Looking for some of 2012's most talked-about moments? Look no further than the music world--as proof positive, music superstars have some of the most hefty Twitter followings in the entire world of celebrity. The top four most followed artists--Lady Gaga (31.8 million), Justin Bieber (31 million), Katy Perry (29.6 million), and Rihanna (27 million)--pull way ahead of arguably the most famous person in the world, our own Commander in Chief Barack Obama (24 million).
That said, it stands to reason that many of the year's buzziest moments came straight from music artists, music events, or hit songs. With those sorts of fanclubs, it's no wonder the Internet was set a-chattin' over and over by music this year. Let's take a look at some of 2012's most viral moments in music.
Justin Bieber promotes Carly Rae Jepsen. Bieber helped the "Call Me Maybe" singer along by tweeting in late 2011 about his love for the earwiggy tune. He took it a bit further in 2012 by creating a bubbly home video with some of his famous buddies (including girlfriend Selena Gomez) lip-synching to the song. For no apparent reason, everyone in the clip sports a fake mustache at one point or another, sparking the nickname "'Stache Me Maybe."
...And then he promotes himself in a unique way. Later in the year, Bieber's laptop was reportedly stolen backstage after a show, resulting in his concern about some "racy" stuff he had on the computer. Accordingly, a nude photo appearing to be the singer began circulating online, as well as a random Twitter user uploading some never-before-seen footage of Bieber. The Twitter thief taunted Bieber, saying that a hugely controversial video would be released "Tomorrow at NOON." Fans waited to see what would happen--and what happened was, it was all designed to promote Bieber's new (G-rated) video with Nicki Minaj, "Beauty And The Beat." Well played, Biebs. Nice pwnage.
Frank Ocean comes out on Tumblr. Knowing that some of the lyrics on his album Channel Orange were clearly addressed to a male love interest, rising R&B star Ocean preempted gossip by posting a rambling, thoughtful note on Tumblr discussing his first love--a man--at age 19. "I feel like a free man," the 25-year-old concluded. Although much discussion revolved around the R&B and rap communities' supposed intolerance for homosexuality, Ocean received high-profile praise for his decision, including supportive words from Russell Simmons, Beyonce, and Jay-Z. He's currently up for six Grammy Awards in 2013.
Courtney Love mouths off, embarrasses daughter, apologizes on Twitter: The only thing worse than having your mom mortify you on social media? Being Frances Bean Cobain and having her mom mortify you on social media. The famously loose-lipped Courtney Love took to Twitter in April, blasting Foo Fighters frontman and former Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl for supposedly hitting on her then 19-year-old daughter. Grohl and Cobain both immediately denied the accusation; with Cobain icily telling E! "While I'm generally silent on the affairs of my biological mother, her recent tirade has taken a gross turn." Coban added that she believes Twitter should outright ban her mother. Love apologized after a fashion, tweeting "Bean, sorry I believed the gossip.. Mommy loves you."
'Hologram Tupac' performs at Coachella (Photo: Christopher Polk)The late Tupac performs as a hologram at Coachella. Crowds were astounded--and critical reception was mixed--when the digital recreation of the late rapper appeared on stage with (the alive and well) Snoop Dogg at the California music fest. The hologram even gets its own Twitter account, with nearly 25,000 followers. Plenty of celebs were impressed by the show, with stars including Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus, and Kanye West tweeting about the event. Perry tweeted "I think I might have cried." Meanwhile, the makers of the hologram, Digital Domain, might be crying too--the company filed for bankruptcy in September.
Beyonce joins Twitter. Yeah, just joins it, that's all. The notoriously private superstar was really late to board the Twitter train, but when she did, she started things off right with a nice dose of self-promotion. "Hey World, It's B! I'm so excited to invite you to my new beyonce.com--we've been working hard, and it's finally ready for you XO." The inaugural tweet earned her an instant 3.4 million followers. Bey takes her social media seriously--no time to fool around, kids. Seven months later, she'd join Instagram on Election Day and post a photo of herself in a "Texans for Obama" shirt.
And, she loves on the First Lady. Beyonce remained active for the Obama campaign all year, taping a video specifically for Michelle Obama in which she praised the First Lady as "the ultimate example of a truly strong African-American woman," as well as an exemplary mother and wife. Obama responded on Twitter, thanking Bey for the gesture and "for being a role model who kids everywhere can look up to."
Aspiring rapper tweets "YOLO," dies in car crash shortly after. Drake's oft-repeated "You only live once" line took an eerie turn in the fall when California rapper Ervin McKinness decided to tweet it. Oh--he didn't just tweet it, he drunk-tweeted it, and while riding in a car at a very unsafe speed (120 mph by his admission). Sadly, what you might expect to happen did indeed happen. The car crashed, killing McKinness and the other four men in the car with him. Police reported that McKinness was not the driver; however, the tweet circulated rapidly as an ominous warning to the reckless.
Chris Brown shows his sensitive side. Well-known for his warm, caring style, as well as his boundless respect for women, a drinkin' and smokin' Chris Brown rambles in an overproduced self-released video that he loves both singer Rihanna and model Karrueche Tran. Well, he doesn't call either of the girls out by name, but given that he's got a history with both--and he just can't help it, "is there such a thing as loving two people?"--it's pretty safe to assume that's the dealie-o. "I'm not trying to be a player," Brown assures his fans. Such a relief to hear all of this; we were all just so worried about this situation!
But there is one woman Brown does not love. Just a few short weeks after his lovelorn confession, Brown entered into a nasty Twitter war with comedienne Jenny Johnson. After Brown tweeted randomly one day about looking old, Johnson baited him by saying "Being a worthless piece of s--t can really age a person." Both parties pulled no punches in the resulting Twitter fight, with most of the conversation consisting of filth foul enough to shock even jaded social-media-lites. Brown ultimately deactivated his account altogether; Johnson recieved death threats from his fans; the hosts of The View attempted to dissect the whole incident.
The Wanted's Max George (Photo: Jamie McCarthy)Brit boys also call each other names on Twitter. In a slightly less vile, but still heated, exchange--members of boy bands One Direction and The Wanted picked on each other for no apparent reason. 1D's Zayn Malik started things off by calling The Wanted's Max George a "geek" on Twitter. Oooh, burn...George attempted to blow things off, but then Malik upped the ante by throwing around terms such as "chlamydia boy." George again attempted to be cool, but ultimately got riled enough to challenge Malik to a fight at the upcoming Z100 Jingle Ball in New York City. The other members of both bands additionally joined the fray with respective insults of their own. The result? Nothing. All pretty-boy faces were kept intact at the Ball, with George preaching "peace and love" for Christmastime.
Finally, does this one even need any explanation? "Oppan Gangnam style." If you perhaps have been spending the year spelunking in Siberia and haven't heard by now, Korean rapper PSY's catchy dance craze charmed everyone from Madonna to Ellen DeGeneres, the chorus ranked as a quote of the year (up there with oft-repeated gems such as "binders full of women"), and the video has garnered nearly a billion views on YouTube--the site's most-watched clip in its history.