The Fat Lady Sings: Celebrity year in review
As the year draws to a close, we take time to reflect on the big events. In addition, though, we also remember the fluff that kept us entertained – and, at times, enthralled. In 2014 some celebrities triumphed, while others floundered and flopped. A few even managed to do both. In celebration of the unique enclosure of competition, courtship and corruption that is the celebrity zoo, we’re issuing awards to this year’s best and brightest.
The Beyoncé Award for Pop Cultural Ubiquity
In 2014, Swifty finally came into her own. The headlines about her various famous former paramours became less common, with commentators instead focusing on her unrivalled success. Swift’s 1989 remains one of only two albums released this year to have sold a million copies in the US – a feat it managed to achieve in less than a week.
In short, this year Swift went from country girl done good to proper pop force. She outshone all her peers – Rihanna, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, and Beyoncé, to name but a few. (Admittedly, none of these ladies released an album in 2014, save for Bey’s re-release.) Even if Taylor ruled 2014 thanks to a relative lack of competition, though, she ruled it all the same. The haters gonna hate (hate, hate, hate, hate).
The Gwen Stefani Award for Cultural Appropriation
Katy Perry in ‘Dark Horse’
Pharrell Williams in ELLE
Taylor Swift in ‘Shake It Off’
Iggy Azalea in Pretty Much Everything She Did This Year
Niall Horan in ‘Steal My Girl’
White people, amiright? No matter how many times it’s explained to us, we can’t seem to understand that appropriating the religious and cultural customs of others is not a good idea.
Case in point: Niall Horan. He seems like a nice enough chap, all gravity-defying hair and elongated Irish vowels. However, when the One Direction member donned what looked to be traditional African tribal garb and was surrounded by a troupe of African dancers in the video for ‘Steal My Girl’, things got murky.
In part, the difficulty here is the comedic vibe of the ‘Steal My Girl’ clip as a whole. Said dancers are interspersed with shots of Danny Devito and Harry wearing a leopard print coat and ribbon-twirlers and hoola hoopers and a gorilla and a marching band and ballerinas and sumo wrestlers (also arguably problematic) We’re calling Niall out because, unlike the other nominees in this category, he didn’t seem to cop much backlash.
The Britney and Justin Award for Messiest Breakup
Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow
Chris Martin and Jennifer Lawrence
Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon
Jason Derulo and Jordin Sparks (“who?”)
Rita Ora and Calvin Harris
Rita and Calvin were a pop fan’s dream couple. Both provide music that ranges in quality from mediocre to amazing, both are attractive, and both are British. Not since Geri Halliwell and Robbie Williams (yes, they dated) had a couple fulfilled these criteria simultaneously.
The individual charms and abilities of Rita and Calvin were only magnified when they collaborated. The result, Rita’s single ‘I Will Never Let You Down’, remains a shimmering, shaking, rollicking good time of a pop song. Not long after the track’s release, unfortunately, the pair ended their romance.
The reason for the breakup has never entirely been confirmed. At first, the split seemed to be fairly amicable. But then rumours started to swirl. Allegations of infidelity arose, and Calvin pulled his publisher card, preventing Rita from performing ‘I Will Never Let You Down’ at a high-profile awards show. Rita was forced to dump her Calvin co-writes, leaving her without half an album.
During one acoustic performance of ‘I Will Never Let You Down’, Rita even changed the final line to “I might have let you down”. Amidst all the trappings of fame – the Mail Online commentary, the tell-all interviews, the painfully high heels – it served as an important reminder that celebrities, too, have emotions. Poignant, poignant stuff.