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A Look At The Top Entertainment News Stories Of 2013

posted 16 Dec 2013, 16:19 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 16 Dec 2013, 16:20 ]

Miley twerks her way into the news, JLaw rules the screens, Macklemore and Lorde rises to the top, and Bieber loses his cool. A look at the top entertainment news stories of 2013.

 (REUTERS) -  This year in entertainment will be remembered as the year of the twerk in general, the twerk seen round the world - Miley Cyrus.

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The singer and former Disney TV star caused quite a stir at the MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs) when she danced provocatively with crooner Robin Thicke. Wearing a one-piece swimsuit with a cartoon bear, sticking her tongue out, and using a foam finger crudely, Cyrus' performance had mixed reviews. Many parents took to the internet to lambaste the singer for the bad example they believe she set for young girls. She also courted controversy with her video for "Wrecking Ball," off her latest album, "Bangerz," in which she appears nude while riding a wrecking ball and licking a sledgehammer, as well as for her Rolling Stone cover photo in October, in which she appears nude and dripping with water.

It was also a rocky year for Miley relationship-wise; she broke up with fiance Liam Hemsworth in September. But her antics brought to the forefront of pop culture her signature dance style - twerking.

Twerking, which has been defined by Oxford dictionary as a "dance to popular music in a sexually provocative manner involving thrusting hip movements and a low, squatting stance" first started in the 90's in the Southern part of the U.S. The dance recently became popular again when Cyrus posted video online of herself twerking. In September, more than 350 people twerked their way into the history books as they set a new Guinness World Record for the most people twerking simultaneously for two consecutive minutes.

Twerking wasn't the only dance craze in 2013 - the Harlem Shake began as a dance in the 1980's but the 2013 version was an electronic dance track by 23-year-old Brooklyn DJ, Baauer, who released the single with the record label Mad Decent. The single launched a flood of online videos of people doing their own versions of the popular dance.

It was also a mixed year for Justin Bieber, who had many public spats during his "Believe" world tour. In March, the singer was caught on film losing his temper with a paparazzi photographer while leaving his London residence, angered some in Brazil and Australia when he spraypainted walls at hotels, angered his neighbors in CalabasasCalifornia for driving recklessly, and had his capuchin monkey seized by German authorities after he was unable to provide proper documentation for the animal at Munich airport. Bieber and on/off girlfriend Selena Gomez also called it quits.

Beyonce and Jay-Z continued their reign at the top, celebrating their five year anniversary with a trip to Cuba, creating pandemonium as they dined out and toured historic Old Havana. Beyonce was the center of a media storm when in January the Grammy-winning singer performed The Star Spangled Banner at the second inauguration of U.S. President Barack Obama. A spokeswoman for the U.S. Marine band first told U.S. news outlets that the "Single Ladies" star "decided to go with the pre-recorded music at the last minute" and that, to the spokeswoman's knowledge, she was not actually singing the anthem, causing many to question whether she was lip-synching, singing over her own pre-recorded track, or performing live when she delivered a flawless version of the U.S. national anthem.

Jay-Z welcomed a hit record, with "Magna Carta Holy Grail," which opened at number one on the Billboard charts, and was nominated for nine 2014 Grammy awards.

In other music news, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, whose songs "Thrift Shop," "Can't hold Us," and "Same Love," an anthem in support of same-sex marriage, topped the charts this year. 17-year-old New Zealander Lorde had a hit with "Royals," helping her become the first solo female artist to top the Billboard Alternative songs chart since 1996. "Royals" was also named second best song of the year by Rolling Stone, behind #1's "Get Lucky" by Daft Punk, off their explosively successful album, "Random Access Memories," released in May.

Pharrell Williams was very busy with his collaborations with Daft Punk on "Get Lucky" and "Lose Yourself to Dance" as well as "Blurred Lines" with Robin Thicke, which became the song of the summer for its catchy tunes, but courted controversy with what some call its misogynistic music video in which Thicke, T.I. and Pharrell appear in suits beside nude women playing with sex toys and wearing gas masks. The song is also the subject of legal action -- Thicke and his co-writers pre-emptively sued the estate of Marvin Gaye because of similarities between his music and "Blurred Lines." Thicke alleges that the owners of Gaye's 1977 hit "Got to Give It Up" and Funkadelic's 1974 song "Sexy Ways" have threatened legal action over copyright infringement if the composers of "Blurred Lines" do not pay a monetary settlement.

Taylor Swift also continued her success with her album "Red," with seven hit singles including "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together," "Begin Again," and "I Knew You Were Trouble." Swift will have another shot at the top prize at the Grammy Awards in 2014, when "Red" goes head to head for album of the year, against "Random Access Memories," "Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City" by Kendrick Lamar, Macklemore's "The Heist," and "The Blessed Unrest" by Sara Bareilles, whose song "Brave" was very popular, causing singer Katy Perry to tweet her support of it. Perry then was criticized for similarities between Bareilles' "Brave" and her own song "Roar," a power anthem touting female strength.

Female strength was also evident in earnings for music stars, with pop singer Madonna named the the highest paid woman in music by Forbes, taking in $125 million dollars (USD) in 2013 from her MDNA Tour. Lady Gaga came in at #2 with $80 million, followed by Swift at $55 million.

Other hot albums in 2013 included Gaga's "Artpop," Justin Timberlake's "The 20/20 Experience," and Kanye west's "Yeezus."

West was another widely talked about celebrity, with public fascination with him and fiance Kim Kardashian fueled by the birth of their daughter, North West, in June. The pair were engaged in October when Grammy-winning West at proposed at San Francisco's Major League Baseball stadium, which he rented for her 33rd birthday. They also appeared in the music video for "Bound 2," where they appear riding a motorcycle through the American west with a nude Kardashian, while engaging in sexually explicit activity.

Pop star Britney Spears has agreed to headline a show at Planet Hollywood for two years in Las Vegas. "Britney: Piece of Me" kicks off on Friday, December 27.

Mumford & Sons won the big prize at the 2013 Grammy Awards, taking home album of the year with "Babel," while Belgian-Australian Gotye won record of the year for "Somebody That I Used to Know."

One Direction continued their meteoric rise, with the release of their hugely successful concert documentary film, "One Direction: This is Us." The former "X-Factor" contestants released their latest album "Midnight Memories" in November and are going on tour in Spring 2014.

Grammy-winning R&B singer Chris Brown had a troubled year. Brown, 24, pleaded not guilty in October to misdemeanor assault stemming from an incident in which police said he and his bodyguard punched a man in the face outside a Washington hotel. When the incident occurred, Brown was serving five years of probation under a 2009 sentence for assaulting fellow R&B singer and girlfriend Rihanna. A judge in Los Angeles ordered Brown to complete a 90-day substance abuse and anger management program.

On the movie side of showbiz, the year belonged to Jennifer Lawrence, who was crowned with a best actress Oscar in February for her role as a grieving young widow in "Silver Linings Playbook." She also reprised her role as Katniss Everdeen in the second installment of the "Hunger Games" films, "Catching Fire," which has grossed nearly $700 million dollars since its opening on November 22. Other big winners at the box office included "Iron Man 3," with a worldwide gross of $1.2 billion, "Despicable Me 2" with a worldwide gross of $900 million, and Superman flick "Man of Steel," which has grossed $700 million, according to BoxOfficeMojo.com. "Gravity," directed byAlfonso Cuaron and starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney as astronauts in a battle of survival after space debris destroys their spacecraft, has earned over $600 million dollars so far at the box office. Indie flick "Spring Breakers" was also a controversial hit, and was selected to compete in the Venice Film Festival's Golden Lion prize. The film, directed by Harmony Korine, follows a group of college-aged girls through their descent into drugs, crimes, and violence. The film starred James Franco as a gold-toothed gangster and rapper, and Vanessa Hudgens andSelena Gomez as young criminals.

Then 22, Lawrence's best actress win was a battle between the ages, with her main competition being French actress Emmanuelle Riva, the 86-year-old star of "Amour," director Michael Haneke's heartbreaking saga about an elderly couple suffering from disease. "Amour" was nominated for the best picture Oscar, and won the prize for best foreign language film.

"Argo," about the Iranian Hostage Crisis and directed by Ben Affleck, won the best picture prize at the Academy Awards, but Affleck was snubbed by not getting a nomination in the directing category, despite winning the top prize at the Directors Guild Awards, a general indicator of the best director Oscar winner, which was won this year by Ang Lee, who helmed "Life of Pi."

Daniel Day-Lewis made history by becoming the first to win three best actor Oscars, this time for his role as U.S. president Abraham Lincoln in "Lincoln." Anne Hathaway won the prize for supporting actress for "Les Miserables," and Christoph Waltz won a second best supporting actor Oscar for Quentin Taranino's "Django Unchained." British singer Adele also took home gold that night for co-writing the winning song for the James Bond film "Skyfall."

French director Abdellatif Kechiche's "Blue is the Warmest Color," an intimate love story between two young women, received rave reviews from critics at the Cannes Film Festival, and winning the top prize there, the Palme d'Or.

Box office bombs this year were plentiful, with Will Smith and son Jaden Smith's film "After Earth,"Johnny Depp's "Lone Ranger," and afterlife cop drama "R.I.P.D." among the year's most notable stinkers. Biopics "Diana," starring Naomi Watts as the late Princess of Wales, and "The Fifth Estate," with Benedict Cumberbatch as Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, were also critical failures.

And "50 Shades of Grey" got, then lost, then got again, its title character. Dakota Johnson, daughter of Don Johnson and Melanie Griffith, will play Anastasia Steele in the big screen adaptation of the best-selling erotic novel by E.L. James. But casting manipulative entrepreneur Christian Greyturned out to be a problem. At first, "Sons of Anarchy" star Charlie Hunnam was assigned the role, which had taken some time to fill, but he later backed out before production began. He will be replaced by actor Jamie Dornan. The film is expected to be released in early 2015.