UPDATE, 4:07 PM: Several readers commented that a similar thing happened toward the end of Thursday night’s X Factor, when the Stereo Hogzz quintet appeared to be singing five-part harmony at one point without having microphones near their lips. And this was during an elimination, or survival, song performance. An X Factor spokesperson revised slightly an earlier statement, with the new one noting: “All competitive songs, including survival songs, are performed live to a backing track. Due to the finalists’ extensive preparation for their Wednesday night performances, the opening ensemble number on the results show is pre-recorded, the same as on other shows.”
PREVIOUS, 11:44 AM: The first-year Fox song competition hit The X Factor has acknowledged that one of its contestants, Leroy Bell, was caught singing along to a pre-recorded track during the opening number on Thursday night’s episode. It became obvious when Bell’s voice was embarrassingly heard singing a couple of seconds before raising the microphone to his lips. A show insider was quick to point out that there’s “a big difference” between singing to a recorded track and lip syncing, though viewers might have trouble distinguishing it. “They are still actually singing, just with a track.” The show released the following statement: “All survival songs are performed live, with just a backing track. For the group ensemble performance, the vocals are pre-recorded to allow acts to concentrate on preparing for their own live competition performances on Wednesdays. This is also no different to what other competition shows do for ensemble performances.” What perhaps gives the incident added resonance is the fact that the original UK edition of X Factor was twice rocked by scandals involving the tweaking of singer’s voices using Auto-Tune enhancing software. However, that show’s producers stressed that Auto-Tuning never was used in the live editions of the show where votes are cast.