We’ve all forgotten our lyrics at some point or another. You’re mind’s gone blank. A cold sweat is quickly breaking out on your back, Your audience is looking up at you. What do you do now? Have a back up plan:
The main thing is don’t stop singing. To buy yourself some time until you do remember your words:
Get your mouth on your microphone and sing in tune with some vowels sounds. It will just sound muffled to your audience, and probably won’t notice anything is wrong
If you are singing in a choir or group, then the old ‘Rhubarb’ trick usually helps. Silently mouth the word ‘rhubarb’ in time with the music until you find your place again. This trick however, is not going to work if you have a more prominent part.
Depending on your personality and how quickly you can think on your feet, you could ad-lib or sing totally random words in tune with your song eg ‘ I’ve forgotten how the next line goes, but it goes something like…’ until you find your place, or if you are singing a cover of a popular song, perhaps your audience can help you out, point the microphone at them and gesture for them to join in.
Some people have a music stand with their lyrics. If you use this method, try to keep it as indiscreet as possible. Have the stand at waist height not face level. Print the lyrics in large text so it is easy to read from a distance.
Another tip that works is have a friend in the audience, nearby where you can see them. Have a discrete cue system eg if you touch your hair, then they would mouth the next line to you or use a gesture to jog your memory. It helps if your friend has a copy of the lyrics for this to work!
Other ways would be to have cue cards with memory joggers on the floor. Some big artists have complete autocue systems, but this doesn’t come cheap!
Whatever you decide to do I hope this helps you out of a sticky situation, should it ever arise.