The Popcorn Isn't Real
Sing to me, Paolo. Director Jim Fall joins us to discuss his film: THE LIZZIE MCGUIRE MOVIE. We try to convince him that the villainous, lip-syncing Paolo was NOT the bad guy! He actually never told a lie, and Isabella was the REAL villain all along! This is what dreams are made of!
Rent or buy The Lizzie McGuire Movie and follow along with us!
I'm here to right a great injustice, and clear the name of the fully innocent, kind but naive popstar Paolo Valisari. My theory is that Paolo never told a lie, he did not lip-sync, and he never intended to deceive Lizzie McGuire. The TRUE villain of the movie was in fact none other than Lizzie's doppelganger, the spiteful Isabella Parigi, who tricked everyone with her hateful, lying, lip-syncing charade!
This may sound crazy, but please bear with me and everything will become clear. I can back up every claim I've made, and for due diligence I actually invited the Director, Jim Fall on my podcast to hear his thoughts on this theory. In the end, he admitted that he believes it!
Paolo exclusively defends and speaks positively of Isabella
When they first meet at the gelato shop, Paolo immediately recognizes that Lizzie looks just like his former singing-partner Isabella. The day after, Paolo explains his plan to Lizzie. He's very open and honest, outlining the problem. He and Isabella have signed a contract to host the International Music Video Awards. Isabella is now refusing to appear, has flown off to an island, is completely unreachable, and she is going to get sued for breaching her contract. Paolo asks Lizzie to pose as Isabella, to save her from getting sued and from the embarrassment of ghosting her commitment.
Note: Canonically everything Paolo says here is true. The contract is real. Isabella has actually unexpectedly disappeared and is completely cut off from everyone, otherwise she would have found out Lizzie is posing as her and put a stop to it. And furthermore, this entire plan is designed exclusively to help Isabella and not Paolo. If he really wanted to hurt her career and embarrass her, he could simply allow her to blow off the award ceremony. Fallout for Paolo would be minimal, since he's holding up his end of the contract. It could hurt them as a duo, but this is not relevant because they're both planning to split up anyway. This entire situation is only bad for Isabella, and Paolo, a kind and truly good friend, is frantically trying to put together a solution to save her.
It's also important to notice that as soon as Lizzie announces loudly that Isabella lip-syncs, Paolo launches into disaster recovery mode. He immediately shushes Lizzie, saying:
"Please please please please please! You must promise me you will speak of this to no one! Imagine what would happen to Isabella's career!"
If Paolo truly had it out for Isabella, it would be very easy for him to sit back and watch her career implode, or badmouth her to everyone. Instead, he's bending over backwards to help her. Throughout the rest of the movie, Paolo never says a single negative word about Isabella. He only speaks highly of her and praises her.
Did Paolo lie about performing on stage?
You may be thinking to yourself "That's all well and good, but it doesn't change the fact that Paolo lied to Lizzie about having to sing." To which I would respond, are you sure about that? The entire idea that Paolo lied comes from Gordo, who has no idea about the situation. He's getting all of his information from a magazine he borrowed from some Italian girls, who translated it for him. He tells Lizzie that she's going to have to sing, and that it's weird Paolo hasn't mentioned this to her. Lizzie agrees, and confronts Paolo about it.
Paolo openly explains the entire situation.
"Isabella and I WERE going to sing, but after Isabella would not speak to me, I told the producers we refuse to perform. I said Isabella had throat problems."
He then informs Lizzie that just after they met, things changed.
"A reporter heard you speaking in front of the Gelato shop. He reported Isabella's voice was fine. And he said her English was very good, by the way. But then the record company called, and now they're going to sue if we don't sing."
He even laments the fact that he was unable to call Lizzie and let her know, because she told him not to call her! He literally never had a chance to tell her before now.
Importantly, this entire explanation makes perfect sense in universe, nothing Paolo says at this point is a lie. Let's examine it closer. All of Lizzie's information comes from Gordo's magazine. The cover of the Magazine is a photo of Lizzie at the Gelato shop, just like Paolo said. Sadly we don't get to see the article, but we do get to see the headline, which in Italian reads:
Paolo & Isabella
all' INTERNATIONAL MUSIC VIDEO AWARDS
La coppia si esibira sul palco del grande evento internazionale
As far as I can tell, this translates roughly to:
Paolo & Isabella
at the INTERNATIONAL MUSIC VIDEO AWARDS
The couple will perform on stage at the great international event
Which seems to be announcing that Paolo and Isabella will in fact be performing at the International Music Video Awards! This completely confirms Paolo's story, that they were not going to perform but now that Isabella's throat is better they will, which is a big enough deal that it made the cover story of this magazine! Paolo did not lie to Lizzie.
Gordo meets the spiteful Isabella
Eventually Gordo takes the blame for Lizzie playing hooky to hang out with Paolo, and as a result he's sent home. At the airport, Gordo runs into the true villain of this story, Isabella, who is a stark contrast to the kind and benevolent Paolo. She has nothing but negative things to say about Paolo. From the instant we see her, she's angry, vengeful, and seems to be looking for some way to hurt Paolo. She also seems to have no intention of attending the International Music Video Awards, saying:
"I have been relaxing on that island, trying to forget about this whole situation!"
Since she was only just informed of the Lizzie situation, the only thing she could be talking about which motivated her to go to the island is her breakup with Paolo and the Music Video Awards. She certainly seems to be explaining that her solution to both, was to simply ignore it all. She really was just going to blow it off, which means that canonically Paolo was not lying and is in fact trying to save her career!
Isabella meets Gordo, she pulls him aside to talk privately, and they concoct a dastardly plan to destroy the naive Paolo...
Live at the Colosseum
As Lizzie is preparing for the ceremony, Isabella and Gordo intercept her and begin trash-talking Paolo. They frantically try to convince Lizzie that Paolo is a liar, this is all a crazy scheme to set Lizzie up and embarrass her on stage so it looks like Isabella can't sing, and that in fact, Paolo is the one who lip-syncs. As I have proven, none of their claims have any backing at all.
It's at this point that Lizzie says the single most logical sentence in the entire movie to Isabella:
"Ok. Well you're here now, so go and sing."
This is the perfect resolution to the entire situation if, in fact Isabella is telling the truth. All she needs to do is go sing, and Paolo's supposedly evil plan will completely fail. But this is not acceptable for Isabella, because Paolo doesn't actually have an evil plan! Instead, Isabella says they need to make Paolo pay, and that Lizzie must go on stage.
I just want to note here, that Isabella's story makes no sense at all. How could she possibly know that Paolo has some evil plan in the works? Based on what she's heard from Gordo, she should think that Paolo's trying to help her! And she keeps talking about making Paolo pay, but for what? Even if he had an evil plan, he certainly hasn't carried it out yet! There's nothing to make him pay for! It seems to me like Isabella is the one with the evil plan, and she is trying to confuse poor Lizzie into helping her carry out her own vendetta.
The climax - Isabella's betrayal
We've reached the defining point of this movie. I'm going to prove that Paolo did not lip-sync and that Isabella did lip-sync by walking you through the scene step by step, with images linked as proof where necessary.
Lizzie goes out on stage to sing.
Gordo and the sound-guy turn down Lizzie's mic, but they leave Paolo's mic at full volume.
Paolo sings very well, with his mic at full volume. Since his mic is on, we know that this is actually Paolo singing.
Paolo seems surprised to see Isabella there, singing for Lizzie. But he rolls with it, probably assuming that she made it back on-time and that they can proceed with the ceremony as planned.
Isabella points to Gordo, and he turns Paolo's mic down. He then turns up 3 random unlabeled sound channels.
All of a sudden, Paolo sounds horrible. This is not actually Paolo singing! We know this because his mic is turned down! Isabella has prepared a bad audio track of Paolo's part, and is forcing him unknowingly to lip-sync to it!
Isabella walks up to Paolo, who is visibly confused and distressed. He doesn't know what's going on. Isabella forces him to sing one more line, by saying "Sing to me, Paolo."
Paolo, not understanding the situation, tries to sing the next line. His mic is muted, and the bad audio track plays, making him look bad again. At this point it clicks in his head what Isabella has done to him. He looks from her to Lizzie, as they smugly stare back. Paolo looks hurt, broken, and betrayed. He shakes his head and just walks off stage.
Isabella wastes no time in attempting to control the narrative. You can hear her audio off-camera saying:
"Say Buonasera to my new American friend, Lizzie McGuire! Paolo tried to use her to try and fool all of you into thinking that I could not sing!"
But Isabella's revenge is not complete yet. She needs to destroy her American look-alike as well! So Isabella and and Gordo then do exactly the evil thing they said Paolo was trying to do and they force Lizzie to sing on stage, against her will! Isabella suddenly asks the audience:
"Do you want to hear her sing??"
Gordo and the sound-guy turn up Lizzie's audio, and the duet begins. Isabella has no idea that Lizzie can sing, and could only be forcing her to sing in an attempt to embarrass her, just like she said Paolo would do. However, Lizzie can sing, much to Isabella's surprise!
In a last-ditch effort to destroy Lizzie, Isabella tries one final trick. Suddenly in the middle of the song, Isabella just nopes out of there, right as the second verse starts. It seems like she leaves for absolutely no reason, she doesn't even do anything off stage. She's just trying to screw Lizzie over, leaving her to perform alone.
Lizzie is scared, she's terrified, and tries to flee the stage. Gordo stops her and forces her to go back and perform alone! Poor Lizzie never asked for any of this, she's not ok with it, and she didn't consent to it! Luckily for her, however, Lizzie is a complete badass and knocks the performance out of the park, spoiling Isabella's dastardly plan for once and for all.
One last note before I wrap this up, I said I'd prove that Isabella is lip-syncing. How do I know this? It turns out, Lizzie's singing voice is Hilary Duff, which makes sense because this is her actress. Isabella's singing voice, however, is not Hilary Duff, but is in fact Hilary's sister Haylie Duff, as confirmed to me by director Jim Fall. This means that Isabella's singing voice is not her own actor's voice, which means that she is lip-syncing on stage! Which proves, beyond any doubt, that Paolo never lied! Everything he said was true, and the evil Isabella screwed him over and tried to screw Lizzie as well!
tl;dr: Paolo never lied. Every claim he makes is backed up in the movie. He never tries to hurt Isabella, only to save her career. During the grand finale, we are shown that Paolo's mic is turned up when he sings well, and that Isabella turns down his mic when the bad-singing starts. This proves that he is a good singer and did not purposefully lip-sync, and that Isabella was tricking everyone. Furthermore, Isabella's singing voice was not provided by her actress, Hilary Duff, but was provided by Hilary's sister Haylie Duff, proving that Isabella was a lip-syncing, lying, vengeful monster.