Best and Top of Everything : Top 10 Fleeting Celebrities of 2012

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Top 10 Fleeting Celebrities of 2012

10. The Harvard Baseball Team

Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” was undeniably the song of the summer, and it inspired a slew of parody videos. The most memorable is an earnest, homemade tape of Harvard University’s baseball team lip-synching to the ditty in a van on a long drive to a game. The players’ simple, repetitive dance moves and mostly deadpan delivery have charmed over 16 million YouTube viewers since the video debuted in May. Initially uploaded as a joke to share with other team members, the video took off and was eventually featured on SportsCenter and Good Morning America. Part of its appeal is the sight of alpha-male types rocking out to a girly song while one teammate dozes off in the backseat. These good-looking baseball players are also good-hearted: after the parody began to rise in popularity, they linked it to the charity Friends of Jaclyn Foundation to bring attention to pediatric brain tumors.

9. Ri Sol Ju

KNS / AFP /Getty Images
KNS / AFP /Getty Images
In a state as secretive as North Korea, it’s no surprise that the wife of leader Kim Jong Un would be shrouded in mystery. Thought to be in her late 20s, Ri Sol Ju was initially identified as a singer when she appeared with Kim several times this year, before state media confirmed that she was Kim’s wife. Aside from her modern wardrobe, which is readily apparent to observers, solid biographical information about her is spotty at best. Various reports speculate that she has studied music in China and was previously a cheerleader, and some Korean media have stated that the couple may already have a child. After making a splash this summer, Ri was absent from the public eye for several months before reappearing in late October amid rampant rumors that she was pregnant.

 8. Jordyn Wieber

Ronald Martinez / Getty Images
This 17-year-old American gymnast was poised to become the next Mary Lou Retton or Carly Patterson until her highest hopes for the Olympics were unceremoniously dashed. As the 2011 world all-around champion, Jordyn Wieber was considered a strong contender for the individual all-around gold in London this summer. But in the initial qualifying round, she placed third among the Americans, behind Gabrielle Douglas and Aly Raisman, automatically eliminating her from the individual competition. Though Wieber was devastated, she did share in the team gold with the other Fab Five. However, her star was quickly eclipsed by the electrifying Douglas, who went on to win the individual gold and became a media darling. Post-Olympics, Wieber pointed to a stress fracture in her leg as a reason for her underwhelming performance. Despite the disappointment of what could likely be her last Olympics, she joined the rest of her teammates in the Kellogg’s Tour of Gymnastics Champions across the country this fall, and plans to complete her senior year of high school.

7. I’ll Have Another

Al Bello / Getty Images 

For several weeks this spring, the thoroughbred racehorse I’ll Have Another seemed poised to become the next Secretariat. After winning the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness, he was gunning for the Triple Crown when a bout of tendinitis forced him to scratch at Belmont and then pushed him into early retirement. The stallion was promptly sold by his owner to stand at stud, which he will do at the Big Red Farm in Japan for the 2013 breeding season. Perhaps he will father … another.

6. Rupert Sanders

Getty Images 

This 41-year-old British director had mainly filmed television ads before his first full-length feature, Snow White and the Huntsman, which came out in June. Though it starred Twilight actress Kristen Stewart and hunk du jour Chris Hemsworth, the characters’ onscreen romance was soon overshadowed by the director’s offscreen antics. In July, suggestive photos surfaced of Rupert Sanders and Stewart, both of whom were otherwise attached — Stewart was dating actor Robert Pattinson, and Sanders was married to model Liberty Ross, with whom he has two children. Both parties issued separate public apologies, with Sanders telling People, “I am utterly distraught about the pain I have caused my family.” Sanders and Ross have been spotted around town in Los Angeles, although the status of their marriage remains cloudy. Meanwhile, Stewart and Pattinson seem to have reconciled. A rumored sequel to Snow White has prompted speculation about whether Sanders and Stewart will be attached to the project or their partners.


5. Jason Russell

Peter Kramer / NBC 

Kony 2012, the video sensation chronicling the search for Ugandan war criminal Joseph Kony, went viral on YouTube by March with 112 million views in its first week. In the ensuing publicity, Jason Russell, the video’s director and a co-founder of Invisible Children, the nonprofit behind the video, landed squarely in the spotlight. But with sudden success and worldwide exposure came a raft of criticism, from detractors who questioned the charity’s bookkeeping to those who wondered if Russell manipulated the facts. Several weeks later, Russell suffered a painfully public meltdown when he was caught on video incoherent and running naked around San Diego. He was subsequently hospitalized for “reactive psychosis,” according to his wife. Russell recovered and eventually released Kony 2012: Part II, which garnered much less attention.

4. Uggie

David Livingston / Getty Images 

The endearing Jack Russell terrier Uggie is not an acting novice — he had parts in Mr. Fix It and Water for Elephants — but he experienced a breakout role in The Artist, the movie that cleaned up this year at the Oscars. In a true rags-to-riches story, Uggie was headed for the pound but at the last minute taken in by trainer Omar von Muller. A true scene stealer, he won over hearts in the silent film, and later took the stage with cast members when they accepted the award for Best Picture. The requisite celebrity memoir, Uggie: My Story, was released in October. He is effectively retired from starring roles due to health issues, and stated in his book, “My only hope is that long after my paws no longer trod this Earth I will still be remembered as a little artist with a big heart.”

3. Priscilla Chan

Noah Kalina / Facebook / AP 

When Priscilla Chan married Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg in the backyard of their Palo Alto, Calif., home in May, observers around the world were left wondering who exactly the lucky girl was. The medical-school graduate is much more than arm candy for a billionaire husband. Twenty-seven years old, Chan aims to become a pediatrician, and perhaps part of her appeal in Zuckerberg’s eyes is that she knew him before he became one of the richest men alive. She met the future tech titan at a frat party when they were both at Harvard, but unlike her hoodie-wearing husband, she actually graduated. Though they split up for a while when he moved to California, once Chan graduated, she headed west to join him. Despite her high-profile connection, the Braintree, Mass., native remains guarded in terms of media exposure. She shuns the spotlight — even her Claire Pettibone wedding dress was purchased anonymously — and seems content to lead a low-key life.

2. Blue Ivy Carter

Ed Burke for / AP 

In one of the most anticipated celebrity births since Suri Cruise, the daughter of hip-hop mogul Jay-Z and songstress BeyoncĂ© was born on Jan. 7 at New York City’s Lenox Hill Hospital. The high-profile arrival was not without controversy, as rumors spread that the baby’s powerful parents had taken over entire sections of the maternity ward and forced other patients to relocate. Her unique name inspired curiosity, which was further stoked when the proud papa featured his less-than-a-week-old daughter’s cries in his song “Glory,” making her the youngest person ever to appear on the Billboard charts. In February, Jay-Z posted pictures of Blue on his blog, bypassing traditional media outlets for celebrity-baby reveals. She has since been largely out of the spotlight, presumably focusing on age-appropriate concerns such as crawling and teething.

1. Psy

Don Arnold / WireImage / Getty Images 

Park Jae-sang is a 34-year-old South Korean who planned to study business before he began tinkering with music. On American shores he is better known as Psy, the rapper-songwriter-producer behind the monster hit “Gangnam Style.” The earworm beat and the distinctive horse-riding dance that Psy performs in the video combined to make the song a smash. Released in July, the viral sensation mocking Korean-pop clichĂ©s has racked up over 800 million views on YouTube, surpassing Justin Bieber’s “Baby” video to become the most-viewed video of all time. The married father of two is the first Korean solo artist to have a top single in the U.S., and he is planning to record his next single in English. If it hits big, Psy may no longer be just a fleeting celebrity.