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Vocal Misfires: 15 Well-Known Singers Who Should’ve Stayed Silent

Sometimes you hear a vocal artist belt it out and you’re just wishing they would stop because it sounds awful. There are even some well-known singers that people say should have stayed silent because their voices are terrible for one reason or another. According to the court of popular opinion, here are some beloved celebrities that need to hang the microphone up once and for all.

1. Biz Markie

Biz Markie
Image Credit: By Bo Borbye Pedersen from Copenhagen, Denmark – Biz Markie, CC BY 2.0, Wiki Commons.

Biz Markie made his living off of having a voice that’s quirky, to say the least. I don’t think he or anyone else would say he’s a good singer, so I won’t bash him too much for that alone. One of his most popular songs sounds awful, but everyone loves it for that very reason. While he technically fits the mold for the discussion, his being a terrible singer is actually why you love his songs. 

2. Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan
Image Credit: Wiki Commons, Rowland Scherman.

Bob Dylan is an icon, but some might consider his singing style unconventional because it features a distinctive raspy and gravelly quality. This unique style can be an acquired taste, and listeners have mentioned that they find it less appealing than traditional vocal performances. However, many others appreciate his distinctive voice and focus on his songwriting and lyrical prowess instead.

3. Meghan Trainor

Meghan Trainor
Image Credit: Debby Wong/Shutterstock.

Some folks feel that Meghan Trainor’s singing doesn’t quite hit the mark because of how she uses her voice and her overall style. They might say she doesn’t have the same vocal range or control as some other singers. For those reasons, Trainor’s way of singing has often been described as a bit over-the-top.  

4. Fergie

Image Credit: Rico Torres – © 2006 Dimension Films.

Not to say that Fergie has no catchy songs, but if you heard her sing the National Anthem in 2018 at the NBA All-Star Game, you’re not surprised that she made the list. 

That was honestly the worst rendition that I’ve ever heard in my life. It was unnecessarily pitchy; she couldn’t hold a run to save her life, and it was just an overall bad idea. I don’t know about her other material, but that was enough to make my ears bleed. 

5. Tom Waits

Tom Waits
Image Credit: By Published by Asylum Records. Photographer uncredited and unknown. – Scan via Heritage Auctions. Cropped and retouched by uploader; see upload history below for unretouched original. Additional info about the photo via the Tom Waits Library (see P49750087)., Public Domain, Wiki Commons.

When it comes to Tom Waits, you’re either a mega fan or you hate his voice. Those who cannot stand to hear him sing have stated that his smoker’s voice is too thick for them, to the point that you can hear it in all the notes that he hits. It’s somewhat of a heavy growl, depending on the melody, and it makes him sound like he’s singing off-key on top of it already, not being a typical melodic voice to begin with. 

6. Jennifer Lopez

jennifer lopez
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

In many people’s opinions, Jennifer Lopez has always been more of a dancer than a singer, even before she ventured into acting. One user from an online forum discussing pop culture said he truly can’t understand how she continues making albums when she sounds so bad. Her voice sounds somewhat high-pitched and off-key when she sings, but it’s not the worst I’ve heard in her defense. 

7. Yoko Ono

Yoko Ono
Image Credit: lev radin /

Well known because of her association with John Lennon; Yoko Ono has been deemed as one of the worst singers of all time. Her voice is screechy as she yells her way through most songs, and it’s hard to even put her in the category of “not-great” singers. It’s just awful. No melody, no range, no control, nothing. Unfortunately, many people believe she wouldn’t have made it in the music industry without Lennon, describing her voice as the sound of 1000 cats being skinned alive. 

8. William Hung 

William Hung
Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0, Wiki Commons.

William Hung is most notable for his Ricky Martin impression on American Idol, during which Simon Cowell infamously stopped him a few seconds into the song to tell him, “You can’t sing.” Ironically, Hung secured a record deal shortly after, and he released three albums in quick succession. Sure, his voice is very unconventional, he doesn’t sing with the rhythm, and it doesn’t sound good, but he’s a very likable guy! 

9. Drake

Slike 2023 07 27T004457.217
Image Credit: Netflix.

Drake is known for being a singer/rapper, but apparently, he should stick to rapping. A few people who have heard him singing live said his voice is very dry and monotone, and he isn’t actually singing so much as he is talking. I don’t think he sounds that bad, but I can understand people saying that he isn’t a great singer the way he’s touted by his fans. 

10. Adam Levine

Adam Levine
Image Credit: Andre Luiz Moreira/Shutterstock.

I’ve listened to Adam Levine on more than one occasion, and I’m not all that impressed by his voice. However, he’s another person who is more of an acquired taste than just a bad singer altogether. His voice is a little “twangy,” as someone described, somewhat like a cross between country and rock-n-roll. He sounds a little off-tune sometimes, but that’s the public’s biggest gripe for the most part. 

11. Milli Vanilli

Milli Vanilli
Image Credit: By Photo by Alan Light, CC BY 2.0, Wiki Commons.

Milli Vanilli had quite a few people fooled when everyone realized that Pilatus and Morvan never sang any of the songs that they recorded. Instead, they used altered voices and lip-synched their way all the way to a Grammy. Fans were livid, to say the least, and said that they should’ve never picked up a microphone if they couldn’t even sing well enough to perform a single sing live.

12. Katy Perry

Katy Perry
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Katy Perry is a famous pop singer who has so many catchy songs that I’m a bit surprised to come across the idea that she actually can’t sing very well despite her popularity. Some folks believe that all she really does is scream through her songs and get her voice altered for the albums. Those who’ve attended her concerts say they left halfway through the show because they were disappointed that she didn’t sound how she did on her CDs. 

13. Selena Gomez

Selena Gomez
Image Credit: DFree /

Not only did one individual say that Selena Gomez sounds like an “auto-tuned goose,” but several commenters concurred. Ouch. I’m not a big Gomez fan, as I originally remember her from the Disney Channel sitcom The Wizards of Waverly Place, but I always thought she had a very pitchy voice that sounded like she sings through her nose. So, I can see the goose comparison. 

14. Britney Spears

Britney Spears
Image Credit: Dooley Productions /

Britney Spears has had her name strewn about the web for various reasons, but I can never remember one of those reasons being because she has a spectacular voice. It comes off as a stereotypical pop star, which works, but it’s also very nasally and pitchy sometimes. I’d even go as far as to say it sounds robotic, depending on the song. 

15. Nicki Minaj

Nicki Minaj at the 2017 MTV Video Music Awards held at the Forum in Inglewood, USA on August 27, 2017.
Image Credit: Tinseltown /

Nicki Minaj finds herself in the same category as Drake when it comes to rapping and singing. Unfortunately, in her case, it’s easy to tell that she can’t actually sing and that the studio doctors her voice up a lot for the sake of selling her music. While a lot of her songs are catchy and popular, in reality, she just isn’t a strong vocalist, and we’ll be just fine with Nicki, the rapper only. 

Source: (Reddit)



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