The Top 10 Pop Culture Moments of 2010

December 29, 2010

As the year draws to a close it’s time to reflect on the moments in pop culture that had everyone talking. These are the events that got people buzzing around the water cooler and will define 2010 for years to come.


10. Lost Finally Ends

Photo: Tony Barson/WireImage/Getty Images

It was the season finale six years in the making. Fans of Lost knew the end was coming because ABC kept telling us all season long. This was the season where questions would be answered, loose ends tied up, and where we’d discovere once and for all what the hell had happened on that island. Well, it didn’t exactly work out that way. While the highly anticipated two-and-half-hour season finale did answer some of the big questions, it left a sour taste of disappointment in many fans' mouths. We really waited six years for that?


9. A Royal Engagement

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A prince found his princess (well, finally got around to asking her, at least) and a country that’s the antithesis of everything royal went gaga. After seven years of dating, Prince William, the future king of England, asked commoner Kate Middleton to be his wife.  Middleton was given the same engagement ring given to William’s mother, the late Princess Diana. This started the inevitable let's-compare-Kate-to-Diana commentary, with the engagement receiving wide coverage on U.S. television and in the tabloid media.

The couple, who met while at university, is expected to tie the knot in a lavish, worldwide televised ceremony on April 29, 2011. It will take place at the same church that Prince William’s parents, Prince Charles and Princess Diana, were hitched. Here’s hoping that their marriage goes better than that one, which disintegrated into a soap opera mess of the highest order.


8. Christine O'Donnell is Not a Witch

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Christine O’Donnell’s bats**t crazy run for the Senate in Delaware quickly came to characterize the strange side of Tea Party politics. The seemingly underqualified candidate clinched the Republican nomination for the Senate seat from party favorite and former governor Michael Castle. Republicans long considered the Delaware Senate seat an easy gain in a year of anti-Democrat sentiment. O’Donnell’s candidacy quickly saw any hope of gaining the seat evaporate.

Past media appearances and quotes came back to haunt O’Donnell. She said she didn’t believe in masturbation and that she had “dabbled in witchcraft.” The witchcraft comment received widespread media attention and O’Donnell decided to use it in her first campaign commercial. In the commercial O’Donnell starts by saying “I am not a witch.” The commercial spawned numerous parodies, with Saturday Night Live milking it for all it was worth. O’Donnell later admitted that the commercial spectacularly backfired and actually reinforced her strange past. She went on to handsomely lose the election. On the flipside, her “I’m not a witch” quip is fast shaping up as the quote of the year.


7. The Chilean Miners are Freed

Photo: Michael Buckner/WireImage/Getty Images

The freeing of 33 Chilean miners who were trapped underground for a record 69 days was one of the most heartwarming and uplifting news stories of the year. The world waited with baited breath as the rescue effort got underway. One by one, as each miner made his way to the surface and exited the rescue capsule, the world took a collective sigh of relief. It was a truly wonderful story of survival and the human spirit.


6. The WikiLeaks Firestorm

Photo: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

The WikiLeaks drama that's currently playing out may not seem like much of a story, but with some historical hindsight, it could easily become the story that defined the year, if not the decade.  The release of over 250,000 classified U.S. government cables has sent shockwaves through governments around the world and questioned the very notion of free speech.

The head of the whistleblower website, Julian Assange, is currently entangled in a legal brouhaha in London as he fights extradition to Sweden where he is wanted for questioning in connection with an alleged sexual assault. The rape allegations are considered by some to be bogus and purely political, with Assange's lawyers coming forward to say  that the U.S. government is preparing to lay charges against the WikiLeaks publisher. Former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee has already called for Assange to receive the death penalty and many conservative thinkers believe he should be incarcerated as an enemy combatant.

The arrest of Assange and the targeting of the WikiLeaks website (its hosting and financial accounts have been disabled) have led to an outpouring of protest in the form of computer hacking. The "group" Anonymous has targeted companies that have supposedly helped silence WikiLeaks. They have brought down Visa, Mastercard, the Swedish public prosecutor’s website, and PayPal. The “online terrorism” has inspired a pro-American group of hackers to fight back. Could this be the beginning of a hacker’s war or the end of a free, uncensored Internet?



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5. The World Cup

Photo: Rajesh Jantilal/AFP/Getty Images

Every four years when the World Cup rolls around, the U.S. becomes infatuated with what the rest of the world knows as football. This year was no different. The 2010 World Cup was held in South Africa during the summer and for one month it seemed everyone was a soccer fan. Alarm clocks around the country were set for early games, bars opened way earlier than they should have, and people shouted “GOAALLLLLLLLLL” often when no goal had even been scored.

This World Cup will be remembered for more than just soccer. For without it, the rest of the world would not be familiar with the vuvuzelas or have been exposed to the amazing talents of Paul the psychic octopus who correctly guessed the outcome of Germany’s seven games as well as the result of the final between Spain and The Netherlands. The cup was taken home by Spain after going into extra time, however at the end of the day the real winner, as with every World Cup, was the game.


4. Lady Gaga's Meat Dress

Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Just when you thought Lady Gaga couldn’t push the fashion envelope any further, she turns up at an awards show wearing an outfit made entirely out of raw meat. The pop starlet was the talk of this year’s MTV Music Video Awards where she took home Music Video of the Year. She was handed the award by Cher and quipped, “I never thought I'd be asking Cher to hold my meat purse.” We never thought she’d be giving a meat purse to anyone.

Gaga’s dress was as controversial as it was weird. She explained that the dress was not intended to offend vegetarians, but rather to make people think. She told Ellen DeGeneres on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, “It has many interpretations but … If we don't stand up for what we believe in and if we don't fight for our rights, pretty soon we're going to have as much rights as the meat on our own bones. And I am not a piece of meat.”

Okay, glad we cleared that one up.


3. Bristol Palin Storms Dancing With the Stars

Photo: Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic/Getty Images

Few other reality television stars have garnered as much attention, or conspiracy theories, as the daughter of former Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin.  Bristol Palin’s performance on Dancing With the Stars was as controversial as it was surprising. Each week the young single mother managed to stay in the dance competition, despite often receiving the lowest judge’s score. It was her popularity with the public that kept her in the competition, which naturally started to raise suspicion. Critics derided her success, saying it was purely the work of Tea Party activists who were supporters of her mother and saw Bristol's dancing success as a way to push their agenda. Palin went onto the finale and was awarded third place.

Like her mother, Palin was a divisive figure. People loved her or hated her. Some said she was ruining Dancing With the Stars. One man was even so disgusted with Palin that he took a shotgun to his television and blasted it to smithereens. Few reality television stars make this kind of pop culture splash.


2. Lindsay Lohan Goes to Jail

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The year 2010 was not a good one for Lindsay Lohan. The troubled actress spent the year in and out of court, jail, and a SCRAM bracelet. Her world came crashing down over the summer when she was sentenced to 90 days in jail and 90 days in rehab for violating her probation which stemmed from a 2007 DUI. The actress spent 14 days at the Lynwood Correctional Facility in California and 23 days in rehab. Upon leaving rehab she claimed she was sober, that is until she failed a mandatory drug test less than three weeks later.

Lohan was hauled back to court where an annoyed judge ordered she be held without bail for a month. Lohan was whisked off to jail again. After spending one more night behind bars, another judge granted bail and Lohan was once again free. The next day she checked herself into the Betty Ford Clinic, where she’s been ever since. Lohan is expected to complete rehab early in the New Year.


1. Justin Bieber's Hair

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This was the year Bieber Fever hit fever pitch. The 16-year-old baby-voiced singer with the blown-out nouveau mop-top hair style went from 2008 YouTube star to worldwide pop phenomenon in 2010. He sent tween girls crazy and was mobbed like the Beatles, even causing an Australian shopping mall to be closed down and his appearance cancelled.

Beiber’s success is in a large part thanks to social networking...and his hair. His 2010 single Baby is the most viewed video on YouTube, ever, with a whopping 410 million views (and counting). Bieber is also said to account for three percent of all Twitter’s traffic. This year he released his first studio album, appeared on practically every talk show in the world, taped a guest spot on CSI, and started filming a 3D movie about his life.

The only justice is this kid will never be able to cut his hair. Ever. If he does, he risks becoming the Felicity of pop. This dude will have the same haircut until he dies, or at least until all his hair falls out.



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