Reality television offered so many memorable moments for music fans this year, I almost needed to buy a second DVR to keep track of it all. But let's get real...THESE are the 20 reality moments that ultimately stayed with me--and stayed on my DVR's hard drive--in 2012.
20) Britney Spears Makes "The Face"
When Britney signed on for "The X Factor" in 2012, it soon became apparent that she hadn't spent a penny of her $15 million salary on Botox: On every episode, she let loose a series of bizarre, rubber-faced expressions that were basically the reason why animated GIF walls were invented. But it was the epic (and rather unsportswomanlike) stankface she made on one shocking results show, when she found out that Fifth Harmony had made it through to the finale, that became an instant meme. Baby, let's watch it one more time:
19) Magic Cyclops Has His Eye On The "Idol" Prize
"American Idol" Season 11 was surprisingly light on wacky auditions, but trainwreck-lovers in TV land had their prayers answered during the season's Aspen episode, in the form of an air-guitaring rock 'n' roll messiah named Magic Cyclops. The guy was like the "Idol" version of Andrew WK, and he came to party hard indeed. Everything that came out of this dude's mouth--other than his singing, of course, which was admittedly awful--was pure television gold. The guy practically out-Tylered Steven Tyler, he was so nutty. Cyclops could have been Season 11's Norman Gentle, but the judges idiotically sent him on his way. But at least he had his exit soundtracked by the "Incredible Hulk" TV theme song (Best. Idol. Exit. Ever.), and I'm still hoping he'll be invited back in Season 12 to perform his magically titled original future smash, "Unicorns In Space."
18) Jillian Jensen Stays Strong On "The X Factor"
This anti-bullying postergirl and Demi Lovato superfan with the Demi-inspired "Stay Strong" tattoo didn't make it past the Judges' Houses on "The X Factor," but her sobbing audition--an emotionally charged performance that had even the usually stone-hearted Simon Cowell welling up--was the series' first big breakout moment of Season 2. I still don't quite understand why Demi (or the show's producers) let this girl go.
17) Heejun Han Breathes "Life" Into "Idol"
Say what you will about Heejun, but I'll say he was one of the best things to happen to "American Idol" this past season. Bringing the comic relief I always knew he was capable of bringing, Heejun finally let it all hang out during an otherwise dull top 10 week--ripping off his button-down suit, sing-shouting the "Bosom Buddies"-popularized "My Life," and basically embodying Jon Peter Lewis, Taylor Hicks, Casey Abrams, Magic Cyclops, and Norman Gentle all at once. AMAZING. I still secretly suspect that Heejun was planning to do this all along, and that his time on "Idol" leading up to this breakthrough had been one long genius act of performance art. Steven Tyler was NOT amused, surprisingly, but I sure was. Will Fox please give Heejun his own sitcom in 2013?
16) Melanie Martinez Makes A "Toxic"-Shockingly Great Debut
During "The Voice's" Season 3 auditions, I instantly fell in lurve with this arty 17-year-old photographer with the Cruella DeVille hair and Hello Kitty hair-bow, who kind of reminded of quirky teen fashion blogger Tavi Gevinson. (I wish I had been as cool as Melanie in high school. Heck, I wish I was this cool now.) Melanie's cover of Britney Spears's "Toxic"--a risky choice, considering how negatively Christina Aguilera had reacted to her nemesis Tony Lucca's Britney cover in Season 2--was positively revelatory, sort of Joanna Newsom-esque in feel, and she certainly earned extra cool points by playing a tambourine with her feet while she simultaneously strummed guitar. Melanie never experienced a moment quite as great as this again, but she did make it to the top six, and I can't wait to see what she does next.
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