This year, the celebrity sphere brought us many memorable moments — some good, some involving twerking. Digging through the past year's headlines brings us back to all of 2013's best (and worst).
So was 2013 the best year ever for pop culture? That's for you to decide. In the meantime, we're handing out superlatives to the stars, covering the past 12 months of celebrity babies, breakups, bad behavior, box-office rulers and much, much more.
Let's get this started.
Most social-savvy royal birth announcement: @ClarenceHouse tweet for Prince George
It was the most extraordinary fuss over a baby since the birth of Prince William 31 years ago — except even more farcical, as the news media camped on a sweltering street for weeks outside St. Mary's Hospital in London. When Duchess Kate gave birth to future king Prince George on July 22, the happy tweet went forth from the palace — "Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge was safely delivered of a son at 4.24pm" — as reporters read it off their smartphones live on news channels around the world.
Most ineffectual apology campaign in the history of apology campaigns:Paula Deen
Southern-fried celeb chef Paula Deen demonstrated this summer how not to say sorry. When the story of her admitted past use of the n-word broke, Deen's food empire began to crumble. After she abruptly canceled a Today show interview, a seemingly frazzled, red-faced Deen took to the Internet with two awkward home videos in which she begged for forgiveness. As PR experts swiftly concluded, her rambling, messy attempts at damage control came off as more bizarre than contrite, making things worse.
Hardest-working man in showbiz: Scooter Braun
This dubious superlative goes to Justin Bieber's manager, Scooter Braun. Between urinating in a restaurant's mop bucket, dousing a picture of Bill Clinton with a spray bottle, showing up two hours late for a concert, getting carried up the Great Wall of China by a couple of hulking dudes and, perhaps worst of all, paying tribute to Anne Frank by anointing her a Belieber, the 19-year-old manchild has been a PR nightmare. Braun, who discovered the wide-eyed hopeful on YouTube in 2008, has gone from proud father figure to glorified maid, quietly picking up his proverbial dirty laundry and sticking it into the PR washing machine, set on extra rinse.
Worst dance craze since last year's Gangnam Style: Twerking
Psy's prolific Gangnam Style video, with 1.8 billion YouTube page views and counting, put K-pop (Korean pop) on the mainstream map and tested our collective patience for all things overkill. With a flurry of hip thrusts and a flesh-toned bikini that devastated Hannah Montana fans and much of the Internet, Miley Cyrus bumped Psy out of the spotlight, replacing the horsey dance with something much, much worse.
Best foresight to call off a wedding before actually going through with it: Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth
While Cyrus certainly made 2013 the year of twerk, for better or worse, her personal life was also in the spotlight — specifically her broken engagement to actor Hemsworth, who had popped the question in May 2012 — she was 19, he was 22. The more Miley twerked, the louder the rumors became, preceding the eventual truth: The couple confirmed their split in September. "I don't think I realized what 19 truly is," Miley recently told Barbara Walters. We're glad she realized that soon enough. Whatever actually happened between Cyrus and Hemsworth, they can be thankful they don't have divorce papers to sign.
Most scandalous Instagram-account owner: Rihanna
We're not sure who made more of an impact this year — Rihanna or her Instagram account. Sure, the Barbadian singer jet-setted around the globe on her Diamonds World Tour. But her photos? They shut down a Thai sex show, caused the arrest of two people for exploiting wildlife, got Rihanna and her crew kicked out of an Abu Dhabi mosque, showed plenty of near-nude photos of the star, disproved breakup rumors between her and Chris Brown and showed off her mouth's gold, gun-shaped grill. In other words, that @badgalriri was busy.
Most shocking goodbye: Cory Monteith
Cory Monteith's sudden death in July rocked Twitter, and then the world, and then his TV show. Monteith, who overdosed in a Vancouver, B.C., hotel room, had struggled with substance abuse since he was 13. "He was very special to me, and also to the world," said his girlfriend and Glee co-pilot, Lea Michele, onstage at the Teen Choice Awards, going public with her grief for the first time. Monteith's all-American football player turned warbler was put to rest in a special episode of Glee in October, and creator Ryan Murphy announced that McKinley High will close for good after Season 6.
Queen of the box office: Sandra Bullock
Who had a better year than Bullock? The actress tied with Beyoncé in female-powered world domination, releasing the gut-busting cop comedy The Heat this summer and following it up with the sweat-inducing astronaut drama Gravity this fall (alongside George Clooney, no less). Those two films earned almost half a billion dollars this year, and Gravity may earn Sandy her next Oscar. We tip our hat to you, Ms. Bullock, and want a peek at your rocking business plan
Most annoying threats to quit acting: Alec Baldwin
Alec Baldwin needs to make up his mind. First, he told Vanity Fair in July that he would "love to" quit acting. And in November, when his MSNBC show was pulled after he hurled a homophobic slur at a photographer, he wrote in an essay for the Huffington Post that if he needed to quit the business to protect his family from paparazzi, it would be "an easy decision." Since he no longer has a show on MSNBC, we haven't heard much from him. Maybe that means he's finally made a decision?
Best display of a good girl gone bad: Reese Witherspoon
"Do you know my name? ... You're about to find out who I am." 2013 was the year an over-served Witherspoon tarnished her squeaky-clean, America's-sweetheart image when she was arrested along with her husband, Jim Toth, in April. He was pulled over in Atlanta under suspicion of DUI, and she was busted for disorderly conduct after showing some sass to the police officer. As disrespectful as she was, we think it just shows she's not perfect, like the rest of us.
Most blatant case of not practicing what you preach: Kanye West and Kim Kardashian
When she first went public with fiancé West, Kardashian promised that privacy was her new mantra. But the new mom has posted numerous photos of her daughter, North, born in June, on Instagram. There she is, with the caption: "SMILE." And there she is with artist Jeff Koons. And, oh yeah, there she is being held by Givenchy'sRiccardo Tisci. For those thinking this is the norm, we give you Penelope Cruz, whose newborn daughter, Luna, has rarely been spotted, online or otherwise.
Best personal and professional reinvention: Ben Affleck
Gigli, who? Affleck, once half of scorned duo Bennifer (the first installment, co-starring Jennifer Lopez), is now the crown prince of Hollywood. He started his year with hisbest-picture Oscar win for Argo, which he directed. He's starring in the best-selling thriller Gone Girl, directed by David Fincher. And he was named the new Batman. Sure, the Internet was abuzz with irate fanboys and fangirls, but none of that got to Affleck, who has a seemingly picture-perfect home life with wife Jennifer Garner and their three adorable kids. Plus, his best friend Matt Damon now lives down the street from him. It's time to say goodbye to that old Gigli mess for good.
Best image, period: Jennifer Lawrence
The Hunger Games star's 2013 image can be summed up by her night at the Academy Awards in February. The then-22-year-old condemned diets on the red carpet while dressed impeccably in a Dior gown. She won a best-actress Oscar forSilver Linings Playbook, tripped while accepting said Oscar, fumbled through her speech, charmed Jack Nicholson, flipped off paparazzi and answered media questions with a new level of candor. She's the critically lauded, designer-endorsed, industry-respected, millionaire everywoman. And to be all that — devoid of nearly anybacklash — that is quite a feat.
Most perky and prevalent tress trend since the Rachel: The pixie cut
Hollywood's ubiquitous ironed curtain of hair mercifully parted this year as scads of stars hacked off their long locks and debuted demi 'dos. The pixie cut proved its prowess on a range of ages, from Cyrus and Lawrence to our favorites, Kristin Chenoweth and Pamela Anderson. (The Baywatch cheesecake turned sophisticate looked all but unrecognizable in her chic crop.) Add in Beyoncé and Jennifer Hudson, who didn't just tame their manes, they macheted them — magnificently so.
Most awkward attempt at convincing America that, really, we're still together: Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones
Are they, or aren't they? Only their therapist knows for sure, but Douglas sure tried to make sure the public thought he was a married man, despite announcing a split from Zeta-Jones in August. First, there were the Emmys in September, during which he thanked or referenced "my wife, Catherine" multiple times, all while wearing his wedding band. And then there was the Today show in early November, where Douglas insisted to Matt Lauer, "Yes! Yes! (I'm married!)" while the camera zoomed in on that omnipresent ring. Al Roker's reaction amid the cringe-inducing titters? "Oh, look at the time!"
Worst acting debut: Carrie Underwood
Underwood has won American Idol and a number of Grammy Awards because she sings like a goddess. A triple threat, however, she is not. In Underwood's debut as Maria in The Sound of Music Live!, the hills were way more alive than her character was, as Underwood delivered lines flatly. Still, she pulled in more than 18.5 million viewers. So although the three-hour production wasn't one of our Favorite Things, Underwood still did Something Good.
Busiest superstar of the year: Beyoncé
Here's a question we have for Beyoncé: How do you have time to tour the world, premiere your own documentary, go on a controversial Cuban vacation, star in a new Pepsi campaign, sing The Star Spangled Banner at President Obama's inauguration, sing the national anthem again at a news conference, star in the Super Bowl halftime show, debut a new haircut, make a 14-song album, shoot 17 videos for said album and pose in adorable photos with your baby? Actually, we don't want to know the answer. By the way, congratulations on smashing iTunes sales records without doing any promoting for your new album!
Cutest baby with the worst name: North West
There's plenty of competition in this category: Apple, Pilot Inspektor, Moxie CrimeFighter, etc., but why did West and Kardashian have to join ranks and saddle their precious daughter with such a silly moniker? Little North West's, um, directional name went straight to the top of worst-celeb-baby-names lists everywhere after her birth this summer. But grandma Kris Jenner said the name actually makes perfect sense. "The way (Kim) explained it to me, north means highest power, and North is their highest point together." Oh, OK.
Best post-baby body revenge selfie: Kim Kardashian
Kardashian says she felt bullied about her weight during her pregnancy, so of course that meant she had to show the world how awesome she looks after. In October, the reality star snapped a selfie in a sexy white bathing suit, proving that her moneymaking curves are still in fine form. In response to the Instagram shot, fiancé West retweeted the snap and wrote, "HEADING HOME NOW." Take that, haters!
Contributing: Olivia Barker, Haley Blum, Cindy Clark, Lindsay Deutsch, Donna Freydkin, Korina Lopez, Carly Mallenbaum, Andrea Mandell, Maria Puente, Arienne Thompson