Stars Who Forgot Their Lyrics On Stage

Musicians have a lot to remember: Lyrics, melody, tempo, rhythm, chord changes, and sometimes even choreography. And that's not even mentioning all the same sorts of stuff they experience that the rest of us deal with too, such as their schedules, their mom's birthday, and whether or not they turned off the oven before they left home. So it's not too surprising that, once in a while under the glare of spotlights and in front of huge crowds, they may not necessarily remember all the words to their songs.

Some stars are able to recover so seamlessly that you won't even notice that their lyrics suddenly don't make sense, while others completely shut down and ask to start over from the beginning, make the audience do the hard work for them, or just hope to mumble along and keep it moving. These megastars all forgot the lyrics to their songs while performing — some multiple times — but most of them were able to come back beautifully. But some ... well, some just didn't care one bit.

Who knew? Not Pink

In April 2018, Pink forgot the lyrics to the second verse of her hit "Who Knew" during a live performance at Madison Square Garden. She was brutally honest about the flub, griping to the crowd, "I forgot the words, s**t! It's been a week ... Does anybody else know it?  ... I wrote it, maybe I don't want a second verse anymore!"

Still, she recovered quickly and handled it like a champ in time for the chorus, because she's a total rockstar.

Unfortunately, it wasn't the first time the Philadelphia-bred crooner spaced out on her lyrics. In August 2009, she forgot the words to her hit "Family Portrait" during a concert in Adelaide, Australia, telling the audience, "S**t, now what happens? ... Does anyone know where we're at? Who wants to sing the next line?"

Months earlier, she performed "I Don't Believe You" in Dublin, Ireland, and blanked after singing the line, "I'm giving up," sheepishly admitting to the crowd, "I give up!" She semi-hummed the melody and stopped playing guitar, adding, "I can't remember the words. I have to drink! That's what the problem is! I can't not drink ... now it's coming out in my guitar shredding. Shall we skip to the chorus again?" She chuckled, "This is the best performance of my lifetime."

Instead of finishing the song, she launched into a cover of "Redemption Song" by Bob Marley. Like a boss.

Drake messed up his own 'Motto'

What's the use of having a motto if you can't remember it? Such is the question for Drake, who messed up during a performance of "The Motto" during a New Year's Eve performance in 2011. He went noticeably silent when he was supposed to be rapping, leading a member of the crowd to point out that the artist formerly known as Aubrey Graham forgot his own lyrics. The Degrassi alum tried to fill in the silence with some "yeah yeahs," but he quickly gave up. It wasn't the end of the world, but the incident may well give a little more credibility to all those rumors that he uses a ghostwriter. It's supposed to be easier to remember words you came up with yourself!

Demi Lovato didn't follow her own instructions

Oh, the irony! Demi Lovato forgot the lyrics to "Don't Forget" during a concert in Dallas, Texas in July 2009. In a clip, Lovato gets quiet for a bit and then giggles. "I totally forgot," she says, grinning. "I want to do my best for you guys because this is my hometown!" She breaks into laughter a few more times before asking the audience to sing the song for her and launching into a sweet guitar solo.

It wasn't the only time Lovato lost her lyrical place. During a performance on Good Morning America in April 2013, she repeated the same verses in "Heart Attack," which she acknowledged slightly with a knowing grin but kept on belting like nobody's business.

Perhaps on a darker note, in July 2018, Lovato forgot the lyrics to her heartbreaking ballad "Sober," the song in which she revealed she'd relapsed after six years of sobriety, laughing onstage to her fans in a video, "F**k, I forgot the words!" Tragically, just days later, Lovato suffered a near-fatal overdose.

Justin Bieber does 'Despacito' dirty

Not only did pop star Justin Bieber forget the lyrics to his massive hit remix of "Despacito" with Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee, but we don't think he ever really knew them to begin with.

"I don't know the words so I say 'poquito,'" he begins in a video of a May 2017 performance. ("Poquito" means "a little" in Spanish.) He follows with, "I don't know the words, so I say 'dorito.'" After a while, he gives up, not even bothering to attempt singing the verses in Spanish, and instead tries to get the crowd to do the dirty work for him. Then he just babbles incoherently. Baby, baby, baby, no!

Adele is all of us

Adele had what may be the most human reaction to forgetting her lyrics: She cursed and got on with it the best that she could.

At a May 2011 concert in Boston, she forgot the lyrics to her breakout hit "Chasing Pavements." A clip of the moment shows Adele cracking up, laughing and telling the band to stop playing. "I forgot the words," she said, taken aback and amused at her own flub. "I've never forgotten the words to that song!" She quickly recovers and starts over, but not without almost breaking into laughter yet again.

Years later in May 2016, Adele forgot the lyrics to "Rolling in the Deep." "Oh s**t! F**k! S**t! Stop!" she blurted out. "I sang the wrong the words! Let's do it again!"

Jay-Z quits preaching 'No Church in the Wild'

In October 2013, a video of Jay-Z missing his own cue for his verse in Drake's hit song "Pound Cake" at a Birmingham, U.K. concert circulated online. A fan at the show told radio station Hot 107.5 of the awkward moment, "I was at the Jay-Z concert on Tuesday in Birmingham. ... It's awkward for a few secs, then he improvises by spitting the dead press verse again, even though he had done the song [two] secs before. Concert also seemed pretty unrehearsed with his main keyboard player / the one who queues the music messing up a lot."

The same month, Young Hova flubbed one of his verses in "No Church In The Wild," which was, unfortunately for him, again caught on video. Then again, when you have a catalog as big as Jay-Z's, it'd be pretty near impossible to remember everything.

​Beyoncé is still the queen

Beyoncé, like her husband Jay-Z, has a massive song catalog to memorize. That's not even mentioning the added duty the singer has of performing her always-fierce, always-in-super-high-heels choreography without falling over, so it's not too hard for fans to forgive her for apparently missing a cue in part of her "Get Me Bodied" intro on her Mrs. Carter Show tour in November 2013. Beyoncé was still "***Flawless," even with a slightly flawed moment on stage, and the former Destiny's Child member handled it like the absolute pro that she is. After all, the show must go on!

Shawn Mendes had a clever solution

Singer Shawn Mendes had a simple yet brilliant solution when he forgot the lyrics to "Life Of The Party" during a May 2017 concert at the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Berlin, Germany. "I don't remember the lyrics," he confessed to his audience, still in melody at his piano. "Sing them out for me!"

Later, clutching his guitar, Mendes also flubbed the words to his massively overplayed smash hit "Stitches," chuckling to the crowd, "How did I forgot the lyrics to this song?!"

Sia's brain went to sleep

Singer Sia's brain seemed to take a nap when she performed "I Go To Sleep" in July 2011. She forgot the lyrics to the track, which was originally performed by The Kinks, and after some marble-mouthed mumbling, admitted, "I got nothin' ... let's start again!" She added, "I understand that it annoys people and I could probably just finish it and most people wouldn't know ... I just think it's really important to own your own f**k-ups. Also, sometimes it's funny! It depends on the audience." She also admitted that she messed up at least twice, but no else seemed to notice her other mistake — whatever it may have been.

In August 2016, Sia, shrouded in darkness to hide her face, forgot the lyrics to her smash hit "Titanium" during a show in Russia's capital — but she never stopped singing. In melody, she confessed to the crowd, "I f**ked up the words ... sorry Moscow."

What does Ed Sheeran know? Not the words to his songs

Whoops! Ed Sheeran totally blanked on the lyrics to his track "What Do I Know" on live TV for the annual Red Nose Day special in May 2017. During his performance, he briefly got quiet, giggled, and went right back into the track — which, to be fair, was relatively new at the time.

Four years earlier, Sheeran forgot the lyrics to his song "Wake Me Up" at a performance in Nashville. He stopped playing for a moment and told the cheering audience, "It sounds a bit cheesy but I was thinking how awesome this song was before I got here." What the man lacks in memory, he sure makes up for in self-confidence.

Ariana Grande's memory isn't 'right there'

Maybe Ariana Grande doesn't actually have trouble enunciating — maybe she's just trying to conceal the fact that she has no idea what words she's really supposed to be singing. During an intimate performance of her 2013 hit "Right There," she stopped less than halfway through and asked her fans (called Arianators) through giggles, "Wait, what are the words to this part?" Sh almost made it back on track, but she couldn't contain her laughter and asked to start over from the second verse, confessing, "I spent 20 hours shooting a music video to this song yesterday. How do I not the words right now?!"

Chris Martin begged for this moment not to go on YouTube

Alas, despite his protests, that didn't work. When the Coldplay frontman forgot the lyrics to his hit Rihanna duet "Princess of China" during a performance in Vienna in June 2017, he told the crowd, "Stop, stop, stop, stop! I forgot the words, I'm sorry ... Please don't put this on YouTube! We're supposed to be professionals." Chris Martin explained, "We got excited because you guys were sounding amazing, so we added in another song, and I forgot to remember the words for that other song we just added. Let's try it again."

Lady Gaga's bad memory of 'Bad Romance'

When Lady Gaga kicked off her Joanne World Tour in Vancouver, Canada in August 2017, she messed up the lyrics to one of her biggest hits ever, "Bad Romance." Instead of singing "I want your horror / I want your design / 'Cause you're a criminal / As long as you're mine," she sang, "I want your horror / I want your design / I want the psycho / Baby in your mind." It's a pretty good improvisational rhyme, and, to be fair, it's not like the original lyrics made much sense anyway. Her artpop really could mean anything.

Kid Cudi blames it on reefer madness

Kid Cudi treated a crowd to his hit "Alive" during an in-demand encore at a show in December 2009, but it appears he may have inadvertently killed a few too many brain cells leading up to the performance. Before the first verse, he confessed, "I don't even know these words." He proceeded to freestyle his verses, mixing bits and pieces of the first and second together in the process. He did the same for the second verse, saying, "I forgot my own words. I really smoke a lot of weed. It's true." He closed out with, "I'm sorry I forgot those words!"

Kelly Clarkson can't catch her lyrics

Kelly Clarkson did an impromptu livestream for her fans in July 2016 and hilariously forgot the lyrics to her hit song "Catch My Breath" — and she couldn't stop laughing at herself for the flub. "I don't want to be left behind?" she asked before launching into the song, accompanied by a pal on the piano. The former American Idol winner laughed, adding, "I wrote this!" She then forgot the rest of the entire verse, cracked herself up, and asked to skip right to the chorus.

Mariah Carey DGAF

When Mariah Carey performed on the Today show in May 2014, she wasn't phased one bit when she forgot the lyrics to her mega-hit "Always Be My Baby." In a charming video of the moment, she sings, "Messing up the words to my own song / And I don't care." Clearly, it's Mariah's world, guys. We're all just living in it.

Jason Mraz can't remember one important thing

Jason Mraz forgot the lyrics to his song "1,000 Things" when he opened a concert in Mannheim, Germany in March 2009 — but if you weren't listening closely, you may have never noticed the gaffe. Mraz played on, singing perfectly in tune, "I forgot the words!" (Of course, an audience member guffawing, "He forgot the words," in the video of the moment also gives it away.) In all fairness to Mr. A to Z, 1,000 things is a whole lot to remember for one performance. Or, like, at all.

Katy Perry, ur so forgetful

Before Katy Perry was a pop juggernaut, she was a faux punky-pop star on Warped Tour. During a Columbia, Md. stop in summer 2008, she forgot the lyrics to her hugely homophobic breakout song "Ur So Gay," which, honestly, is probably for the best. In a video of the embarrassing performance, she tries appealing to her guitarist for help when she forgets her lyrics in the second verse, but he just shrugs as she warbles, "S**t! I've never forgot my words ever ... I can't believe that I f**king forgot the whole words to this song." She later closes with the ever-mature lyric, "And you don't even like — I didn't forget this word — penis!"

Jessica Simpson had another 'chicken or fish' moment

Remember when Jessica Simpson attempted a country career? It may have worked out better for her if she could recall the lyrics she was supposed to be singing at any given time. At a performance in Grand Rapids, Mich. in February 2009, the former Newlyweds star-turned-country crooner (who has since held a successful career as a fashion designer) forgot the lyrics to "Come On Over" three times. The blonde bombshell, sporting her signature Dukes Of Hazzard (2005) short shorts, just gave up a few times, looked around sheepishly, and caught up at the chorus.