Live Performance Wardrobe Malfunctions You Can't Unsee

Ah, a concert—what a fun night out! First, you get dressed up in a cute outfit (or, if it's Coachella, sunflower pasties and a mesh sarong) and head downtown to a big arena with your friends in tow. That's when the music experience truly begins. You and thousands of other fans watch enraptured as your favorite singer takes the stage to belt out their biggest hits, enhanced by the spectacle of musicians, backup dancers, smoke machines, and bright lights. And hey, that singer looks even cuter than you do in their flashy stage outfit. 

But then ... something goes wrong. That singer's clothing is just a little too skimpy or too loosely adhered to their body or a strap breaks loose or they dance too hard or they walk too close to a wind machine and suddenly, something that shouldn't pop out pops out.

Usually, the only clothing mishap at concerts involves paying $45 for a T-shirt, but here are some wardrobe malfunctions that went down at concerts and live performances that you just can't unsee. 

That wind machine is out of the squad

It's probably the most famous moment of her legendary screen career. In the 1955 movie The Seven Year Itch, Marilyn Monroe walks over a steam grate and it sends hot air up her white dress, causing it to billow about and expose Monroe's highly desired legs for all the world to see. It was pretty salacious stuff for 1955, but also a carefully staged and choreographed movie moment. Pretty much the same thing happened to Taylor Swift at an August 2011 concert, which was both embarrassing to the singer and surprising, because a Taylor Swift concert has to be more carefully staged and choreographed than a Hollywood movie. 

While performing her big pop crossover hit "You Belong With Me" with a big smile on her face and waving her arms around, the wind machine that was supposed to provide just a hint of airborne flourish overstepped its bounds and blew a bunch of air straight up Swift's blue dress, exposing her near-nude underwear to the crowd — and to a fan recording the whole thing on their phone.

Oops, she popped out of her dress

The closest thing to a regular, punch-the-clock, "time-to-make-the-donuts" job in the music industry is a Las Vegas residency. For weeks, months, or even years at a time, a big star who isn't scoring the hits like they used to — or who just doesn't feel like hitting the road anymore — will get paid millions by a Sin City casino to play in its theater every night to an audience of receptive tourists. The same show is happening every night in the same place, so one would think the wrinkles would be ironed out and leave little room for mishaps.

Think again, because Britney Spears had a surprising wardrobe malfunction in February 2017 during her residency at Planet Hollywood. The combination of complicated dance moves combined with Spears' skimpy stage costume (essentially a green one-piece swimsuit with most of the front cut out) caused the pop star's left breast to briefly take center stage. The video clip above will give you a taste of how the routine was supposed to go, but a fan photo of the incident suggests that one of Spears' dancers inadvertently pulled on part of her garment. Let's hope they worked it out.

Lenny Kravitz rocked out with his, well, you know

It seems like about 99.9 percent of celebrity wardrobe malfunctions afflict women. That makes sense, considering ladies tend to wear decidedly more interesting and complicated stage-wear than male performers. Female performers have to contend with flowing dresses, short skirts, straps, hooks, and high-heeled shoes, all of which are potential disasters waiting to happen. Men? Well, they often just wear, like, pants. But those can and do fail, particularly if the celebrity has the swagger and physique to rock the trickiest and most troublesome type of trouser: the leather pant. 

Lenny Kravitz is probably the only dude in his fifties that can justify wearing leather pants, because not only is he a quintessential rock star, but he's still somehow about the coolest and best-looking dude on the planet. But he, and leather pants, remain subject to the vagaries of physics. While playing a gig at an amusement park in Stockholm, Sweden in 2015, Kravitz was really going for it with some sweet guitar licks, gyrating about the stage and whatnot, when his pants failed him, ripped down the middle, and exposed his genitals to the crowd. (You just can't wear underwear with leather pants—visible pantylines are a no-no.)

Cumbersome material vs. the Material Girl

A wardrobe malfunction doesn't have to include the accidental exposure of forbidden flesh or the destruction of what's presumably a very expensive item of clothing. No, it's broad enough of a term and fascinating enough of a concept that it can involve singers tripping and falling because their clothes rebel, despite being in the presence of greatness. 

While performing at the Brit Awards in London in February 2015, Madonna was trying to perform her then-new single "Living for Love" while wearing a massive and glorious red and black cape. (Only Madonna, vampires, and opera singers, can rock a cape.) Suddenly, the usually poised superstar slipped and took a short but nasty tumble down a little set of steps. She quickly hopped back up and kept singing because, well, the show must go on. 

Afterward, Madonna explained what happened on Instagram (via The Wrap): "My beautiful cape was too tight. But nothing can stop me and love really lifted me up."

She ripped her pants, and she…liked it?

Katy Perry has worn many revealing outfits in the past, but it's the one that seemed the most foolproof that left her struggling for privacy on stage. In 2017, Perry performed at a live-streaming release party for her fourth album Witness. She took to the stage in a silvery, bedazzled, loose-fitting top with matching (but very tight) shiny pants. While going about the usual, not particularly rigorous, stage business of singing, dancing, and walking, Perry's pants split just a bit, and of course they did it right in the crotch section. 

Perry, who doesn't take herself or her clothing choices all that seriously — she dressed like a Hot Dog on a Stick employee for the Super Bowl and once attached whipped-cream canons to her bra — responded with a dose of her customary and charming self-deprecating humor. "I've had an unfortunate incident near my hoo ha," she told the crowd. "I'm wearing underwear, don't worry." 

Then she just sort of held her garment down with a hand over the hole, making her look a lot like Michael Jackson during his crotch-grabbing days.

Her anaconda don't want none (broken dresses that is)

When Nicki Minaj opened the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards, the show was already on track to be one of the most memorable in the program's long history. Minaj performed "Anaconda," one of the biggest hits of the year, boosted by one of the wildest, most salacious, and butt-centric videos of all times. (That's par for the course, considering the song heavily samples Sir Mix-A-Lot's classic 1992 rear-end ode, "Baby Got Back.") Minaj's live performance was somehow even more over the top than the video, with the rapper and her backup dancers twerking like their lives depended on it.

But then "Anaconda" ended, and Minaj tried to make real quick costume change out of a sequined green outfit before busting out "Bang Bang" with special guests Ariana Grande and Jessie J. The other ladies did their thing while Minaj awkwardly strutted around with her hands strategically placed on her tight black dress that wasn't quite holding together on its own. (The quick change was just a little too quick, it would seem.)

Toni Braxton wishes she could unbreak her dress

Reliable '90s hitmaker Toni Braxton (you might remember her from such smooth R&B jams as "Another Sad Love Song" and "Breathe Again") still gets out there to play concerts in front of adoring audiences. She was a sex symbol  back in the day, and she still is, taking the stage in outfits that make Miley Cyrus's sartorial choices seem demure. 

At a concert in New Brunswick, N.J., Braxton performed in a shiny dress befitting of a 1920s flapper, although much, much shorter. As the singer finished up a song, she turned around, and showed the audience that, unbeknownst to her, the barely attached, fanny-covering loincloth-esque part of the slinky garment had loosened and slipped down. Everybody in attendance saw Braxton's form-fitting, almost-flesh colored underwear.

Fortunately, a hero emerged. A man from the audience invited to dance on stage covered her up with his suit jacket. Braxton kept singing while a backup dancer tried to fix things.

Welcome to the Jingle, we've got wardrobe malfunctions

Leaving a popular group in pursuit of a solo career is always a risky proposition, but it seems to have worked out for Camila Cabello. Since fleeing Fifth Harmony, she's become a successful pop star of the highest order. That's thanks in part to her super-catchy No. 1 hit "Havana" (na-na-na) and other pop star bona fides — like a wardrobe malfunction. Judging by how many other stars are on this list, if you're a singer and your trusted garments betray and expose you to your fans, it's something like a rite of passage. 

At New York superstation Z100's annual Jingle Ball at Madison Square Garden, Cabello performed in a relatively conservative outfit of black, flared-leg pants and a top with chic bell sleeves. When she squatted briefly during one of her songs, the seam that ran along the inside of a pant leg ripped right along the singer's thigh. It was so subtle that few noticed anything was amiss. 

Cabello reported the incident after the show with an Instagram post. She captioned a photo of the malfunction: "me trying to look chill trying to cover up the fact that my pants just ripped mid squat at Madison square garden."

Cardi B unaware she wore a transparent dress

"Bodak Yellow" rapper Cardi B isn't afraid to show a little skin. She once worked as an exotic dancer, appeared in lingerie on the cover of Rolling Stone, and has shared videos of herself dancing in her underwear on Instagram. But that was all on her terms — like most of us, Cardi B only wants to reveal parts of herself when and if she's good and ready to reveal parts of herself. 

That was not the case one night in January 2018, when Cardi B performed at the Calibash festival in Los Angeles. The rapper hit the stage to accompany singer Ozuna on their collaboration "La Modelo," and she did it in a faded pink Dolce & Gabbana number with big embroidered flowers across the front. Those flowers were supposed to be strategically placed, but they didn't cover what they were supposed to. The result: Cardi rapped with her hand covering her crotch for the entirety of her performance. 

She later explained the situation on Instagram: "Last night was LIT !!! Even thoo I realize my dress was see through and I realize last minute."

What a flyboy

So apparently, Lionel Richie is the only judge from the new American Idol reboot that hasn't accidentally revealed too much skin in front of a live concert audience. In addition to another Katy Perry pants snafu, Luke Bryan endured a clothes-related performance mishap. Unlike most every other wardrobe malfunction, however, this one was not the result of fate colluding with physics. It was kind of his own fault. 

At an October 2017 concert stop, Bryan was performing one of his biggest hits, "All My Friends Say." Somehow, a fan near the front got his attention — which can't be easy, because it just looks like you're waving your hands in the air like you just don't care or singing along to the lyrics. That's when Bryan learned that he hadn't quite finished up after his pre-concert pit stop, because the fly on his good ol' country boy blue jeans was down. Bryan quickly remedied the situation by zipping up and giving the helpful fan an enthusiastic high-five. "My fly was down!" Bryan shouted with a laugh before handing his new best friend as cold one.