Ten pop-music moments that defined 2011
With major comebacks and massive hits, 2011 was the year of the women, from Beyoncé to Miley Cyrus. Without singers like Adele, we wouldn't have songs to cry along with, and without Katy Perry, we wouldn't have any songs to hum at our nine-to-five. So what, exactly, were the biggest pop moments of 2011? Put your headphones in, press play on your Top 40 playlist and prepare to find out.
10. February: Lady Gaga's egg hatches on the 2011 Grammys, because she was born that way
It had been five months since Gaga treated the world with the weirdest outfit in pop yet, a meat dress. Not one to rest on her laurels, Gaga topped the controversial dress with an even stranger food-based tactic: hatching from an egg. After all, what better way for Gaga to say, "Hey, monsters, I'm baaaaaack (with a new song that rips Madonna)" than to break out of her own shell, devil horns and all, to perform "Born This Way" at the 2011 Grammys. Following the hatching, the casual viewer found himself scratching his head, but monsters everywhere had a hankering for scrambled eggs.
Result: Gaga had everyone talking about her newest over-the-top performance, and then that chatter turned into sales. Everyone everywhere bought her second full-length album, Born This Way -- though most bought it on Amazon for only 99 cents.
9. February: Miley Cyrus and her daddy have a falling-out in the tabloids
It sucks when you're having a rough year, but it's even worse when your dad calls you out on it in GQ magazine -- in a story called "Mr. Hannah Montana's Achy Broken Heart," no less. Like, major ouch, Dad. The story sparked an onslaught of Cyrus-family fever, none of which was good publicity for Miley or Billy Ray. Looking back, Billy Ray was on the losing end of the whole scenario: As his family was crumbling -- an impending divorce and a daughter who smokes pot -- he showed the world he was that dad. You know, the type that rats out his daughter to the principal for using Spark Notes to help with an essay. Not cool, Billy Ray, not cool.
Result: Billy Ray just did a straight-to-TV movie for the Hallmark Channel. So there's that. Miley's career, on the other hand, is at an all-time high (zing!).
8. December: Nicole Scherzinger crushes a young girl's dreams on X Factor
As if the American public needed another reason to not buy Scherzinger's new record -- which has been delayed and delayed until we wonder if it will ever even come out -- she goes and pulls this stunt. As the fourth judge on the U.S. version of X Factor, after Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul and L.A. Reid, Scherzinger is the only one with current experience as a recording artist (Abdul's last release was in 2009, believe it or not). Sure, Scherzinger may be struggling to find an American fan base now that it's been a few years since she last asked Snoop Dogg to loosen up her buttons, but establishing a following was the only reason she was booked for X Factor in the first place. And then she went and messed that up, too. Her indecisiveness inadvertently sent a four-way judges' vote to deadlock on the show and forced thirteen-year-old Rachel Crow to pack her bags.
Result: Only time will tell, but the few fans Scherzinger currently has at this point should not, by any means, expect the singer's debut album until at least May, when American Idol makes us forget all about this X Factor drama.
7. June: Maroon 5 and Christina Aguilera team up for "Moves Like Jagger"
What do you do when your third album stalls on the charts and you need to kick-start sales? The same thing you do when your fourth album stalls on the charts and you need a sales boost: Pair with an equally struggling pop artist to record one of the most annoyingly catchy songs of the year. At least, that's what Maroon 5 and Christina Aguilera did with "Moves Like Jagger," the inescapable song of all songs this year. At the time, the solution to a stalled charting for Maroon 5's new album, Hands All Over, which lacked a radio-ready single, was all too obvious: Throw Adam Levine on The Voice as one of four judges in a format that was a bit like American Idol, a bit like Blind Date, and watch sales soar. Well, that didn't happen. But the second-best thing did, as Maroon 5 and Christina Aguilera teamed up for this ode to Mick Jagger's hips. Despite predictions, "Moves Like Jagger" eventually garnered a number-one spot on the Billboard Hot 100 and is number nine on Billboard's year-end Hot 100 chart.
Result: Levine and Aguilera's contracts for The Voice are renewed, and Jagger hysteria sweeps the world. Overseas, Cher Lloyd releases a song called "Swagger Jagger," and Stateside, will.i.am gets the Jagger man himself to guest on a crappy hip-pop track called "T.H.E. (The Hardest Ever)," which also features Jennifer Lopez. Gee, thanks, Adam and Xtina.
6. May: SNL buddies Justin Timberlake and Andy Samberg have a three-way with Lady Gaga
First Timberlake and Samberg put their dicks in boxes, then they made love to each other's moms. Now, in the ultimate test of friendship, these bros get down with the same chick, Lady Gaga. And it's cool. Because of the Golden Rule.
This clip, plus the other skits in which Timberlake performed during his stint as Saturday Night Live host in May, cemented what many pop fans already knew: Timberlake's music career is long gone. He swapped it for acting, to become a true comedic funnyman instead. (He went on to star in Friends With Benefits alongside Mila Kunis, putting the Natalie Portman-Ashton Kutcher version, No Strings Attached, to comic shame.) It also proved that Gaga, despite her, well, career-centric ambitious demeanor, also had a funny side...and a kinky side.
Result: The Lonely Island, the crew behind "3-Way (The Golden Rule)" with Samberg, lands a Grammy nomination for Best Comedy Album for Turtleneck and Chain, which, unfortunately, does not include "3-Way" in its tracklist.