NEW YORK (AP) Singer Ashlee Simpson’s “extra help” may have been exposed when a “Saturday Night Live” audience heard her voice singing the wrong song while she held a microphone at her waist.

Her record company blamed a computer glitch and she blamed her band for Sunday morning’s incident, which cut off her planned performance of the song “Autobiography” on the network comedy show.

Simpson had performed her hit single “Pieces of Me” without incident earlier in the show. When she came back a second time, her band started playing and the first lines of her singing “Pieces of Me” could be heard again.

She looked momentarily confused as the band plowed ahead with the song and the vocal was quickly silenced.

Simpson made some exaggerated hopping dance moves, then walked off the stage 35 seconds into the performance. NBC quickly cut to a commercial.

“What can I say?” guest host Jude Law said with Simpson standing next to him at the end of the show. “Live TV.”

“Exactly,” Simpson said. “I feel so bad. My band started playing the wrong song. I didn’t know what to do so I thought I’d do a hoe-down.”

Her record company, Geffen Records, said there was a computer glitch. Instead of some pretaped electronic percussion, the recording of “Pieces of Me” started mistakenly performing, the record company said in a statement.

But it sounded suspiciously like a guide vocal that’s a common although almost always unspoken concert aid. Either the singer “lip synchs” by mouthing words to a backing tape or has a live microphone and sings along to the tape, making the voice sound more powerful than it is.

Such vocal tricks have been used before on the show, making “Saturday Night Live” not entirely live, said a show insider who spoke on condition of anonymity.

A Geffen spokeswoman did not immediately return a call for comment.

Simpson’s walk-off joins the lore of other unexpected music moments on “SNL”: Mike Patton, lead singer of Faith No More, climbing into the industrial fan behind thestage, Elvis Costello stopping and changing songs on live TV, and Sinead O’Connor tearing up a picture of the pope.

Field really, really likes TV

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We also thank the irrepressible, the unstoppable, the untoppable Sally Field, who distinguished herself early with the groundbreaking, social-issues-laden, hard-hitting shows “Gidget” and “The Flying Nun.” News is, she may return to the boob tube! (For which we would feel nothing but infinite gratitude.) The Oscar winner is talking to ABC, which was home to Sal’s earlier shows, about doing a new sitcom. It would be about a middle-age woman who makes a life change by divorcing her husband and getting a job. Inspired, you say? To us it smacks of Shakespearean grandeur.

‘HOUSEWIVES’ IN HOT WATER?

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How do we know “Desperate Housewives” is way hot, way cool, probably way too good for network TV? Besides having the everlicious Terri Hatcher on its hottie-heavy cast (she’d add steam to any show, no matter how lame), the program has drawn the ire of ABC’s sponsors, three of which have pulled out, whining that “DH” is too racy.

According to CNN, Tyson Foods, Lowe’s Cos. and Kellogg have yanked their support. Reason? CNN says reps at Tyson (which sells dead chickens) and Lowe’s (home improvement stuff) say it’s the show’s brassy, brash and, yes, brazen script that bothers ‘em.

Meanwhile, ABC is holding its ground, saying the show is attracting more advertisers, not fewer.

‘Yard’ cast filling out

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And while we’re on the subject of lacking a certain physical presence, casting is just about complete for the remake of “The Longest Yard,” which begins production at the end of this month. Popular rapper Nelly will appear opposite Adam Sandler and Chris Rock in the comedy, which pits prisoners against guards in a football grudge match inside a penitentiary. Burt Reynolds who starred in the 1974 original will play the inmates’ coach this time around. Not to belabor the obvious, but Nelly, Sandler and Rock as football players? The three of them could fit in Corey Simon’s sweatpants with enough room left over to open a Wawa franchise.


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