Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Ladies of 2011

Yes, we are officially a month and a half into 2012 now, but there are still Best of 2011 lists to be made. I will not rest until they are all complete. So, let's get started, shall we? I gave you my Imaginary Boyfriends back in January. Now let's look at the women who made 2011 their bitch.

Friday Women: Katy Perry and Rebecca Black
If you were as shocked as I was at how big Katy Perry was in 2010, I bet you were just as shocked when she continued to be huge in 2011. I never would have guessed in a million years that Teenage Dream would not only churn out #1 hit after #1 hit a year after its release but that its 2011 singles would build upon the Katy Perry brand in unexpected and interesting ways. "E.T." was an unexpected fourth single, particularly since the mind-numbingly pedestrian "Peacock" was always a viable single choice, and showed Katy in a more mature light than "I Kissed a Girl" or even "California Gurls" from eight months previously. I wouldn't accuse "Last Friday Night" of being anywhere near as good of a song as "E.T.," but it did manage to have one of the best music videos of the year. Although massive in length, it manages the impressive task of never valuing the narrative over the music. The video is gloriously overstuffed with people dancing, swinging off banisters, puking and rocking out, but still feels like a real party you would want to be invited to.

Perhaps the smartest move for Katy in regards to her "Last Friday Night" video: casting the "other" Friday girl of 2011, Rebecca Black, as her friend/makeover specialist. It's stunt casting, sure, but Rebecca really sells it, looking every bit as unforced and personable as we have come to expect from her since her "debut" earlier in the year. The debut I speak of is, of course, "Friday," the internet sensation that became a full-blown phenomenon over the course of a couple days. The video was so bad, it had to be seen to be believed. And seen again and again and again. I probably watched it 50 times those first few days. It wasn't until much later that I realized I was still watching because of Rebecca herself. Say what you want about her or her voice, the girl has Charisma with a capital C and manages to pull the attention away from the horrible video surrounding her. Move over, Disney sluts: we have a new tween star on the rise.

The Legend & The Future of Pop: Britney Spears and Selena Gomez
When The Legendary Miss Britney Spears releases new music, it's an Event. Femme Fatale, her latest album, was no exception, proving that not only still a force to be reckoned with post-Gaga but that she also had some new tricks up her sleeve (the influence of the hard verse/soft chorus in "Hold It Against Me" could be heard in many songs by the end of the year). But an even bigger cause for celebration is the fact that Britney chose her heir to the pop throne in 2011: former Disney queen Selena Gomez. By giving her one of her songs--the utterly amazing "Whiplash"--Britney has symbolically decided on the future of pop music. And what a future she picked! Selena's 2011 album, When the Sun Goes Down, pushed her past both Demi and Miley as the supreme former Disney pop star. In just a couple of years, she has not only matured her sound but has also found a comfortable niche in the pop kingdom. All that and dating the biggest pop star in the world? Girlfriend really is taking lessons from Britney. And you couldn't ask for a better teacher.

Maids of (Dis)Honor: Kristen Wiig and Pippa Middleton
Both Kristen Wiig's character in Bridesmaids and Pippa Middleton were horrible maids of honor but in completely different ways. I'm sure everyone is well aware of my infatuation with Bridesmaids, so I'll spare you my rambling on how much I love Wiig's portrayal of a maid of honor hilariously battling depression, a shitty job, a new threat to her relationship with her best friend and food poisoning. She reeks havoc everywhere she goes. But even if it's messy, we at least know it will be funny as hell. Pippa, on the other hand, was more subtle with her destruction of the bride's shining moment. As you are all aware, Pippa was the maid of honor at the royal marriage of her sister Kate Middleton and Prince William. Instead of blending in the background like a good maid of honor, however, Pippa stole the spotlight. Every headline the day of the wedding mentioned Pippa and her gorgeous, sleek dress, which was not only white but every bit as pretty as Kate's actual wedding dress. That sneaky bitch! I like to imagine Pippa as the wild child of the Middleton clan, so I truly hope she fulfilled the duties of the maid of honor and slept with best man Prince Harry.

Plus-Sized Girls Have More Fun: Adele and Melissa McCarthy
Who says skinny bitches have all the fun? In 2011, Adele and Melissa McCarthy made headlines and stole shows based on actual talent rather than looks or notoriety. Between them, they racked up three #1 hits, an Emmy, six Grammys, two SAG nominations, an album with global sales of 17 million and an Oscar nomination. Not a bad haul, I must say. And to say their immense success was unexpected is a massive understatement. Who would have guessed in October 2010 that a neo-soul singer would find a sound that manages to appeal both to young, hip kids and older, more conservative listeners? Or that a plus-sized actress playing a crass, vulgar character in a blockbuster gross-out comedy would sneak past more traditional performances (like those of Shailene Woodley or Vanessa Redgrave) and snag an Oscar nomination? If the title of the first 2011 movie I saw proved anything, it's that you should never say never when it comes to unexpected critical and commercial darlings.

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