Album sales may not be markedly up this year, but there's always one thing that sells in music, and that's celebrity feuds. Happily for gossip fans, 2012 seemed to be a banner year for tiffs between tunesmiths, and not for a moment did anyone have to ask the eternal question: Where's the beef?
For starters, you could craft a healthy list just out of the feuds Nicki Minaj had going (Mariah! Steven Tyler! Stevie Nicks! Lil Kim! Barbara Walters!). In second place, we'd have the eternally embattled Chris Brown and his fellow feuders (Drake! Miranda Lambert! Jenny Johnson! Yo mama!). Madonna might have to settle for third place among pop warriors (Lady Gaga! Elton! M.I.A.! Deadmau5! Her career!).
But how could we leave out such eternal feuders as Axl, Courtney, 50 Cent, and the ever-loving Jacksons? Follow along, wrestling fans, as we recount—in no particular order of feistiness—the 30 greatest music feuds of 2012:
Who can resist when boy bands collide? This late and delicious edition to our list got underway Thanksgiving, when the lads in these two groups took time out from turkey to get beefy. One Direction's Zayn Malik tweeted that the Wanted's Max George was a "wanna-be," which prompted Malik to fire back, "That's not very nice. I was just starting to like you and your RnB hits." (We can assume the "R&B" was meant sarcastically.) Eventually Malik told the Wanted's Tom Parker that "if I had a face like yours my hair would be the last thing I'd worry about," followed by "Let's not even start discussing vocal ability, boys." Retorted the Wanted's Max George. "Stay off the bud… it clearly makes you cranky." Malik tweeted back, "Alright, chlamydia boy." Just as long as it doesn't get personal or anything…
2. STEVEN TYLER vs. NICKI MINAJ
Talking with Yahoo! Recently, the Aerosmith singer talked about the reported feud between Minaj and Mariah Carey and predicted, "It may turn out to be something where one girl goes, 'You know what? F--- you!' That may be the paradigm this year, that both of those girls (will) feud out loud. And they'll bleep it a lot. Maybe that's where it's going." Little did he know that he was about to get caught up in the feud himself. In an interview with MTV News, Tyler said the women would be too busy bickering to nurture a talent like he and his fellow judges had with Phillip Phillips, and added, ""If it was Bob Dylan, Nicki Minaj would have had him sent to the cornfield!" In response, on Twitter, Minaj played the race card: "You assume that I wouldn't have liked Bob Dylan??? why? black? rapper? what? go f--- yourself and worry about yourself babe.... That's a racist comment… let's make him a shirt that says 'No Coloreds Allowed' then escort him down 2 Barbara Walters so he can tell how he was threatened w/ guns" (a reference to Minaj's feuds with Mariah and Walters). Tyler offered a half-hearted apology: "I apologize if it was taken wrong, Nicki. But) I am the last thing on this planet as far as being a racist. I don't know where she got that out of me saying I'm not sure how she would've judged Bob Dylan." Guess we shouldn't count on any official mashup of Aerosmith's "Pink" and Nicki's "Pink Friday."
3. MADONNA vs. LADY GAGA
Madonna worked an interpolation of "Born This Way" into "Express Yourself" on tour this year, pointing up the similarities between the hits. "I thought, 'What a wonderful way to redo my song.' I mean, I recognized the chord changes," she said in an interview with Newsweek. "I thought it was... interesting." In another article, she said, "As for Lady Gaga, I have no comment to make about her obsessions having to do with me because I don't know whether her behavior is rooted in something deep and meaningful, or superficial." She told GMA she found Gaga's imitation/flattery "reductive." When the anchor asked what she meant by that, Madonna growled, "Look it up!" When it comes to the nature-or-nurture question on surliness, we think Madonna might have been born that way.
4. AXL ROSE vs. THE REST OF GUNS N' ROSES
Before GNR was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Rose released an open letter detailing why he wouldn't be coming or reuniting with his old bandmates. He suggested that any calls for the original lineup to play at the ceremony were nothing but "misguided attempts to distract from our efforts with our current lineup." As for his estranged ex-mates, "There isn't room to consider a conversation let alone a reunion." After the ceremony, Stephen Adler released his own open letter: "In Axl's letter, he showed his true colors to the world… He's not for the fans, which is everybody in the world. Basically, he told everybody in the world, 'F--- you, I don't give a s--- what you think.'… Letting go of that was like a huge weight was lifted off my body. I feel f---ing free. Yay!... I'm never mentioning him or talking about him again. That's it. One last thing—God bless him." And the rest of the "current lineup," each and every one, whoever they are!
5. COURTNEY LOVE vs. DAVE GROHL and FRANCES BEAN COBAIN
Frances was said to be newly engaged, which her legally estranged mom, Courtney, took as a good time to spread rumors about her daughter's past sexual history—bringing Kirt Cobain's Nirvana bandmate into the sordid allegation. ""I hear from frannies' roommate that @davegrohl hit on frances, and that she was curious, I'm not mad at her, him I am about to shoot, dead," Love tweeted. "Well if bean did have sex with @davegrohl which I've heard (from) reliable sources… its fine on her part, he's insane." Grohl shot back that Love's "hateful rant" was "upsetting, offensive and absolutely untrue." Frances Bean issued a rare statement: "While I'm generally silent on the affairs of my biological mother, her recent tirade has taken a gross turn. I have never been approached by Dave Grohl in more than a platonic way. I'm in a monogamous relationship and very happy. Twitter should ban my mother." Thankfully for ick-lovers everywhere, that will never happen.
6. MIRANDA LAMBERT vs. CHRIS BROWN
The country star was not pleased at the repeated sight of Brown on the Grammys, tweeting, "I don't get it. He beat on a girl… Not cool that we act like that didn't happen." Brown's Twitter account responded: "Using my name to get publicity? I love it! Perform your heart out! Go buy Miranda Lambert album! So motivational and 'PERFECT'!' Goodnight to all the people who live life and who aren't stuck in the past!" Happily, this one cooled off before gunpowder and lead got involved.