Ashlee Simpson’s ‘SNL’ Excuse Bolstered By Rehearsal Tape

'60 Minutes' crew captures singer struggling through song prior to show.

Ashlee Simpson started having difficulty with her voice during a dress rehearsal for “Saturday Night Live,” backstage footage recorded for “60 Minutes” shows.

A crew from the CBS newsmagazine was on hand for a story about the late-night comedy program’s creative process, and its cameras were rolling as producers expressed concern about Simpson, who appeared flustered during rehearsals.

Simpson rushed backstage following Saturday’s rehearsal, clutching her throat and appearing to be in tears. At that point, correspondent Lesley Stahl asked “SNL” creator and executive producer Lorne Michaels what the problem was. “We’re concerned about her voice,” he told her. “We’re concerned she’s losing her voice, and we’re not sure she can sing.”

During the now-notorious incident, the live show was going fine until Simpson’s second song, when she stood with her microphone at her side and her mouth closed as a recording played her vocals from “Pieces of Me,” which she’d performed earlier in the show. “60 Minutes” captured her running backstage once again as a shocked staffer mouthed “Oh my God” (the footage can be seen on CBSNews.com or on “60 Minutes,” which airs Sunday at 7 p.m.).

Simpson had a lot of explaining to do, and she started by calling in to “TRL” on Monday to say that her acid reflux had swollen her vocal cords, and on the advice of her doctor as well as her manager/father, Joe Simpson, she used a backing track for the first time to avoid damaging her voice any further. The plan might have worked seamlessly if it weren’t for her drummer hitting the wrong button and cuing the wrong track, she said (see “Ashlee Blames Gastric Distress For ‘SNL’ Lip-Synch Snafu” ).

As the “SNL” snafu continued to be a national punch line, Simpson kept talking — making a joke out of the situation when she sang live on Monday’s Radio Music Awards and discussing the incident Tuesday on “Today” and “Access Hollywood” (see “Ashlee Pokes Fun At Self, Lip-Synch Flap: ‘It’s So Silly’ “ ). Her next televised appearance will be on Friday night’s “20/20,” which airs on ABC at 10 p.m., in a segment focusing on how manager Joe Simpson has been so successful at keeping his daughters in the spotlight.

  Ashlee Simpson: From lip-synch to live



Ashlee is scheduled to sing at the Jingle Ball concert hosted by New York radio station Z100 on December 10 at Madison Square Garden. She plans to launch a tour in January, according to a post on her Web site, in which she thanked her fans for supporting her after the “SNL” incident. “It’s the love that my fans have shown me that makes me want to go back out there and continue to prove all the negative press wrong,” she wrote.

Simpson will shoot a video early next week for “Autobiography,” the song she had intended to sing on “SNL.”