It's no secret that the past decade or so of popular music has been infested with a lot of bad singers. Whether it's celebrities who basically buy their way into a recording contract or people overusing auto-tune software, a lot of our most popular performers have one thing in common; they really can't sing.
Although not everyone is necessarily a horrible singer, the fact that a lot of these singers cannot perform live without any automated assistance, or without lip syncing, leaves you with practically no option but to assume they don't have the talent you'd expect. With this list, we will focus on 20 popular performers who just aren't up to the standard you'd expect them to be given the amount of hit songs they have. Bear in mind that this list is obviously subjective and everyone hears music differently, but this list contains singers that have a pretty widespread reputation for being sub-par singers without the assistance of auto-tune.
20. Avril Lavigne
Avril was always like the little engine that could. Although she had a series of early to mid-2000s pop/punk hits, a majority of audiences agreed that her vocal style was average at best. In other words, she wasn't totally horrible but she's not really that good either.
I apologize to my fellow 80s fans, but let's be honest: Madonna isn't a good singer. Yes, she could carry a tune but as her career has gone on, we have seen her voice decline and a majority of her performances are either auto-tuned or lip synced. Let's not forget concertgoers requesting refunds after nothing but lip syncing or her 2012 Super Bowl performance where she was "singing" out of sync with her audio.
18. Nicki Minaj
Nicki Minaj has created a reputation for herself that isn't really too great. Other than coming off as very vulgar and abrasive, her music has a style of its own that is essentially just rap-talking, laughing, and making very weird sounds accompanied by massive amounts of auto-tune.
17. Soulja Boy
Aside from being labeled by some as the artist who ruined hip-hop, Soulja Boy never seemed to find a way to strengthen either his voice or his songwriting. He has been criticized for repetitive and shallow lyrics as well as doing nothing but off key rap-talking and inaudible mumbling.
16. Lil' Wayne
All I have to say is Lil' Wayne must have bought stock in auto-tune software. He sure uses it enough.
15. Chris Brown
When Chris Brown hit the scene, many dubbed him as the next great young performer because he could sing, dance, and act. Aside from his personal life spinning out of control, Brown's voice talent never seemed to mature past his teenage debut as he is often auto-tuned or off key.
14. Kesha (aka, Ke$ha)
I will admit the songs are catchy and I have nothing but respect for Kesha, but even with that it doesn't really change the fact that she can't really sing. Her monotone voice, and overuse of auto-tune, still can leave a bad ring in your ears.
13. Alicia Keys
There's no disputing that Alicia Keys is talented, but her voice is obviously struggling. Numerous out of tune live performances, and obvious vocal strain in recent albums, have led many to think that maybe her popularity has been a fluke. Some call it her style, some say it's an excuse to cover up the fact that she's not a strong singer. Acoustic versions of "Girl on Fire" would definitely support that theory.
12. Courtney Love
Not only is Courtney Love one of the most hated women in the music industry, she's also probably one of the worst singers. She has been criticized of often coming across as nasal, off-key, and shrill. Sorry, Courtney.
11. Katy Perry
People have been arguing for years that Katy Perry has a great voice. I'm sorry, but I beg to differ. Live performances, including her Super Bowl show, are often severely off-key, nasal, and weak. Judging from non lip synced performances, it's obvious that singing live is a big struggle for her.
Pitbull is just another case of the tone deaf rap-talker. In addition to doing nothing but reference himself in his songs, his vocals are usually quite flat. He can look good in a suit and seems to collaborate with just about everyone, but he can't sing.
9. Miley Cyrus
Cyrus has somehow managed to sell millions of albums and sell out venues despite having a pretty bad singing voice. After the Hannah Montana era, auto-tune became Cyrus' best friend as it's carried her through the past couple of years with songs like "Wrecking Ball" and "We Can't Stop." Plus, we all remember what happened on the VMAs.
8. Paris Hilton
Paris Hilton is proof that money can buy you a lot of things. Maybe money can even buy you a singing career, but it doesn't mean your record deal came because you can sing.
Rihanna has had more hits at the point than most could probably count off the top of their head, but unfortunately her musical reputation has declined into a pretty bad spot. Between lip syncing, auto-tune usage, and poor vocal performance without any sort of enhancement, Rihanna as proven herself to be just another product of vocal software.
6. Fred Durst
Limp Bizkit frontman, Fred Durst, has been accused of being one of the worst singers to ever become popular for over a decade. In addition to his lyrics being overly offensive to women, his annoying rap style still leaves us searching for the answer as to why he became famous in the first place.
5. Britney Spears
Despite being a pop icon, Britney Spears has encountered over a decade of criticism for having a terrible raw singing voice. Not only has she has lip synced a majority of her performances, but she has little to no vocal range and audio of her real microphone feeds sound like the bad joke auditions on American Idol. Pop stars like her are why audio engineers exist..
4. Ashlee Simpson
Otherwise known as the less talented Simpson sister, Ashlee attempted to make the transition from acting to singing in the midst of her sister Jessica's popularity. Immediately, criticisms of her over-processed voice were made public and as a result, her music career was tarnished. The final nail in the coffin was when she went to lip sync her songs on Saturday Night Live and she started lip syncing the wrong lyrics.
3. Kanye West
I don't even need to spell this out for you guys, right? If you don't believe me, just type "Kanye West Bohemian Rhapsody" into YouTube and you'll see what I mean. Actually, you could listen to any of his songs and you'll get the picture.
2. Yoko Ono
As if being blamed for the breakup of The Beatles wasn't bad enough, Yoko Ono's "avant garde" vocal styles has definitely rubbed people the wrong way. I give her props on artistic expression, but there's no doubt that her musical career exists just because of who she is. If she'd never met John Lennon, we would have thankfully never heard her sing.
1. Rebecca Black
Luckily for us, her career was very brief and the random rapper partying with underage girls has seemed to back off.
Whether it's horrible live performances, overuse of auto-tune, or just flat out being a bad singer, there's no way these artists could get away unnoticed.