They may be talented vocal artists on the music front but as actors on the big screen they are largely an embarrassing cinematic presence. There are exceptions, (Cher's an Oscar winner for instance) but these are few and far between.
So let us present to you the top 10 worst singer celluloid performances by musicians who frankly knew they really stunk as actors but signed up for the goddamn movie anyway…
1. Whitney Houston in The Bodyguard (1992)
There's no denying her status as an R&B diva, but when you take away her singing voice what are you left with? Well a temperamental rich diva playing a temperamental rich bitch diva, who continuously mounts pussy fits and gives a largely soap operatic performance that is more in tune with an overblown episode of Dynasty than a glossy thriller, (then again it was the early 90s). With absolutely no spark ignited between her and her equally wooden co-star Kevin Costner (who should have known better) this 'romantic thriller' falls flat no matter how high Houston can belt out a note.
2. Tom Jones in Mars Attacks! (1996)
Blurting out It's Not Unusual comes naturally to the Welsh singing sensation, but unfortunately acting doesn’t! In Mars Attacks! – Tim Burton’s preposterous parody of 1950s sci-fi B-movies – Mr Jones is required to perform his signature tune and then act all concerned when he, and the entire population are under attack by a sudden slew of intangible aliens from outerspace. The result is… well frightening!
3. Madonna in Die Another Day (2002)
To be honest Madge is pretty awful in almost every movie role she chooses (Evita was a musical performance above anything else), but Die Another Day bears special mention for both her equally dogawful contribution to the title score, and hopelessly flimsy cameo appearance as a lesbian fencing instructor who jabs "I don't like cockfights". Well, as Bond once said in Live and Let Die, "There's no sense going out half-cocked" is there Madge?
4. Phil Collins in Hook (1991)
In Buster the Genesis front man gave a fine, witty performance, but his bit-part performance as Detective Good in Steven Spielberg’s disastrous fairytale flop was… well, not good at all. In fact it's a largely pointless embarrassment, rather like the film itself.
5. Diana Ross in The Wiz (1978)
The former Supreme was revealed as an acting calamity when she put in a truly preposterous turn as Dorothy in Sidney Lumet's musical take on The Wizard of Oz. By all accounts her hammy 'acting' is so out of sync with the story that you wonder whether she was caught up in her own dizzy chain-reaction?
6. Wayne Newton in License to Kill (1989)
A truly cringeworthy turn for the American singer and Las Vegas entertainer. Newton stars as manipulative faith-healer Professor Joe Butcher in what amounts to a largely forgettable turn as an odious Bond henchman, who irritatingly hisses "Bless your heart!" at regular intervals.
7. David Bowie in The Prestige (2006)
Under normal circumstances Bowie is usually a show-stealing presence in the movie limelight, installing an appropriately surreal and supernatural charge into his characters (see Labyrinth, The Hunger and The Man Who Fell to Earth). But in Christopher Nolan's brilliant mystery thriller The Prestige his performance is destroyed by his decision to adopt a goofy voice, making him sound more like a dreaded Frank Spencer impersonator then a powerful enigmatic wizard.
8. Bob Dylan in Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid (1973)
While he contributed a suitable rich, nostalgic and atmospheric score for Sam Peckinpah's seminal western, Bob Dylan also put in a largely thankless role as the constantly mumbling gunslinger Alias. It's an unfortunate pitfall amongst the beautifully sun-drenched aesthetics, but we're thankful for the music.
9. Busta Rhymes in Halloween: Resurrection (2002)
OK so the material for this detestable horror sequel is dog shite at best, but it isn't helped by Mr Rhymes's cockamamie presence as a kung-fu kicking victim. His performance is so incredibly awful that his iconic status in the American hip-hop scene should have been subsequently tarnished. It certainly Ain't Safe No More!
10. Britney Spears in Crossroads (2002)
Judging from her feeble appearance at the London premiere in Leicester Square, Britney blatantly didn't have much faith riding on her acting debut. And appropriately her pitiful turn in this teen road movie was so critically panned it garnered her a Razzie Award for Worst Actress. Threatening to hit us one more time with another comeback movie role pegged Memoirs of a Medicated Child will inevitable make it clear that she should have stuck to the Mickey Mouse Club.
[story by Oliver Pfeiffer]