13 people whose 15 minutes of fame ended in 2012
By Stephanie Whiteside / current.com / @stephgwhiteside
Each year, a new crop of instant celebrities pops up, and each year those 15 minutes of fame fizzle out quickly. From a dancing horse to a kid who was really, really tired of politics, 2012 saw its share of overnight celebrities. Here are our picks for the 12 whose 15 minutes of fame will be over by the time we wake up on the first morning of 2013.
1. Invisible Obama
Clint Eastwoood's performance at the Republican National Convention was unforgettable — as was the response from President Obama. Republicans may continue arguing with Invisible Obama (it would certainly explain some of their talking points), but now that Obama's second term is secure, we hope Eastwood will stick to scripted material.
2. Unemployed Big Bird
When Mitt Romney suggested cutting the budget for PBS, Unemployed Big Bird became an instant Internet phenomenon. Of all the things you can put on the chopping block, America says, don't mess with "Sesame Street." Now that Big Bird is secure in his job, we'll put the ghost of what might have been aside.
3. McKayla Maroney
The Olympic medalist (pictured above) was not impressed, all the way from the Olympic podium to the White House. The expression that launched a million parodies came as she reacted to her second-place finish in the vault at the 2012 London Olympics. But memes don't last forever, and unless she repeats her performance in 2016, we suspect this is the last we'll hear of McKayla.
There's nothing like realizing that Mitt Romney's horse has a nicer life than you do as a reality check. But with the Romney family coming to terms with its loss and Rafalca's disappointing showing at the 2012 Olympic Games, it's unlikely that we'll see the dancing horse again. But one last time, we should thank the Romneys for helping us all learn that "dressage" is a real word.
5. Pussy Riot
The members of the Russian feminist punk band made headlines after being arrested for their protest against President Vladimir Putin. The trial received a lot of attention, but we suspect that some of it came from the shock value inherent in the band's name. Even with two of the band's members, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina, still imprisoned, don't expect to see the punk rockers making the news again in 2013.
6. Josh Romney
Josh Romney just wanted his dad to be president. Unfortunately, he was very, very serious about it. His stoic face promoted a menacing meme as the Internet imagined him plotting to take over the world. But now that the Romney family has retreated from the spotlight, it's the end of menacing Josh Romney. At least as far as we know …
7. Romney Tattoo Guy
This guy was confident in Romney. So confident he was willing to commit to a facial tattoo. Once everyone is done laughing, he's probably not going to make the news again. Unless he considers a career in tattoo endorsements.
8. Tired of Politics Kid
This little girl was tired of "Bronco Bama and Mitt Romney." As adorable as her sobbing exhaustion was, she pretty much summed up how the rest of us felt by early November. Thanks for saying what everyone else felt, Abigael.
9. Felix Baumgartner
The Australian skydiver set a world record for skydiving 24 miles and reaching Mach 1.24, becoming the first person to break the sound barrier without vehicular power. Given the danger involved in his stunts, we really hope we don't hear from him in 2013 because we're concerned he might not survive the next one.
Korean rapper Psy went viral with "Gangnam Style." The video became the most watched on YouTube and inspired parodies and confusion. America loved Psy in 2012, but we suspect his popularity will wane once most of his stateside fans remember they don't speak Korean, making the rest of his concerts incomprehensible. The rapper's former anti-American comments are also coming back to haunt him, so we'll see if everyone is still riding the horse in 2013.
11. Shirtless Paul Ryan
At times Paul Ryan seemed confused about whether he was competing for Congress, the White House or a fitness competition. Now we wonder if it was all three the whole time. The shirtless photo of the congressman was Googled more times than his budget plan, which probably says something about America. But now that Ryan has lost his bid for the vice presidency, we hope he keeps his shirt on.
12. Ron Paul Fans
Ron Paul fans went into 2012 with high hopes. Even as Paul sank in the polls, his fans held out hope that he would pull it off or that he could gather enough delegates for a surprise at the Republican National Convention. Clearly that didn't happen, and we suspect there won't be much more heard from Ron Paul fans in 2013.
13. Rocket Scientists
Curiosity landed on Mars, and audiences were smitten by NASA scientists Bobak Ferdowsi, aka Mohawk Guy, and Steve Collins, aka Hippie NASA Guy, as well as the rest of the team at ground control. It's not often that everyone finds science so sexy, and we suspect it's too much to ask for rocket scientists to continue to capture America's hearts in 2013.
(Photo: Getty Images)
- Psy what ?