Thanksgiving 2011: What Pop Music Fans Have to Be Thankful For
Before you sink your fork into a big slice of pumpkin pie, take a second to reflect on the things you have to be thankful for as a human being and as a fan of pop music in 2011. The year was dense with events -- 2011 was stuffed like a turkey, you might say -- but several key things stand out for us and make us grateful for how the pop Gods have blessed us.
First off, both 'American Idol' and new judge Jennifer Lopez got their groove back. The show's winner, Scotty McCreery, is one of the most successful contestants in years, and the revamped judge's panel got a shot of adrenaline and a boost from Lopez's maternal (and informed) critiques. Additionally, fellow new judge Steven Tyler and his quippy one liners -- "Hell fire, save matches, f---k a duck and see what hatches," said to McCreery on the day they met -- made the show fun again. Those three factors turned the limping show around in 2011.
Ellen DeGeneres may have been ousted from her role as an 'Idol' judge but she didn't turn her back on aspiring pop talent. She embraced Greyson Chance thanks to his YouTube covers of Lady Gaga songs and had the cutest, most darling British lasses (Sophia Grace and Rosie) serves as her red carpet correspondents at the AMAs. Ellen is a pop music ambassador.
This decade of pop stars weren't afraid to hark back to eras gone by. We relived our youth with Katy Perry, who recruited Kenny G and Hanson for her 'T.G.I.F. (Last Friday Night)' video. It was like a John Hughes film condensed into four minutes and it made us yearn for our big-haired, headgear-wearing, awkward youth. Even though Perry invited 2011 web sensation Rebecca Black to appear in the video, the endorsement did not make Black cool. Sorry, she's not on the level of Kenny G, Hanson or Michael Bolton, another '80s era treasure who got a pop culture jolt in 2011 thanks to the Lonely Island.
Taylor Swift also transported us to a long-ago time, with her live covers of '90s hits. Swift's 'Speak Now' tour conventions -- writing lyrics to songs she loves on her arms, singing duets with regional artists when she hit their cities, covering songs by local artists -- made us thankful that a mega pop star isn't that different from us. Swift loves music as much as we do.
Lady Gaga... where do we begin? The Mother Monster did something exciting every day but the thing were are most thankful for when it comes to her? The fact that she consistently reminded people from all walks of life -- from the straight and LBGT communities -- to love themselves and to celebrate who they are by embracing differences. A simple phrase, "Baby, your were born this way," became a catch phrase, a declaration of pride and a sentiment that helped anyone who was bullied, unsure and uncertain about their station in life feel good about themselves. Gaga may be the biggest star on the planet, but we feel like we have membership in the same club as her, courtesy of this killer dance song.
British soul diva Adele and her gazillion-selling, won't-give-up-the-top-spot-on-the-charts '21' also served as a sonic support system for anyone who had their heart yanked out of their chest. She's the Alanis Morissette of the new decade, who isn't afraid to sing about something uncomfortable and confessional. Heartbreak never sounded as good as when Adele does it. You'd be hard pressed to find a better or more emotionally resonant album this year. Put this one in the hard drive for future breakups.
While we lost Adele's fellow countrywoman Amy Winehouse this summer, we're thankful that an album of material she had been working on is set to drop shortly, which keeps her legacy going. We're happy her family got closure when the cause of death was revealed and that a foundation was started in her name to help those who struggle with similar issues.
Lastly, our teenage dream Justin Bieber submitted to a paternity test after being accused of fathering a child by a woman he says he never met. We're looking forward to The Biebs putting this behind him and we're thankful our No. 1 teen idol is smart enough and strong enough not to let this nonsense derail him.
Happy Thanksgiving PopCrush readers!