Embarrassing Live Television Bloopers That Will Go Down in History
Embarrassing moments occur on a daily basis for many people — when you’re in line for coffee, sitting in traffic or even on live television. For those who live life in front of the camera, a forgotten line, a careless bit of improv or just a standard case of stage fright can lead to a funny moment that goes insanely viral and never dies.
Regardless, the show must go on — even when the embarrassment feels overwhelming. Check out these embarrassing live television bloopers that are sure to go down in history.
The Wardrobe Malfunction that Stole the Show
The American Super Bowl Halftime Show is one of the most-watched television events of the year. Millions of people tune in to live-tweet the performance, but in 2004, people weren't just tweeting about Janet Jackson’s and Justin Timberlake's performance, they were tweeting about a very scandalous wardrobe malfunction.
Jackson's breast was "accidentally" exposed during the performance, completely shocking the stadium and — more importantly — television audiences. The controversial moment ranks as one of the most embarrassing malfunctions on TV. However, many believed the slip was a publicity stunt to make the performance truly unforgettable.
Kanye West Is at It Again!
Since the beginning of his career, Kanye West has really known how to make headlines. Through controversial ideas and groundbreaking albums, he has become a significant cultural presence. At the 2009 Video Music Awards, he made his opinion known when he drunkenly jumped on stage to interrupt a surprised Taylor Swift.
As she was accepting her award for Best Female Video, West took her microphone and said he would let her finish, but he thought Beyonce deserved the award, finishing off the thought with a nonchalant shrug. What was more embarrassing, his declaration or his leather shirt?
A John Travolta & Adele Danzeem Duet, Anyone?
John Travolta stole hearts in Saturday Night Fever and Grease, making girls everywhere wish they had a singing, dancing, cool guy of their own. In 2014, however, he made an uncool blunder at the Oscars.
When announcing Broadway legend Idina Menzel, Travolta botched her name so completely that it made everyone go, "Huh?" On Jimmy Kimmel's show, he explained that he was rushed onstage and starstruck from meeting Goldie Hawn, so he didn't realize the teleprompter had written Idina's name phonetically, causing him to really mess up. Cool guy aside, that was one line he probably should have rehearsed!
A Very Carey New Year's Eve
When the cold weather rolls around, out comes the queen of the holiday season. In true festive spirit, Mariah Carey performed front and center at the New Year's Rockin' Eve show in 2016 — but not to her usual standards.
From the start of the performance, Carey's mouth movements didn't match the vocals that were playing. As the music continued, she addressed her audience and expectantly waited for the technicalities to be fixed. The whistle tones even played for all to hear as Mariah was still talking to the audience. Surely, all she wants for Christmas is a new tech team.
Lady Liberty Looking a Little Green
Wendy Williams made one Halloween edition of her show extra scary for her audience in 2017. Elaborately dressed as Lady Liberty, she passed out mid-sentence in a most dramatic display. Even the long commercial break couldn't make us forget the incident.
While announcing an upcoming segment, Williams abruptly stuttered and stopped as her eyes bulged and her body began to shake uncontrollably. She then lost her balance and collapsed. Viewers believed it to be a Halloween stunt, but Williams explained that she overheated due to her costume — but kept it on for the remainder of the show.
A Cruise on the Couch
Hollywood heartthrob Tom Cruise had women losing their minds when he appeared on an episode of Oprah in 2005. The actor was overflowing with energy and really took things to the next level when Oprah asked him about his relationship with actress Katie Holmes.
Throughout the episode, Cruise memorably jumped on the couch and made a series of wild hand gestures, including imaginary bowling and grabbing Oprah's hands, all while laughing uncontrollably. Oprah commented on his behavior and attempted to calm him down. His response? "I'm in love." If that's the case, love must be one hell of a drug!
A Mistake of Fictional Proportions
Many of cinema's most iconic films of all time have been recognized at the prestigious Academy Awards. Unfortunately, there have also been a fair share of mistakes, including a major one in 2017.
When Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty opened the envelope for that year's Best Picture, they announced La La Land as the winner. While the cast and crew celebrated on stage, audiences everywhere watched as the presenters realized the error and declared Moonlight to be the official winner. The show’s producer held up the envelope to confirm and assure everyone that it was not a joke. Tough crowd, tough crowd.
Steve Harvey Did It First
When it comes to crowning the wrong winner, Steve Harvey takes the cake. If a beauty pageant isn't emotional enough for you, throwing a misread winner into the mix should do the trick and make you gasp in horror.
During the 2015 Miss Universe pageant, Miss Colombia, Ariadna Gutierrez, had just been crowned the winner — crown on the head, confetti everywhere — when Harvey realized his mistake. He sheepishly apologized before announcing that the real winner was Miss Philippines, Pia Wurtzbach. Harvey later invited her on his show to formally apologize. Hopefully, Miss Colombia got free lifetime therapy for that one.
Who Says the Kardashian-Jenners Don't Have Talent?
Kendall Jenner, one of the younger sisters in the Kardashian-Jenner empire, has claimed her fame as a runway model and social media personality. In 2014, she was a presenter at the Billboard Music Awards.
When Jenner appeared on stage to present the group 5 Seconds of Summer, she was visibly nervous and stumbling over her words. At one point, she began to introduce One Direction, a completely different boy band. She caught herself and awkwardly said, "Guys, I'm the worst reader!" before finishing the introduction. She never fully said the right band's name, and, hopefully, she picked up an acting coach after this fiasco.
Jenni-'Falling' with Grace
Although she's known for her serious roles in X-Men, Red Sparrow and The Hunger Games, Jennifer Lawrence is one of the quirkiest women in Hollywood. She has famous good humor and a down-to-earth personality, which came in handy during the 2013 Academy Awards.
She lost her balance and fell as she went to accept her Best Actress award. When she got to the microphone, she received a standing ovation, to which she said, "You guys are just standing up because you feel bad that I fell, which is really embarrassing!" Even an actress with such poise can find gravity is her enemy.
Simpson Does the Jitterbug
Ashlee Simpson's musical career seemed to be taking off when she landed a spot as SNL's musical guest in 2004. Known for her songs "Pieces of Me" and "Boyfriend," the pop star was sure to put on a great show that evening — and she did.
Simpson visibly hesitated and began dancing awkwardly as her band and vocals played in the background. She looked uncomfortable and kept dancing before walking off the stage completely. She originally blamed her bandmates for playing the wrong song but later claimed her vocal nodes prevented her from singing. Roll the credits on her music career!
Miss-Understanding the Question
Beauty pageants aren't easy. They require determination, discipline and the ability to thoughtfully answer all kinds of questions. At the 2007 Miss Teen USA competition, Miss South Carolina, Lauren Caitlin Upton, missed the mark.
When the presenter asked her why one-fifth of Americans can't locate the U.S. on a world map, Miss Carolina went on a fragmented tangent about South Africa, Iraq and education systems around the world. Following the pageant, she received vicious criticism and became extremely depressed and even contemplated suicide. She now goes by Caite Upton.
Don't Forget to Lock the Door
BBC is a political powerhouse that specializes in serious and credible interviews and news reports. Robert Kelly, a political science professor and Korean relations expert, was giving a live interview from his apartment in Busan when his children burst into the room while he was discussing South Korean politics.
Kelly, who typically locks the door during such events, remained stone-faced while his children attempted to grab his attention, and he apologizes for the commotion. He stays facing the camera and nearly breaks his composure, but then his wife appears and hurriedly carries the kids out of the room. Lesson learned.
The Boy Who Cried Hoax
Richard and Mayumi Heene of Colorado planned for their 15 minutes of fame at the expense of their son, Falcon, after they claimed he was trapped inside a homemade helium balloon they had released. A search for his body commenced, and it turned out, he was hiding in their attic the whole time.
During an interview with Wolf Blitzer, the 6-year-old responded to a question about where he was by turning to his father saying, "You guys said that, um, we did this for show." Both parents served short prison sentences. Fame sure does come with a price.
Seacrest, Give Me Five!
Ryan Seacrest is a host beyond compare. His charming personality makes him lovable on every show, except when he accidentally mixes up a congratulations on American Idol.
When Scott MacIntyre received a golden ticket at his audition, his family and Seacrest were there to celebrate. MacIntyre can also dance and play piano, and he went to college when he was 14 — all without his vision. So, when he sang his way to Hollywood on the show, Seacrest went to give him a high five, awkwardly reaching down to take Scott's hand when his gesture hung in midair.
Brooke Shields, Take Three
The Tony Awards are for TV's best and brightest — or maybe not. At the 2011 Tony's, Neil Patrick Harris, who hosted the show, went into the audience and had celebrities sing verses as part of his bit. Brooke Shields was one of them, but maybe she shouldn't have been.
As Harris approaches her with the microphone, Shields, who appears visibly nervous, has to restart twice because she can't quite get the lyrics out in time with the music. She exclaims she doesn't know what she's doing and reaches for a notecard with the lyrics on them. Harris claims it was "totally improvised." That's showbiz!
Academy Awards Nominate "Dick Poop"
Anyone with an exotic name knows how frustrating it can be to have someone mispronounce your name. When the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences President Cheryl Boone Isaacs took to the stage to announce the nominations for Best Cinematographer, things took a turn for the worse.
As she read the nominees alongside Chris Pine, Isaacs accidentally pronounced Dick Pope's name as "Dick Poop." She quickly corrected herself, but not before everyone heard the mistake. Pope was a good sport about it, saying he's "been called a lot worse," but we know the Internet burst into giggles.
Miss Nebraska Gives the Judges a Show
Speaking of pageants and wardrobe malfunctions, the best one to date happened unexpectedly and without her knowing. At the 2014 Miss America pageant, Miss Nebraska Megan Swanson gave the audience an embarrassing view.
While the announcer was discussing personal style and flair, Miss Nebraska leans over and forgets to keep her knees together. The audience can clearly see her underwear. Ironically, host Chris Harrison was talking about see-through gowns and how wrong they are. Swanson's up-skirt flash was purely accidental, but she still received backlash after the pageant. Cut to commercial!
Jack Fell Down and So Did His Phone
Since their conception, iPhones have taken the world by storm. People stand in mile-long lines in front of every Apple store in order to get their hands on newly released technology. When the iPhone 6 was released in Perth, a young boy named Jack was the first to buy one.
When interviewed by a reporter, Jack opened the box, and the phone accidentally slipped out. There were two scratches on the screen and a couple of scuff marks due to the drop, and everyone still in line gasped and yelled as Jack examined his phone. Hopefully, he paid for extra insurance!
What a MURStake!
X Factor is a show filled with beautiful musical talent, charming hosts and tons of suspense. Unfortunately, with every great show comes the risk of spoilers, which is exactly what Olly Murs contributed during his host debut in 2015.
Before the winner was officially announced, singer and host Olly Murs ruined the results by stating that one contestant was going home before the votes had been "counted." Murs apologized, and his co-host attempted to maintain the suspense before announcing what Murs had already spilled. Never thought you'd get the spoiler for the show on the show, did you?
‘Til Death (and Talk Show Hosts) Do Us Part
A journalist's job is to present the facts. For Kathie Lee Gifford on The Today Show, it seems that no one presented the facts to her. When Martin Short guest-starred on the show, Gifford asked him a question from which few could recover.
She asked Short how he and his wife were still in love, which would probably lead to a sweet answer under normal circumstances. However, Short's wife had died two years before that. Instead of correcting the mistake, Short went along with it, later saying he didn't want to embarrass Gifford. Let's hope she got her facts straight after that.
The Popcorn Is All Over the Floor!
Accepting an award is an incredible honor, whether it’s a spelling bee or a Hollywood awards show. For Kristen Stewart, who rose to stardom through her central role in the Twilight franchise, the hard part seemed to be holding on to the award, literally.
Stewart has remained in the spotlight throughout the years, but one of her shining moments of glory (and embarrassment) occurred at the 2009 MTV Awards. The famous popcorn trophy slipped from her grasp, and despite her attempts to catch it, it fell to the ground. We thought vampires had great reflexes, Kristen!
Excuse Me, Ma'am, We're Professionals!
Do you know what TV broadcasters and scientists have in common? They both have to be prepared for anything, especially explosions on air. For this experiment gone wrong, no one could have predicted things would get so out of hand.
We've all seen Coke and Mentos experiments, but never on live TV and with liquid nitrogen. In moments, the bottle flew out of one woman's hand and into a tree, completely cutting off one of the branches. In a panic, the trio ran for cover as foam sprayed everywhere, and the broadcast showed it all. Don't try this at home, kids.
Weather or Not
Even the most amateur actors know that you're not supposed to wear green in front of a green screen, as anything that color disappears when creating the special effects. For this FOX weather girl, it appears she didn't get the memo.
During a routine weather broadcast, Jessica Starr, who happened to be wearing green that day (did anyone try to stop her?), embraced the comedic situation, dramatically throwing her hands up in the air and exclaiming, "I am the weather!" Only her head and arms were visible, making for a very funny segment. Who knew the weather could be so entertaining?
Your Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Oops!
Superheroes are always there when you need them — usually. During an ABC News live broadcast of the New Year's Eve celebration in New York City, Spider-Man came swooping into the scene next to reporter Sara Haines.
As Haines spotted Spider-Man, she quickly pretended to be a damsel in distress, turning and falling back, expecting the superhero to catch her in his arms. That is, unfortunately, not what happened, as Spidey seemed distracted by the cameras and realized too late that Haines was about to hit the ground. It kind of seems like Spider-Man has a thing for catching blondes a little too late.
Oh, Say Can You... Sing?
One of the greatest honors at sporting events goes to the person who sings the National Anthem before game time. One such singer was the talented Christina Aguilera, who is known for her amazing pipes — and that one time she messed up the anthem.
Maybe she just forgot the lyrics or she just felt like improvising. Either way, Aguilera mistakenly sang a line wrong, singing, "What so proudly we watched at the twilight's last gleaming" instead of the correct "O'er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming." The songstress finished the great performance, but maybe words can bring her down.
The Man of the Millennium
The stars aligned in 2002 when Michael Jackson's birthday fell on the same day as the MTV Music Awards. The show included a birthday cake for Jackson and was presented by pop icon Britney Spears.
When she presented Jackson with the cake, Spears started off by saying she considered him the artist of the millennium. Jackson must have misunderstood because he went on a long speech truly believing he had won the artist of the millennium award. He continued his awkward acceptance speech for an award that did not exist. Would anyone like to correct the King of Pop himself? Nope.
Technology Doesn't Have to Replace Everything
News reporters often have to roll with the punches to keep the show going. When props don't pan out, the best thing to do is just go with it, as BBC newsreader Simon McCoy so comically does during one report.
McCoy has been caught doing embarrassing things like falling asleep at his desk and making uncomfortable metaphors about his career. In 2013, he accidentally picked up a ream of paper instead of his tablet when introducing a news story. Four years later, an exasperated McCoy tweeted that he was trying to move on. Thankfully, the replay button exists.
Plaza Vs. Ferrell – Round One!
Will Ferrell might be the king of cringe in his comedic roles, but at the 2013 MTV Movie Awards, he wasn't the one delivering the awkwardness. Aubrey Plaza, known for her role in Parks and Recreation, rushed onstage as Ferrell was giving an acceptance speech for Comedic Genius and attempted to grab the award with one of her hands while gripping a drink in the other.
Confused, Ferrell refused to let go and asked what was happening before the barefoot actress returned to her seat. Even the funniest person in the room couldn't clear the weirdness in the air that night.
But I Don't Wanna Be a Hugger!
In the age of social media, it seems that everyone knows everyone. In 2017, however, this wasn't the case for Jerry Seinfeld. While being interviewed by Tommy McFly on the red carpet, Seinfeld was approached by singer Kesha, who was a fan of the comedian.
When she went to introduce herself, she asked for a hug, to which he responded, "No thanks." She asked a second time, and, again, he replied, "Yeah, no thanks." Seinfeld admitted he didn't know who she was, and Kesha said the incident slightly traumatized her. She probably won't be asking for any more hugs from her idols.