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Popstars duped by fake coronavirus singalong videos – but not the squeaky clean Killers

By | Published on Monday 16 March 2020

The Killers

As viral videos (in more than one sense) showing Italians quarantined in their homes singing to each other spread online in recent days, various musicians have been duped by edited videos inserting their own songs.

The videos of Italians signing communally, despite being forced into isolation, has been inspiring as our own politicians in the UK contradict each other about what we may or may not be asked to do to combat the spread of COVID-19 in the coming weeks.

You might think that those videos didn’t need any sort of further editing, but there are those who would apparently disagree with you. Fans of various popstars have been replacing the audio on the clips with existing crowd singalongs of their own favourite songs. And many of those popstars have taken the edited videos at face value.

One of those artists was Madonna, who shared a video of a group of people apparently singing her 2019 single, ‘I Rise’. It is one of the more convincing edits, although you might have thought she would have spotting the doctoring – the audio being taken from a video she herself shared on Instagram last month. The singalong actually took place during a performance at the London Palladium after power to the stage was cut

Katy Perry meanwhile shared a video with the same visuals as Madonna’s, but with audio of a crowd singing her song ‘Roar’, adding the message, “You cannot break the human spirit. We are one in this”. However, the audio is quite clearly taken from within a large concert venue and is even less convincing because Perry’s own voice can be heard in it.

Not everyone’s being taken in though. The Killers shared an equally unconvincing video claiming to show Italians engaged in a mass singalong of ‘Mr Brightside’. “This isn’t real”, they wrote when retweeting the video. Although they quickly followed it with another tweet proclaiming, “But this is”.

That second tweet contained not a doctored video from Italy, but rather frontman Brandon Flowers singing the song in a handwashing demonstration. It takes slightly more than the necessary 20 seconds for him to get through the chorus of ‘Mr Brightside’, so the song is officially a virus buster. And you thought calling the Killers squeaky clean was an insult.

Anyway, Italians may not be singing any of the above songs to each other, but you know – if and when the time comes – ‘Mr Brightside’ will probably be one of the first to be tunelessly belted out by British people on coronavirus quarantine. That and ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’. When’s the vaccine coming, again?