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8 Top Pop Culture Moments That Captured Our Attention in 2013

By    |   Monday, 30 December 2013 01:56 PM

The year 2013 brought us so many golden moments in pop culture, from the bizarrely catchy "What Does the Fox Say?" song to Beyonce's controversial presidential inauguration lip-sync, and the Manti Te'o "Catfish" scandal to a woman's viral "I Quit" video resignation.

But whether it was the uproar over Jane Fonda's casting as Nancy Reagan in "The Butler," or Stephen Hawking's Higgs boson admission, all the best pop culture moments are sure to be remembered in the years to come.

Here's a look at the eight best pop culture moments of 2013:

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"What Does the Fox Say?"

What started as a funny way to promote their variety show instead turned into the top trending YouTube video of the year for Ylvis, the Norwegian comedy duo behind the hysterical "What Does the Fox Say?" song.

The catchy tune and companion music video started gaining steam in September and, by November, had completely exploded. Ylvis performed it live on the "Today" show, Jimmy Fallon's "Late Night," "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," "Dancing With the Stars," and the song even inspired covers and spoofs on "Glee" and "Saturday Night Live."

Marina Shifrin's 'I Quit' Video Resignation

Another YouTube sensation that made the cut for one of the best pop culture moments of 2013 was Marina Shifrin's "I Quit" video set to Kanye West's "Gone."

Shifrin, 25, produced news videos for Next Media Animation, a Taiwanese animator, but was frustrated that her boss emphasized page views over quality content. So she decided to quit via interpretive dance and inadvertently became the working man's hero.

"For almost two years I've sacrificed my relationships, time and energy for this job, and my boss only cares about quantity and how many views each video gets," Shifrin wrote in the video's subtitles. "So I figured I'd make ONE video of my own."

The clip went viral after it was posted in October and led to a slew of job offers — including one from Queen Latifah — and a parody response from her employer.

Jane Fonda and 'The Butler' Controversy

Veterans across the country were outraged back in August when Lee Daniels' "The Butler" hit theaters with Jane Fonda in the role of Nancy Reagan.

Still offended by the 1972 picture that showed "Hanoi Jane" visiting enemy territory in North Vietnam and insulted by her previous anti-war comments (she was once quoted calling American soldiers murderers), veteran groups boycotted the movie and protested its screenings. Some theaters even refused to show the film at all.

Fonda said she expected the role to ruffle some feathers.

"I know people say, 'Oh my gosh, Jane Fonda is playing Nancy Reagan,'" she told reporters while promoting the film over the summer. "But I don't think that whatever difference there might be in our politics really matters. As an actor, I approach her as a human being. I happen to know that she's not unhappy that I'm playing her."

Manti Te'o, His Dead Girlfriend, and The Entire 'Catfish' Scandal

In January 2013, sports site Deadspin.com broke the story that Notre Dame star linebacker Manti Te'o was at the center of an elaborate hoax orchestrated by an infatuated fan. The media firestorm that ensued was one of the more memorable pop culture moments of the year.

It was like something straight from the MTV reality show "Catfish," where unsuspecting online daters are duped by fictitious virtual personas. Here's how Te'o's story unraveled:

The popular football player had carried on a highly publicized relationship with a woman named Lennay Kekua, whom he claimed died of leukemia on Sept. 11, 2012, the same day as his grandmother. The Notre Dame community rallied around Te'o as he pushed through and used his heartbreak as motivation to lead the Fighting Irish to the national championship.

But in late January, Deadspin broke the news that Kekua was not a real person and claimed that she was a fabricated online identity concocted by a man named Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, a fan and acquaintance of Te'o.

Over the next few days, it was revealed that Te'o had never actually met Kekua in person — he had previously claimed he had — and the football player insisted he had no idea that his "girlfriend" and her death were a hoax.

Tuiasosopo eventually came forward and told Dr. Phil McGraw that he carried on the hoax and pretended to be Kekua because he "fell deeply, romantically in love" with Te'o.

Te'o, who still denies any involvement and insists he is not gay, was drafted in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the San Diego Chargers.

Stephen Hawking's Higgs Boson Confession

One would think that Stephen Hawking would be delighted that Peter Higgs and Francois Englert were honored for their discovery of the Higgs boson "God" particle this year, but the renowned physicist's comments at a London Science Museum event in November suggested otherwise.

"Physics would be far more interesting if it had not been found," Hawking said of the particle, which is described as the "missing piece" that explains how parts of the universe interact and bind with one another. "A few weeks ago, Peter Higgs and Francois Englert shared the Nobel Prize for their work on the boson and they richly deserved it, but the discovery of the new particle came at a personal cost. I had a bet with Gordon Kane of Michigan University that the Higgs particle wouldn't be found. The Nobel prize cost me $100."

Hawking's comments made headlines, garnered hundreds of tweets, and spurred heated debate in the scientific community.

Beyonce's Lip-Synced Inauguration Performance

In what may forever be known as "lip-sync-gate," Twitter users bashed Beyonce in January and accused her of mouthing the words to the national anthem at President Barack Obama's inauguration ceremony, a claim that wasn’t helped by the Marine band that accompanied the superstar.

"We all know Beyonce can sing. We don't know why she chose to use the pre-recorded track," a Marine band spokesperson told reporters after the contested performance.

The band later backed away from its original comments with an official statement.

"Regarding Ms. Knowles-Carter's vocal performance, no one in the Marine Band is in a position to assess whether it was live or pre-recorded," it read.

Barry Manilow's Face

Barry Manilow headlined PBS' annual Fourth of July concert at the National Mall in Washington, D.C., over the summer but it was the singer's surgically enhanced face that people found more interesting than his performance.

The 70-year-old's features were a hot trending topic online and created quite a stir on social media sites.


The most viral new exercise regimen of 2013 had to be Joanna Rohrback's Prancercise. The fitness guru created a series of YouTube tutorials in May promoting her practice of prancing around like a horse to get in shape.

The hilarious clips spawned parodies and even secured Rohrback a commercial gig for Wonderful Pistachios.

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The year 2013 brought us so many golden moments in pop culture, from the bizarrely catchy "What Does the Fox Say?" song to Beyonce's controversial presidential inauguration lip-sync, and the Manti Te'o "Catfish" scandal to a woman's viral "I Quit" video resignation.
Monday, 30 December 2013 01:56 PM
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