I recently stumbled upon a video of actress Kirsten Dunst, and I was absolutely shook. Wait, let me make that more specific: It was a music video by Kirsten Dunst. As far as I knew, she was strictly an actress, a performer who has done everything from teen comedies, to iconic blockbuster, to melancholic cult classics hits. But now, I suppose, I can describe her as a former singing sensation as well:
To be fair, this cover of ’80s hit “Turning Japanese” was a one off for a 2009 art exhibit, but still…what? After watching this, it seems abundantly clear that she made the right decision by sticking to acting. In fact, it’s safe to say that most actors, models, and other celebrities who aren’t musicians but try their hand at music…really shouldn’t have bothered. Sure, there are some who manage to do both really well. J.Lo started her career in acting before becoming a pop star, and Zooey Deschanel made some pretty dreamy songs as part of indie duo She & Him. But they’re anomalies in a sea of flash in the pan hits or forgotten flops by their peers. From Kim Kardashian to Paris Hilton, check out these 12 awkward times celebrities had music careers. The phrase “don’t quit your day job” doesn’t get as much use in the real world as it should, but maybe someone should have said that to some of these celebs.
1. Kim Kardashian
In 2011, Kim Kardashian came out with a song called “Jam (Turn It Up)” which one can only describe as an auto-tuned mess. It’s not even endearing. I think we can all agree that Kim is a lot better at being a businesswoman, contouring, and making over the top Snapchats.
In 2009, Miranda Cosgrove’s song “About You Now” from her album Sparks Fly copped a top ten spot on the US charts. But her follow up, High Maintenance, didn’t produce any hits that were nearly as successful. Also, Miranda Cosgrove with a music career just seemed weirdly contrived to begin with. Did Nickelodeon just get bored and figure, “Hey, maybe Miranda can do a thing?” Sure seems like it.
3. Devon Werkheiser
Okay, so he’s no household name, but plenty of Millennial and Generation Z-ers knew and loved Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide, right? Well, did you know that Devon Werkheiser, who played Ned, makes music? I mean, good for him. Go off, dude. But I can’t help but wish his music was a little less corny.
4. Paris Hilton
In 2006, when Paris Hilton was the biggest celebrity on the planet, she decided to grace us with her musical masterpiece, “Stars Are Blind.” Um…as awkward as this was, are we going to act like this wasn’t a bop.
5. Lindsay Lohan
Lindsay Lohan has some acting chops–even if we rarely see it these days–but music? Well, she had some hits with “Rumors” and “Confessions of a Broken Heart,” in the mid 2000s, but even at the time her foray into music didn’t seem like it would have much longevity. Needless to say, she hasn’t released music since 2008.
6. Victoria Justice
Victoria Justice can actually sing, but she only had one moderate hit with “Freak the Freak Out” in 2010. She left Columbia Records in 2013 and hasn’t made any musical splashes since. Now, compared to the success of her Victorious co-star Ariana Grande’s success…her music career feels a little awkward. But hey, she’s still young and has plenty of time to turn it back around. And even if she doesn’t at least we’ll always have this meme:
— Kermit le Frog (@VisageBongo) April 25, 2017
7. Tyra Banks
Model and actress Tyra Banks made cameos in plenty of music videos, including the iconic Michael Jackson video for “Black and White.” But she also had a music video of her own, accompanied by her song “Shake Ya Body” in 2004. It was part of promo for the second season of America’s Next Top Model and it can pretty much be summed up as an interesting Beyonce cosplay. This is what happens when you have too many people around you saying “yes” when you really need to hear “no…Tyra…don’t do it.”
8. Gwyneth Paltrow
Yes, Goop herself. The woman who managed to convince countless women that steaming your vagina does anything other than make your cooch sweaty…had a country song. Yes, really, her of all people had a country song. It went along with her 2010 movie Country Strong and, as you can see, the video pretty much solidifies the idea that she’s a huge poser. Gwyneth doesn’t have a country bone in her green juice smoothie loving body, and it shows.
9. Scarlett Johansen
In 2008, Scarlett Johansen released an album of 10 Tom Waits covers and one original song. She got to work with plenty of talented musicians and producers for the album; it even features David Bowie! Plenty of critics found her music and voice endearing, but ultimately it was widely received with mixed to average reviews. If you ask me, the whole production felt a little pretentious, like a pet project that only got off the ground because of Scarlett’s clout. Pass.
10. Heidi Montag
Reality star Heidi Montag of The Hills fame released an album in 2010 called “Superficial”…and it was pretty damn awful. At least we got a hilariously bad music video out of it, however.
Yeah, it’s not just actors and reality show wash outs that dabble with music. Some athletes do too, including basketball superstar Shaquille O’Neal. Back in 1993, Shaq released an ultra West Coast hip hop album called Shaq Diesel (LOL, yeah) which featured a song called “(I Know I Got) Skillz.” It’s both mediocre and endearing AF.
12. Eddie Murphy
I’ll honestly use any excuse to make sure everyone knows the beauty of Eddie Murphy’s 1985 one hit wonder, “Party All The Time.”
Do you think any of these celebrities should have kept making music? What other celebrities do you know of have had brief forays into music? Tell us in the comments!