Ashlee Simpson Reflects on ‘Humbling’ ‘SNL’ Lip-Syncing Incident

Ashlee Simpson Reflects on ‘Humbling’ ‘SNL’ Lip-Syncing Incident

Ashlee Simpson has the benefit of hindsight when it comes to her infamous 2004 appearance on Saturday Night Live. Speaking on the Broad Ideas With Rachel Bilson & Olivia Allen podcast, the singer explained that the performance, which saw her lip-syncing her single “Autobiography,” taught her how to pick herself back up.

“I had done my rehearsal the night before and then I woke up the next day and I couldn’t speak,”  Simpson explained on the podcast episode. “I saw the voice doctor that day and I had two nodules beating against each other. That day I said, ‘I will not go on, I don’t care. I can’t speak.’ Meanwhile, I’m not saying this. I’m writing it down because I can’t talk.”

However, Simpson said her label encouraged her to perform with the pre-recorded vocals. “My band’s never practiced this, this is not going to go well,” she explained of her response. “I can’t do this.”

She did, however, take the stage, first performing “Pieces of Me” without error. It was during her second song that the vocals didn’t play correctly, leading Simpson to panic and walk off stage. Speaking on the podcast, she reflected that it taught her “the power of my no” and “the power of me saying absolutely not.” She added, “That’s what I would go back and say.”

“It was a humbling moment for me,” she said. “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, grown-ass men, awful awful things. It was so hard to learn how to tune that out, to find my strength, to get up and go again.”

Simpson went back to SNL the following year, which she said was “fucking scary to do.” She added that “having the show at that time was nice because all the people that were my fans stuck with me.”


For the most part, Simpson has stepped away from her music career in recent years. In 2022, she joined Demi Lovato onstage during a concert in Los Angeles for a performance of “La La,” which Lovato was covering on tour. Simpson’s appearance alongside Lovato was her first time on stage since January 2019, when she and her husband Evan Ross did a brief tour to promote their EP, Ashlee + Evan. Before then, she had last toured in 2008.

Last year, she hinted at a new album during an interview on the Jennifer Hudson Show, telling the host that there’s nothing more daunting than playing music for her mother-in-law Diana Ross. “I keep saying I’m coming out with an album, coming out with an album – and now I have to, you know?” Simpson said.

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