Embarrassing Mix-Ups That Were Made On Live TV

This article contains references to child abuse.

There are few things better than humiliating events caught on camera. It's why so many people love to watch their favorite show and movie outtakes so much. However, one thing that is better is when everything goes haywire on live TV — as the cameras roll. There's no hope in hell of an editor jumping in to save anybody's skin; you're all on your own.

Some people are pros at just rolling with it, ad-libbing, and making the most out of a potentially difficult, and well, just really uncomfortable situation. Others? Not so much. Some immediately freeze and get that deer in the headlights look, which, let's face it, can make for some genuinely trainwrecktastic TV. Basically, it's like that dream where you're standing on the school bus facing all your classmates, and you suddenly realize that you're totally naked apart from a short, tight undershirt you're pulling down in an attempt to cover your privates.

Well, it's like that, but it's not a dream. It's real life, and it's on live TV. And there are millions of strangers all around the country — or even the world — watching you die a thousand deaths. It may be sadistic to admit, but it really can result in some gloriously iconic and unforgettable pop culture classics. Kick back in your Lazy Boy, crack open a cold one, and get ready to giggle — oh, and cringe. We're running through some of the most embarrassing mix-ups that were made on live TV.

Moonlight mishap

Over the years, there have been a lot of Oscar-worthy memorable mishaps at the Oscars – Jennifer Lawrence, anybody? But there have also been some awks mix-ups. One of the most cringeworthy flubs was during the 2017 Academy Awards. With Jimmy Kimmel in the hosting seat, it was a safe bet there'd be no controversial commentary. However, everything went horrendously wrong when it came to the most prestigious accolade of all: best picture.

Veteran actors Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway took to the stage to present the golden statuette. Beatty immediately looked confused upon opening the envelope. He handed it over to Dunaway, who proclaimed "La La Land" the winner. There was hugging, kissing, laughing, and tears galore, along with the reminder that the movie had made Oscars history by scoring 14 nominations, only the third to do so. But just as the gushing, joyful acceptance speeches were grinding to an end, the film's producer, Jordan Horowitz, was informed that there'd been a mix-up, and he announced that "Moonlight" was actually the winner. Awkward and kinda heartbreaking at the same time.

Beatty explained there was a reason he had looked so confused: He'd been handed the alternative best actress winner card instead of the correct best picture one. PwC, the accountancy firm that handles the Oscars' card distribution, vowed to investigate what went wrong. "We sincerely apologize to Moonlight, La La Land, Warren Beatty, Faye Dunaway, and Oscar viewers for the error that was made during the award announcement for best picture," they said in a statement (via The Guardian).

Adele Dazeem debacle

Everybody was left scratching their heads after John Travolta introduced a new, never before known singer at the 2014 Oscars. "Please welcome the wickedly talented, the one and only Adele Dazeem," the actor gushed. Huh? Who? Say what?!! Idina Menzel ended up taking to the stage instead, and we're pretty confident she gave a far superior performance than "Adele Dazeem" ever would have.

On "Jimmy Kimmel Live," Travolta gave a convoluted and extensive explanation to Kimmel about why he could not pronounce Idina Menzel's name correctly — or even similarly. The actor blamed it on unexpected time constraints and a broken elevator. He also listed being "starstruck" by "charismatic, sexy, beautiful, got the amazing thing" Goldie Hawn — who he was so busy "hugging and loving" that he almost forgot to go on stage. And a sudden decision to switch to the phonetic spelling of Menzel's name. All of which makes zero sense.

But hey, there were no hard feelings on Menzel's end, well, eventually anyway. She told James Corden on "The Late Late Show" that after initially being devastated by the epic name fail, it ended up working out pretty, pretty well for her. She said an apologetic Travolta bombarded her with flowers, emails, and promises to make it up in any way possible. "I always just say, 'No worries, because it was the best thing that ever happened to me!'" Menzel shared. Meanwhile, she clapped back the following year by introducing Travolta as "my dear friend, Golom Gazingo."

Miss Colombia calamity

Steve Harvey announced Miss Colombia as 2015's Miss Universe. The news resulted in two and a half agonizingly long minutes of unadulterated joy for Ariadna María Gutiérrez Arévalo. The winning sash was draped, colorful flowers bestowed, and the coveted crown placed on top of her golden locks. A tearful Arévalo graciously waved, blew kisses, and gestured her gratitude to the audience. She was floating on cloud nine. Then Harvey walked back on stage, resulting in an utterly horrifying award show trainwreck.

Arévalo was actually the runner-up. Regardless of your views on pageants, it really was heartbreaking. Harvey 'fessed up to having messed up. He apologized after announcing that Miss Philippines, Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach, was the actual winner. "I will take responsibility for this," Harvey admitted. But, the damage was done, despite him declaring, "Still a great night." Well, definitely not for Arévalo, that's for sure.

The model admitted she'd initially thought it was a joke. Then reality sunk in, and she was mortified. "It was very humiliating for me, but also for the whole country and for all the people not only from Colombia but the other Latinos that were in the auditorium," Arévalo told Colombia's W Radio (via Latin Times). Meanwhile, Harvey began playing the blame game. He attributed the calamity to last-minute protocol changes and a teleprompter mess-up. "It was the worst week of my life," he said on Kevin Hart's "Comedy Gold Minds" podcast.

Jacko's cake acceptance speech

Without a doubt, one of the most embarrassing mix-ups that was made on live TV was during the 2002 VMAs. Britney Spears had the honor of presenting a cake to Michael Jackson to celebrate his birthday. "I consider him the artist of the millennium," Spears declared as a multi-tiered concoction was wheeled in. Jacko entered stage left, and it was obvious that he'd misunderstood Britney's personal appreciation of his musical mastery. Jacko thought he was getting an actual award for "artist of the millennium," not just some spongecake, birthday wishes, and a standing ovation.

MTV had created a unique birthday gift "award" — a giant musical note covered in glitter with a red bow tied around it. Jackson seized it, walked to the mic, and launched into a totes awks acceptance speech. "When I was a little boy in Indiana, if someone had told me ... if someone had told me that one day I would be getting, as a musician, the artist of the millennium award, I wouldn't have believed it," Jackson told the audience. "This is really amazing; I can't believe it."

He then thanked all the people who had "made this possible" — sadly missing the bakery off the list, though. Ever the professional, the leather-clad Spears stepped straight in, not missing a beat, and started introducing the nominees for best pop video. MTV News describes the debacle as "one of the funniest — and most awkward VMA moments in all of VMA history."

Cat vomit chow down

It was already weird enough when WFSB weather reporter, Scot Haney, started eating what he thought was Grape-Nuts cereal — directly from the floor. His co-hosts were totally grossed out. "I can't believe you just ate that," admitted one. "A little soggy," Haney opined. "And they, they taste like shoes." Because, presumably, he's eaten shoes before? Well, it wouldn't be a shock if he had because things were about to get even weirder.

After making a few vomit-like expressions, Haney admitted, "I think that may be dog doodie." So gross. And yet, there was even more grossness to come. "Ladies and gentlemen, those were not Grape-Nuts that I ate," Haney admitted, waving his shoe in the air as he started the "trending now" segment. "My cat threw up, and I must have stepped in it, and that's what I ate," he shared. "I thought it was Grape-Nuts; I ate cat vomit, right here on television." 

Just to make sure anybody chowing down at the time felt even more queasy, Haney displayed the shoe sole residue evidence for everybody to appreciate. Haney clearly had no shame in his cat vom eating game; he later tweeted about his culinary catastrophe. And the incident didn't make him any less of a feline lover. He called his pet kitty, Dash, a "scrumptious little cat" while chatting with his co-hosts on-air years later. His adjective choice was certainly interesting, given the not-so-scrumptious treat that his pet had once retched up. 

Oscars Dick Poop bloop

One of the most epic embarrassing mix-ups that was made on live TV occurred during the 2015 Oscars. Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences President Cheryl Boone Isaacs was announcing the nominees for "Achievement in Cinematography" when she made her legendary flub.

After making it seamlessly through a couple of more challenging name pronunciations, Boones stumbled and fell when it came to reading out the "Mr. Turner" nominee. "Dick Poop," she announced, before quickly correcting her mistake to "Dick Pope" as laughter rippled throughout the auditorium, and she struggled to retain her composure. It's unlikely Pope was laughing too much, though, after losing out to "Birdman" filmmaker Emmanuel Lubezki (per Oscars.org). Although, he did take it in good humor. "You know what, I have been called a lot worse in my time," he told USA Today.

Not surprisingly, the embarrassing error didn't go unnoticed, going viral and becoming an online punchline (per Know Your Meme). It was also featured in an episode of "Conan" the next night. "Well, it's unfortunate. We're all too mature to laugh at that," Conan O'Brien commented tongue-in-cheek as the audience laughed. Of course — because we're never too mature to laugh at some good old-fashioned toilet humor, intentional or not. "You're hearing laugher of compassion," O'Brien joked. The late-night host then went on to play a montage of made-up poop pun nominee names. The audience definitely wasn't too mature to laugh out loud at those either.

Awks stage silence at the Golden Globes

Salma Hayek and Paul Rudd had to fake it when technology failed to make it during the 2013 Golden Globes. The actors were thrown an unexpected curveball just when they were about to announce the nominees for best TV drama series. Not exactly a difficult task. Well, not if you can read who the nominees are or if you already know who's on the list. Unfortunately, however, the pair was only in possession of the envelope that included the winner's name. The list of nominees was on a teleprompter for them to read from — and the teleprompter had suddenly quit working.

There were a few seconds of awkwardness — which probably felt like hours for Rudd and Hayek — as they stood silent on the stage. Rudd lightened things up by starting to joke around. Then, blessed be the faulty prompter fruit, the nominees' video montage kicked in, saving everyone from any further awkwardness. Afterward, with a sigh of relief, they were able to announce the winner, "Homeland."

According to Vulture, the two had just presented another award when the machinery malfunction occurred. They were caught even more off guard because they hadn't known they'd be announcing another. "We were just standing there, and I honestly thought they went to commercial!" Rudd admitted. But then reality dawned, and he realized he was just standing there on live TV with Hayek and nothing to say. "Thankfully, thankfully, only 20 million people were watching," he quipped.

David is dead debacle

"Celebrity Big Brother UK" never fails when it comes to delivering drama, hysteria, and unbearable cringe. All three collided on day 7 of Season 17. Per BBC, among the 2016 "CBB UK" cast were Tiffany Pollard, Angie Bowie, and David Gest. As Daily Mail reports, Gest felt ill when he entered the house. He became sicker and was eventually forced to take to his bed — sparking the craziest "CBB UK" WTF moment ever.

Angie was informed, privately, that her ex-husband, David Bowie, had died from cancer. "I haven't seen him in so many years; I can't make a big drama out of it; I just feel like an era has ended with his passing," Angie admitted, per The Express. "I'm so very sad." She then made the mistake of confiding in the one person guaranteed to cause the most drama — Tiffany Pollard. "You gotta do me a favor; you can't say a word," Angie told the reality star. "David is dead," she whispered.

"No, he's not!" Tiffany screamed, assuming Angie meant David Gest. Her hysterical sobbing and wailing immediately attracted attention. "What the f**k was that?" singer Darren Day asked. "I can't keep this a secret," Tiffany admitted. She told some other housemates, causing maximum chaos and hysteria. However, it became apparent Gest was still alive, wriggling under his bed covers. "Tiff, she means her ex-husband David," actor Danniella Westbrook explained. Per The Sun, sadly, Gest did die, just months later, from a stroke on April 12.

Ashlee Simpson's sync shaming

Ashlee Simpson's "Saturday Night Live" lip-sync snafu has to be every singer's worst nightmare. You're pretending to be singing on live TV — then a tech issue hits — and millions of people now know you were faking it. "Once again, Ashlee Simpson," host Jude Law announced. Cue the music. The music from the song she'd lip-synced to earlier in the show.

Simpson was so busy getting her groove on that she failed to notice until the singing started — then abruptly stopped — and the right backing track started. After a confused look at the drummer, reality hit. Simpson was trapped in a horrendously awkward situation. So she ramped up the awkwardness with some utterly bizarre dance moves before fleeing the stage. Credit where credit's due, the drummer and two guitarists continued to keep calm and carry on, playing away as if nothing had occurred at all.

Simpson later said on "TRL" (via MTV News) that she'd been forced to lip-sync on doctor's orders. She claimed she couldn't sing because of "acid reflux disease" and that she'd been mortified by the incident. "I made a complete fool of myself," she admitted. An old Lucky magazine interview posted in her website forum (via Billboard) upped the shame game. "I'm totally against [lip syncing] and offended by it," Simpson had vowed. "I'm going out to let my real talent show, not to just stand there and dance around. Personally, I'd never lip-synch. It's just not me."

Nancy Grace's brutal blindsiding

Nancy Grace isn't renowned for her tact or compassion. The prosecutor-turned-TV anchor loves to play judge and jury, and she's even been called out for "calling for the death penalty" when a potential suspect "hadn't yet been convicted of anything," per Crime Story. However, she managed to outdo herself during an interview with the father of a missing boy. Per The Detroit News, a massive 11-day police and FBI hunt was launched in June 2014 after Charlie Bothuell Jr. went missing in Detroit. Not surprisingly, his dad, Charlie Bothuell IV, was beside himself with worry, fearing the worst.

Grace set him straight, however. She completely blindsided Bothuell by revealing — with a level of disdain and acrimony — that his son had been found alive in the basement of the family home. The father was clearly reeling from the news — presumably, because he would've expected to have been told himself, before Nancy Grace, on live TV.

But Grace was like a rottweiler with a bone, firing question after question at the emotionally overwhelmed and hyperventilating dad. It made for pretty brutal viewing. It transpired, however, that Grace's animosity was completely justifiable under the circumstances. According to The Detroit News, Bothuell pled guilty to child abuse after his son provided horrific testimony about years of beatings and torture by his father and stepmom. Bothuell Jr. testified in court that his stepmom had ordered him to hide in the basement, and he obeyed out of fear, per MLive.

If you or someone you know may be the victim of child abuse, please contact the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child (1-800-422-4453) or contact their live chat services.

Twofer musical mishap

Cringeworthy Academy Award mishaps have occurred since the first ceremony was held at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel in May 1929. However, they were easily brushed under the red carpet back then. The Oscars weren't broadcast in real-time until Bob Hope hosted the show in March 1953, per Oscars.org.

One of the earliest embarrassing Oscars mix-ups that went out on live TV occurred in 1964. Sammy Davis Jr. had been tasked with an Academy Awards twofer. He presented the awards for the winners of "best music score, adaptation or treatment" and "best music score, substantially original." With two such similarly titled categories lumped together, what could possibly go wrong? Hmmm.

Well, after reading out all the nominees for "best music score, adaptation or treatment," Davis pronounced John Addison as the winner for his work on the movie "Tom Jones." Not surprisingly, the audience looked a tad confused as they clapped politely. Because, oopsie! The actual winner of the category was Andre Previn, for "Irma la Douce." Addison was nominated for — and won — the Oscar for "best music score, substantially original." Talk about a spoiler alert. Davis handled it like the consummate pro he was. Admitting that he'd been given the wrong envelope, he joked, "Wait till the NAACP hears about this." Davis corrected the mistake, announcing Andre Previn was actually the winner for his "Irma la Douce" score. After listing the nominees for "best music score, substantially original," Davis quipped, "guess who the winner is."

Breakfast blow blunder

Screenwriter Lynda La Plante delivered an epic blow blunder during an episode of Britain's "This Morning." La Plante was being interviewed by Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby when she made an accidental phallic faux pas. The morning show hosts are infamous for spending an inordinate amount of screen time in fits of laughter, followed by attempts at regaining their composure. They're also renowned for their infatuation with innuendos and embarrassing incidents.

Schofield admitted to LoveTV magazine (via The Sun) that he cherishes "being nicely naughty" and derives great pleasure from nudging Willoughby into uncontrollable (and contagious) bursts of giggling. "We've got a similar sense of humor, and that can catch us out because either one of us is not always strong enough to stop it," he explained. So La Plante really couldn't have chosen a worse show to bust out with an unintentional sex slip-up.

The "Prime Suspect" creator was dishing about the show's characters to Schofield and Willoughby. As La Plante described a scene between detective Jane Tennison — who is played by Helen Mirren in the police drama — and her hairdresser sister, Schofield gave a bewildered look to the camera. But it didn't take much for bewilderment to turn into snickering — just a "dry" and "job" mix-up. "There's one point where Jane is rushing out, you know, she's going to an autopsy," La Plante recalled. "And her sister says, 'Listen, I need to talk to you. I have a tint and blow job waiting for me.'" Cue the inevitable giggling.

Christina Aguilera's Super Bowl screwup

Christina Aguilera decided to go big or go home with her embarrassing live TV mix-up. The Super Bowl is the biggest TV draw of the year. According to The Guardian, a whopping 111 million people tuned in to see the Green Bay Packers beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-25 during 2011's Super Bowl. And that's not factoring in the crowds watching in bars or at parties. It seems like the entire U.S. is fixed to a screen — or shivering in the stands if they're lucky or rich enough — to watch the halftime performance and the ads — oh, and the game too, maybe.

According to a YouGov survey, the USA is the most patriotic land on earth. A whopping 41% of citizens believe they live "in the best country in the world." An interesting statistic, as only 37% own a passport, and, according to a OnePoll survey (via Forbes), 11% have never even left the state they were born in. But anyway, it's safe to say that a heck of a lot of people noticed when Aguilera flubbed their beloved national anthem.

The crowds stood to attention, hands over their hearts as she belted out "The Star-Spangled Banner" during the opening ceremony. As usual, Aguilera's range and pitch were flawless. Her lyrical recall? Not so much. Per HuffPost, instead of the correct words, "O'er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming," Aguilera sang, "What so proudly we watched at the twilight's last gleaming." You had one job, Christina, one job.

BBC interview switcheroo

Job interviews are stressful enough, but imagine going for one and accidentally ending up on live TV. That's what happened to Guy Goma in 2006. After checking in at Broadcasting House, the computer technician was escorted to a TV set instead of an office. Goma's seen sitting on a chair in a BBC video, looking around him in awe, taking in all the cameras and lights.

The awe turns to confusion, however, after cameras start rolling. Karen Bowerman introduces Goma as "Guy Kewney, [the] editor of the technology website News Wireless." Goma's expression turns to horror when he realizes he's appearing in a live news broadcast — as a supposed music industry "expert." He manages to bumble his way through the cringefest — like a total rockstar — despite clearly knowing nothing about what he's being grilled on. Per Metro, Goma had been sitting in reception waiting for his interview when he was mistaken for Guy Kewney, who was seated elsewhere. The wrong Guy was led into hair and makeup, rushed on set, and fitted with a mic.

In a shocking case of injustice, Goma didn't get the job he'd applied for — an accountant in the Beeb's IT department. However, he did get his 15 minutes of fame after becoming an internet legend and meme. According to LadBible, Goma even landed a celeb publicist. "I watched Guy's interview and thought he was a natural," Kizzi Nkwocha explained. "He could make a fortune." Sadly, however, he didn't.