(complete with a “Most Read” sign in the Inquirer’s online edition!)
From newcomers who achieved great career success to teeners with attached scandals to their names, from overnight sensations to plain attention-deprived scene-stealers, here is a list of names that made deafening noise in 2007.
The Spice Girls. Everyone was delighted to hear that Posh, Ginger, Scary, Sporty and Baby were reuniting. So when they actually did and embarked on a world tour, tickets were sold out in no time at all. One of the biggest girl groups ever, the Spice Girls are currently touring the world, performing their greatest hits and their latest single called “Headlines.”
Sanjaya Malakar. While this “American Idol” contestant raked in a lot of fans and votes, he received a lot of criticism from the show’s judges and from viewers around the world as well. But whether he was loved or hated for his ever-changing hairstyles, sexual preference or his take on songs like “Bathwater” by No Doubt and “Waiting on the World to Change” by John Mayer, there is no denying that Sanjaya is one of AI’s most unforgettable contestants—all batches counted.
Teri Hatcher. It’s not the fact that her “Desperate Housewives” character, Susan Mayer, always gets the best-looking men in the show. What made her—or her character—controversial this year was the racial slur she said: “Okay, before we go any further, can I check those diplomas? Because I would just like to make sure that they’re not from some med school in the Philippines.”
Outraged Filipinos from all over the world demanded an apology. The TV network eventually backed down, issuing a statement of regret.
Isaiah Washington. Known as Dr. Preston Burke in the hit TV series “Grey’s Anatomy,” the actor used a homophobic insult aimed at co-star T.R. Knight on the show’s set. He was sent to attend counseling, and then was dropped from the show. Good riddance.
Anna Nicole Smith. The former Guess and Playboy model, who died from an acci dental overdose, opened a floodgate of questions and mysteries with her passing. Who is the real father of her daughter Dannielynn? Was she really legally married to her personal attorney, Howard K. Stern? Larry Birkhead was eventually proven to be the biological dad, but even he wasn’t spared from intrigues. Questions about his sexual preference surfaced and some people started doubting his parental capabilities. Smith’s psychiatrist is also being investigated for reportedly over-prescribing pills.
Chris Benoit. Not only did the wrestler, 40, commit suicide in June 24, he also murdered his wife and his 7-year-old son before taking his own life. There are speculations that he was over-prescribed testosterone, but authorities are still investigating the matter.
Invasion of the young ones
Shia LaBeouf. After starring in “Disturbia” and “Transformers,” this heartthrob is ready for his next blockbuster film, the new Indiana Jones movie together with Harrison Ford. With comparisons to superstar Tom Hanks already being made about this promising actor, you just know that he’ll be around for quite a while.
Vanessa Hudgens. This 18-year-old singer-actress made waves when she starred in the tween hit movie “High School Musical” and its sequel. When her nude pictures surfaced on the Internet, however, fans were shocked and the scandal proved to be a setback for the young actress. She eventually apologized and is reportedly still included in the Disney movie’s third installment.
Zac Efron. He’s got the complete package: wonderful personality, good looks, undeniable charm—and singing and acting capabilities as well! The “High School Musical” and “Hairspray” star is just 20, so expect him to make a lot of people swoon for a very long time.
Rihanna. This Barbadian beauty got popular in 2007 because of two things. First is her single, “Umbrella,” the extremely catchy song originally intended for Mary J. Blige, which got everyone singing “ella, ella, eh, eh, eh” and was also covered by artists such as Mandy Moore and My Chemical Romance. Second is her sharp and short haircut, which everyone seems to be sporting nowadays.
Hayden Panettiere. Not only did this sweet-looking blonde finally jumpstart a successful career through the hit show “Heroes,” she also became a real-life superhero when she helped save a school of dolphins from slaughter in dangerous Japanese waters. And if those weren’t enough, she is also rumored to be dating “Heroes” co-star Milo Ventimiglia, everyone’s current crush.
The big disappointments
Britney Spears. After shaving off all her hair in a salon in California in February, the pop star attracted the paparazzi by checking in and out of rehab, provisionally losing custody of her sons and then performing a very boring, disappointing and much-criticized number at the MTV Video Music Awards.
Jamie Lyn Spears. Britney’s younger sis is proving that she can also be as controversial, with her recent revelation that she is pregnant at 16. The father is 18-year-old boyfriend, Casey Aldridge. In a tell-all interview with OK! Magazine, she says, “It was a shock for both of us, so unexpected. I was in complete and total shock and so was he. I can’t say it was something I was planning to do right now, but now that it’s in my lap and that it’s something I have to deal with, definitely I’m looking forward to being the best mom I can be.”
Amy Winehouse. Despite finding great career success in America and true love with hubbie Blake Civil-Fielder, the “Rehab” singer’s reputation continued to slide with a slew of cancelled performances, alcohol and drug issues, and disturbing photos of herself all bloodied, splashed on the pages of the British press.
Chris Daughtry. Once again proving that you don’t need to win the top spot in a contest just to be successful, the bald rocker with the powerful voice overshadowed his “American Idol” batchmates by making it big in 2007 with the single “Home.” So far, the band has won three awards in the American Music Awards and has recently nabbed four Grammy nominations.
Beyonce. The extremely talented singer-songwriter dominated the charts in 2007 with the re-release of her triple-platinum and Grammy-nominated album, “B’Day.” In fact, many people still can’t stop themselves from suddenly singing “to the left, to the left,” from the song “Irreplaceable.” Filipinos love her even more for including the Philippines in her world tour.
Katherine Heigl. With the box office hit “Knocked Up” and her Emmy-winning portrayal of Dr. Isobel “Izzie” Stevens on “Grey’s Anatomy,” this blonde stunner’s moment in the spotlight has clearly arrived.
Lauren “LC” Conrad. As the “star” of the reality-based TV show “The Hills” on MTV, this “Teen Vogue” intern won over fans with her charm, relatable social life, interesting love life and very enviable wardrobe. While the latest season has just ended, a new one is forthcoming, which will follow Lauren as she goes to Paris for work with officemate and friend Whitney.
Rachel Smith. The 2007 Miss Universe hopeful will forever be remembered by many as the contestant who fell flat on her ass during the long gown competition. She was also booed during the National Costume competition and the question-and-answer portion, in part over political issues between the US and Mexico, where the pageant was held.
Lauren Caitlin Upton. This 2007 Miss Teen USA hopeful’s claim to infamy was her nonsensical and circuitous answer when asked why a fifth of Americans couldn’t seem to locate the US on the world map. Apart from reaching some four million viewers who tuned during in the contest, the embarrassing Q&A is also on YouTube, continuously checked out by many more people.
Proud to be Pinoy
Marc Nelson and Rovilson Fernandez. The athletic duo representing the Philippines in “The Amazing Race Asia 2” is still leading in the race the last time we checked. That is a major accomplishment, considering how the Philippine representatives last year got booted out in the first few episodes. Who knows, they might even bring home the bacon—while showing the rest of the world our unique Pinoy grit, humor and charm.
Charice Pempengco. Look how far this “Little Big Star” third placer has come. Last June, she flew to Sweden to record for Ten Songs Productions, a record company that was impressed with Charice’s “Little Big Star” performances posted on YouTube. After belting out a remarkable song number in a Korean TV show, she also got the attention of Ellen DeGeneres, who recently had her appear and perform on her own talk show. That appearance garnered her two ovations from the obviously amazed crowd. Go, girl!
From nobodies to near-somebodies
Esmee Denters. If the name doesn’t ring a bell, maybe her YouTube videos of covers will. The Dutch singer uploaded her impressive versions of songs such as “Weak” by SWV and “If I Ain’t Got You” by Alicia Keys online and instantly got herself millions of fans (just check out her hits), including Oprah Winfrey, who had the teener guest on her talk show, and Justin Timberlake, who signed the wannabe under his record label.
Chris Crocker. After Britney Spears’s disappointing and disastrous MTV VMA performance, Britney fan Chris made a tear-filled video pleading to everyone to “leave Britney alone.” He posted the soggy rant on YouTube, and the result—laughable and entertaining—attracted millions of hits, lots of media exposure, remixes, and even spoofs from people like actor Seth Green. Chris has other videos where he’s acting, but he claims his “Leave Britney Alone” video is the only one where he’s not.
As published in the December 26, 2007 issue of 2bU!, the youth section of the Philippine Daily Inquirer