Ashlee Simpson reflects on infamous SNL lip-syncing scandal 20 years later

Ashlee Simpson reflects on infamous SNL lip-syncing scandal 20 years later

Ashlee Simpson has reflected on the early years of her music career, crediting her infamous Saturday Night Live lip-synching fiasco for teaching her the power of saying “no”.

The Noughties pop star made her SNL debut in 2004 as the evening’s musical guest, alongside host Jude Law.

When it came time for her portion of the show, the pre-recorded track of her hit debut single “Pieces of Me” began to play. However, she was apparently supposed to be performing “Autobiography” – the title song of her debut album, Autobiography – leaving her standing there awkwardly.

The scandal effectively halted her budding career.

Addressing the controversial moment on a recent episode of Rachel Bilson and Olivia Allen’s Broad Ideas podcast, Simpson admitted: “It was a humbling moment for me.

“I think I had the No 1 song, and everything was about to go somewhere, and then it was just like, ‘Whoa.’ The humility of not even understanding what grown-ass people would say about you – like grown men – awful, awful things.”

She recalled that at the time, she had begun to lose her voice, explaining that she had woken up unable to speak. After seeing a voice doctor, she said they found “two nodules beating against each other”.

“That day I said, ‘I will not go on, I don’t care. I can’t speak,’” Simpson remembered. “Meanwhile, I’m not saying this. I’m writing it down, because I can’t talk.”

Yet, she said was still pushed to perform.

Now 39, she’s looking back at her failed performance as a life lesson.

“And I think that moment of having to do something, but then I think, looking back, I would go, ‘The power of my no and the power of me saying, ‘Absolutely not.’ That’s what I would go back and say,” she added.

Simpson, the younger sister of Jessica Simpson, 43, would go on to release two more albums: I Am Me (2005) and Bittersweet World (2008).

She most recently started collaborating with her husband Evan Ross. In 2018, the duo released their self-titled EP, Ashlee + Evan.

The two have been married since 2014. They share two children, Jagger and Ziggy. Simpson has an older son from her first marriage with Pete Wentz.

In 2022, Simpson made a rare return to the stage, joining Demi Lovato for a surprise duet performance of her 2004 song “La La”. Following their performance, several fans begged for an “Ashlee Simpson comeback”.