almost 3-mile long moving performance that goes on live, with most of the nation tuned in to watch? Well, plenty.

Let’s be clear: No one expects stars to be singing live during the parade. The technical aspects are monumental — creating a live mix for the people at the parade, another feed for the TV broadcast, and giving the performers the precise balance of sound that they need to hear in order to perform. So, almost everyone is lip-syncing. It’s a pretty simple process: the pre-recorded song is played back to the TV feed, the live audience, and the performer’s headset. They just have to sing along. Easy as pumpkin pie.

Or not so easy, apparently for British pop-star Rita Ora. Bundled up to stay warm during the coldest temps ever for the parade, she obviously missed starting to sing when the prerecorded voice track first started. Okay, fine. She missed her cue. But when she started "singing," it was clear that something was very wrong. Literally, marching to the beat of a different drum. The camera quickly stayed away from her face, but it was obvious that she was singing to a completely different feed.

While the Internet was quick to attack, John Legend was the voice of reason, tweeting, “Fun fact. We all have to lip sync on this parade because the floats don't have the capacity to handle the sound requirements for a live performance. Hope y'all enjoyed it anyway. Know that if you come to my shows, the vocals are 100% live!”

Ora thanked Legend for stepping in to defend her. “Fun fact @johnlegend thank you for clarifying what I was about to also tweet. It’s annoying for us but anyway! All my shows are 100 percent live always have been! When you come to a ORA show get ready! Back to holidays! Have a good one guys!”

Macy’s quickly apologized about the lip-sync debacle too. “During today’s NBC broadcast of the #MacysParade several recording artists experienced technical difficulties that negatively impacted their performance. We apologize and want fans to know these issues were out of the artist’s control.” It should be noted that Kelly Clarkson and a few others who performed from the ground, not on a moving float, took a chance and sang live.

Lots of things can go wrong in a live broadcast. Sometimes, however, things go amazingly right. Early in the parade, the camera would catch a woman who was positioned just behind the main performance area. As soon as she knew the camera was on her, she jumped into her Milly Rock moves — nailing them, by the way. It was first noticeable behind Ashley Tisdale, but also behind quite a few others. Her real name is Aliza Kantor, “Leezy Kay” on twitter. Her dance moves stole the show — and luckily, distracted us from the multiple lip-syncing errors.

Parades are meant to be fun escapes from reality. No one believes the balloons are anything real, the giant turkey that leads the parade is fake, and well, the jolly man at the back of the parade may or may not be the real Santa Claus. There are enough fake things in this world to complain about — let’s leave parades out of it.

Here’s hoping you all had a pleasant Thanksgiving and a prosperous Black Friday. Now go spend the rest of today enjoying Cyber Monday.