Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Ten Most Captivating Figures of 2009

Whitney staged a comeback, Glenn Beck stepped on toes, and we lost legends such as Ted Kennedy, Patrick Swayze, and Farrah Fawcett. Elin Woods wielded a golf club to tame the wandering Tiger and the word "tweet" was emblazoned in our minds. In the year of the Kanye outburst, there were plenty of captivating moments as well as people. Last year, my list included two fierce sisters, that Alaskan governor, Jeremiah Wright, the Obamas, Carrie and her girls, people who offered unique viewpoints, and rising fashion stars. Here is this year's list of the people that captivated me most. They drew fame, criticism, controversy, and made a mark in 2009.

1. MICHAEL JACKSON

His death shocked and rattled the world. The tragic end to this incredible story brought people together to remember a man who defined generations, shaped music and pop culture, flooded the tabloids, and influenced fashion. Most of all, Jackson promoted images of love and charity. Though his image was tarnished by controversy, he will go down in history as the greatest entertainer to ever live.

2. LADY GAGA

Though she is far from an overnight success, few people knew who Lady Gaga was before the start of the year. Record breaking consecutive number one singles, hair-raising outfits, and a performance style that trumps any other star out there right now, the native New Yorker took the world by storm. Going from playing bars and clubs to meeting the Queen of England in less than two years is no easy feat. If she keeps this momentum, she will reach supernova star status. Let's see if she can keep up the pace. With her catchy pop confections and a knack for alliteration (p-p-p-poker face, m-m-m-monster), the girl is a monster.

3. SUSAN BOYLE

Susan Boyle shares something with many other stars in today's music world. She garnered much of her attention due to her looks. Of course, in her case, it was the lack thereof that catapulted her into stardom. Never judge a book by its cover. That's what we learned from this Brit sensation. She managed to shatter records for debut sales by a female artist and with sales that show no signs of slowing down, she has pushed aside pop vixens half her age and dress size. Who says outer beauty is important?

4. CHRIS BROWN & RIHANNA

The photo of a battered and bruised pop princess will forever be etched in our minds. A rising pop superstar and his equally famous girlfriend made waves on the eve of the Grammy Awards this year when it was announced that he physically attacked her, leaving her severely injured. Months later, after court dates, lost endorsements, and blame games, the smoke has cleared. Nevertheless, both of the stars released albums that were overshadowed by the controversy. Their music failed to outshine polarizing interviews and botched PR campaigns. Will they ever fully recover and put the incident behind them? We will see...

5. TV PARENTS

What do Richard and Mayumi Heene, Jon and Kate Gosselin, & Nadya Suleman have in common? They are all parents who exploited their kids for fifteen minutes of fame. The people behind the balloon boy hoax, Jon & Kate Plus 8, and the Octomom phenomenon each put their children in the forefront to gain attention. Though the world criticized them, we couldn't manage to keep our eyes off of them. Riches, gained and lost, came for them but what they should be most prepared for is the much needed therapy their children will need. Maybe they will one day act in the best interests of their offspring.

6. SONIA SOTOMAYOR

The first nominee to the Supreme Court of Hispanic descent caused a lot of waves with her "wise Latina woman" comment. Face it. We don't know much about her these days but much like Obama, she helped to open up a conversation of about the tender topic of race relations in politics and everyday life. She was confirmed and brought some spice and estrogen to the bench. A wise choice indeed.

7. ADAM LAMBERT

It isn't everyday that a rising pop star confesses homosexuality at the start of his career. Not since disco's Sylvester has a star been so brazen and unapologetic about his homosexuality. Many stars flaunt sexuality but Lambert and his AMA performance brought a taboo to the light. Is there a double standard when it comes to gay public figures and self expression? Maybe it's all a ploy for attention for Lambert. After all, who can even hum the tune of a Kris Allen song? Either way, Lambert actually possesses creativity and talent. David Bowie, Freddie Mercury, and Grace Jones would be proud.

8. E. LYNN HARRIS

The laureate of the black gay man experience passed away this year. He wasn't exactly a household name but no other author spoke to the demographic's flair as well as insecurities. Helping to shape the growth of many young men and women by exposing the secret and tumultuous lives of black gay men, Harris wrote novels that entertained as well as informed. Invisible Life gave an empathetic approach to the DL concept that affects our young men and women even more. We will always remember Raymond Winston Tyler, Jr's pain, passion, and joy.

9. THE CAST OF TWILIGHT

The world is obsessed with blood. Shows like True Blood and Buffy the Vampire Slayer have been a fixture in the minds TV fans. With Rob Pattinson and Taylor Lautner around, no one seems to care about Harry Potter's Daniel Radcliffe anymore. With vampires, scary has been exchanged for sexy. Teen fans swoon and fantasize about the teeth baring stars of the Twilight saga. Not since Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt's roles in Ann Rice's Interview With a Vampire, has so much appeal been brought to the normally shadowy mythological figures. With action sequences, and love stories between these vampire and wolf characters, the undead never seemed so alive.

10. VOGUE EVOLUTION

America's Best Dance Crew brought us the glittery force that was affectionately called Vogue Evolution. The dancing quintet brought vogue to the forefront again with spectacular routines and showstopping drops to the floor. With a transgendered woman at the helm, they also brought a taboo issue to the normally straight stage of ABDC. They didn't win the competition, but they left a mark. The animated and fame hungry group of young people were already underground phenomenons. They just gave America a taste of what ball attendees are accustomed to.

***
So, the list was pretty queer this year. haha. It also included two people that were listed posthumously. I'm sure some will agree with a couple of the choices and disagree with others. These are the people that I most remembered from the year of 2009. The decade came with a big close. Gaga oo-la-laaaaa. Let's get ready for 2010.

[Check out Last Year's List HERE]