There were plenty of noble efforts to come out of the 2011 pop scene — Adele’s crowd-pleasing, chart-dominating album; Lady Gaga’s various charitable commitments; Justin Bieber’s surprisingly impressive freestyle raps, just to name a few. But even though we like to highlight the good stuff, the fail-worthy moments from the past year are too unforgettable (and too funny) to ignore. We’ve picked the 13 Biggest Fails from the past year for your reading (dis)pleasure, and if you thought nothing could be worse than Chris Brown’s chair-throwing temper tantrum at Good Morning America, you’re wrong. Reflect on Pop Music’s Year In Fail below.
#13 — Lady Gaga’s “The Edge Of Glory” video. “The Edge Of Glory” is Gaga’s most triumphant single off of Born This Way, and it deserved an incredible video. What we got was three minutes of Stefani Germanotta prancing around a New York City set in one of her least noteworthy ensembles. But worst of all, it was just plain boring, something we never expected from a Gaga video. That’s what happens when you switch directors and change your concept midway through your shoot.
#12 — Dr. Dre and Nicole Scherzinger’s Forever Delayed Albums. After a decade of waiting, we thought we’d finally be given Dr. Dre’s Detox. He even released three singles! Alas, Dre dashed our hopes yet again in November by announcing his hiatus, thus putting Detox on the backburner once again. Same goes for Nicole Scherzinger, who dropped five music videos this year alone (and debuted yet another song, “Pretty”, on The X Factor), but can’t seem to hold down a US release date for her solo album. It’s slated to drop in 2012, but we’re not holding our breath.
#11 — Britney Spears’ Barely Alive Stage Performances. Femme Fatale? Loved it! Her music videos from this era? Mostly pretty great! But Britney’s live performances were the weakest part of her otherwise stellar year. Whether barely shaking it on national television or going through the motions on her tour, we pine for the days when Spears really was a force to be reckoned with on the dancefloor. (We’d complain about the lip-syncing, but we can barely remember a time when this wasn’t the norm.)
#10 — Beyonce Fails To Get A Top 10 Hit. Although Beyonce’s fourth solo album 4 produced seven singles, not one among them entered the Top 10 on the Hot 100. Pretty disappointing for a woman who used to run the charts the way she claims to “Run The World”.
#9 — Canceled Concerts and Food Poisoning. Pop stars suffered from a variety of ailments this year, and their fans’ concert-going experiences suffered as a result. Adele was forced to cancel her North American tour twice after suffering voice problems and having to undergo throat surgery. Taylor Swift got bronchitis, while Jennifer Hudson and Katy Perry had to back out of live performances due to food poisoning. And Selena Gomez and Rihanna probably needed some major time off, as both ladies canceled concerts due to exhaustion.
#8 — Justin Bieber’s Various Fails. 2011 was a pretty great year for Justin Bieber — #1 albums, a hit movie, and a hot girlfriend will definitely keep you smiling all year ’round — but there were plenty of sour spots for the pop star. He was attacked outside of a Macy’s, pelted with eggs in Australia, and was forced to grimace through a million terrible “Baby” puns when Mariah Yeater issued a paternity suit, claiming that he was the father of her son. Oh well, that $53 million he earned should cheer him up some.
#7 — Christina Aguilera Forgets The National Anthem. It’s not quite as embarrassing as Burlesque and Bionic, but what should have been shooting fish in a barrel for Christina Aguilera — performing the National Anthem at the Super Bowl — became another facepalm-worthy moment when she flubbed the lyrics. Xtina wasn’t the only one to have a brain freeze while performing the song — American Idol runner-up Lauren Alaina suffered a similar humiliation at a Lions vs. Packers football game on Thanksgiving. Messing up the lyrics to “The Star Spangled Banner” sure is embarrassing, but it’s not as bad as…
#6 — Will.i.am Reading The Lyrics To His Own Song On TV. While performing the Black Eyed Peas’ song “Don’t Stop The Party” on French show Taratata, will.i.am was caught reading the lyrics off his phone. Apparently, he couldn’t recall such tongue-twisting bon mots as “Don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t!” There’s really no excuse for this. (And there shouldn’t be for this, either.)
#5 — Cheryl Cole Hired And Fired From The X Factor. We just feel bad for the British pop star, who left her post as judge on the UK edition of The X Factor to take on the US version… only to be replaced by Nicole Scherzinger after three weeks of filming. With her spot on the British panel already snapped up, Cheryl was a judge without a show. Simon says she took it well, but if we were in her position, we’d be majorly pissed. And we were so looking forward to Cheryl’s American invasion! That said, perhaps Cheryl dodged a bullet…
#4 — Simon Cowell’s Hubris. The ratings for The X Factor‘s inaugural season here in the States was enough to secure it a second season, but was far from the behemoth, Idol-crushing machine that Cowell made it out to be. Before the start of the season, he told The Hollywood Reporter that less than 20 million viewers a week would be “a disappointment” — and the show managed to grab about 12 million, tops, for both the premiere episode and its season finale. (For comparison’s sake, American Idol‘s 10th season finale scored 29 million viewers, even without Simon’s catty presence.)
#3 — Facebook Official. Is this a parody? Is this real life? All we know is that Lance Bass is mentoring these guys.
#2 — Chris Brown Has A Temper Tantrum. After being questioned once again about “The Incident” with Rihanna during an appearance on Good Morning America in March, Chris Brown trashed his dressing room, broke a window by flinging a chair at it, and stormed out of the building without his shirt on. He apologized and was invited back on the show, but the damage was already done. This violent outburst is a bigger fail than both his album covers from this year combined.
#1 — Ark Music Factory. Never has there been more of an appropriate name for a label than Ark Music Factory, as this company continues to crank out Auto-Tune-assisted mediocre tween pop like its off an assembly line. Besides delivering unto the world Rebecca Black (thanks for managing to ruin Friday for us, guys), there were more Ark artists ready to drop hilariously awful singles upon the masses. Lexi St. George had us “Dancing To The Rhythm” (okay, not really), Alana Lee gave us “Butterflies”, but our favorite Ark Music grad has to be Benni Cinkle, aka The Girl In Pink from the “Friday” video, who independently released her own It Gets Better anthem with “Can You See Me Now”. She even took her charitable efforts a step further by starting her own non-profit, That Girl In Pink Foundation! We cannot make this up! For those who love poking fun of sincere efforts of producing hit songs, these teens’ musical offerings were fun, fun, fun, fun. For the rest of us, it was torture.