Uh, What’s That Line Again? Artists Who Forgot Their Lyrics While Performing

August 4, 2014  |  
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A temporary brain freeze can happen to the best of us. But unfortunately these artists were on the stage performing when they just couldn’t remember the words to their songs.

Chaka Khan

Legendary singer Chaka Khan was tapped to perform on the Wendy Williams’ show for the gossip queen’s 50th birthday and took to the stage to sing one of her greatest hits, “Every Woman.” But it must’ve been a long time since she sang that song because Khan forgot some of the lyrics to the words and chose to scat to cover her momentary memory loss. When she returned to perform “Ain’t Nobody” Khan did much better and remembered all of the words.

Jay Z

Out of nowhere Jay Z announced that he was dropping a brand new album for his fans. Following its release, the Brooklyn rapper went on the “Holy Grail Magna Carta” tour. Performing across the pond in Manchester, Jay Z forgot the lyrics to “No Church In The Wild.” Hov took several uncomfortable pauses in mid-verse while trying to remember his raps. Like a vet, he powered through the song anyway.

Toni Braxton

Toni Braxton normally puts on a good show but back in 2008, a Boston audience might not have agreed. The Grammy-winning singer took to the stage and almost immediately there was an issue with her microphone. It was swapped out with diva diamond studded microphone but the audience still struggled to hear Braxton. It may have had something to do with her forgetting the lyrics to her chart-topping song “Unbreak My Heart.” Braxton fumbled through the words and then asked the crowd to sing along with her.

Miley Cyrus

Before Miley Cyrus started tongue wagging and twerking her way up and the stage, the former Disney star was still trying to distance herself from her child star wholesome image and rebrand herself as a singer. Back in 2009, Cyrus appeared on “Ant and Deck’s” variety show to perform her song “Fly On The Wall.” There was just one problem. Cyrus forgot the lyrics and had to stumble through her own song.

Sheryl Crow

Sheryl Crow may forget the lyrics to her songs but at least she’s honest about it. Several years ago the country singer was performing in St. Petersburg, FL when her brain stopped working — or so she put it. Singing one of the biggest hits of her career, Crow forgot the lyrics to “Soaking Up The Sun.” Totally owning up to her mistake, Crow asked the crowd, “Oh, what’s the words?” She had the perfect excuse for forgetting the lyrics: “I’m 50 what can I say! My brain has gone to s**t!”


Adele came from across the pond “Rolling In The Deep” several years ago and instantly had a huge fan base here in the U.S. The UK songstress has sold out her shows with outstanding performances but a Boston crowd once witnessed Adele forget her lyrics entirely. She was performing “Chasing Pavement” at the House of Blues back in 2011 and when she couldn’t remember the words, she took it from the top and did the whole song over again.


As the frontman for the Black Eyed Peas, Will.i.am became a star in his own right. Forging out a solo career, he’s also produced hits for some of the biggest names in music. With perhaps too much music on his mind, Will.i.am was making an appearance with the Black Eyed Peas on the French television show “Taratata” performing “Don’t Stop The Party” when he forgot the lyrics. There’s no shame in Will.i.am’s game because he whipped out his phone and recited the words from there.


Pop star Pink offered up a huge apology to her fans after she drew a blank on stage. The singer took her Funhouse Carnival show on the road and went overseas on tour. Making a stop in Belfast, the pop diva was off her game throughout the whole show. She mumbled through several songs but the audience still demanded an encore. Afterwards, Pink thanked the audience then went on twitter to apologize. “Belfast!!! I was so weird tonight!!!! but YoU LoT WERE AMAZING! I will work on remembering the words, promise :)xoxoxoxo beautiful place too.”

Justin Bieber

Who could ever forget the words to a classic holiday song? Justin Bieber could and did. The Canadian heartthrob was performing at “The Today Show” for the holidays and was singing the classic song “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town” when he forgot the words. He hummed through the parts he didn’t know but this wasn’t the first time Biebs drew a blank on stage. He’s clammed up on stage several times throughout his young career including forgetting the words at the 2012 Jingle Ball where he was booed by the crowd.

Nick Jonas

There’s nothing like forgetting the words to a song while performing in front of a televised auditorium full your peers. That’s exactly what happened to Nick Jonas when he was performing with Stevie Wonder and his brothers at the Grammys in 2009. They performed their smash hit “Burnin Up” before launching into Wonder’s “Superstition” and that’s when Jonas had a temporary mind lapse. This wasn’t his first time either. While performing in Texas, the youngest Jonas sibling forgot the words to “Firefly.”

Jessica Simpson

Lately, Jessica Simpson has been known for her other business ventures as opposed to her music. And that’s a good thing. Several years ago Simpson had a very embarrassing appearance on stage. Opening for the Rascal Flatts show in Irvine, CA a few years ago Simpson forgot the words to not one but two songs. Her flub elicited boos from the crowd and Simpson departed practically in tears.

Demi Lovato

Singer Demi Lovato started off as a child star and has continued on the path she started out on. But she took a break from the entertainment world to seek treatment. So maybe she deserved a break when she was performing on “Good Morning America.” Lovato forgot the words to “Heart Attack” but the crowd was forgiving. In an ironic twist, she forgot the words to “Don’t Forget” during another performance.

Idina Menzel

John Travolta became a laughing stock for a day or two when he flubbed Idina Menzel’s name during this year’s Academy awards. But Menzel made headlines of her own when she messed up the words to Wicked’s “For Good.” The Broadway star was in Atlanta several years ago to perform at Chastain Park when her brain took a slight break while she was on stage. She forgot the lyrics to part of the song but still managed to get through it.

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