The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Tuesday March 21st

Here's a 2018 pop culture roundup

From the Olympics to Lil' Hank Williams, 2018 was a roller coaster of pop culture. Here's a look at what made the year so memorable. 


2018 got off to a rocky start with Arie Luyendyk ringing in the new year as the Bachelor. We should have seen Arie’s slimy blindside coming, but no, we were subjected to 10 weeks of the washed-up race car driver’s games. Mood for 2019? Becca Kufrin’s bounce back from getting dumped on national television.


The Winter Olympics were this year – I’m serious, look it up. Either 2018 has been way too long or curling just isn’t that memorable, because people actually forgot the Olympics happened. 

In case you need a reminder, Norway was genuinely concerned that they were too good. The New York Times reported that Norway’s total of 39 medals – the best recorded performance ever in Winter Olympics – might be killing their beloved sports. Norway is so good, other countries are losing interest in winter sports like cross country skiing. Winter athletes from all over fear Norwegian athletic dominance might lead to their sports’ very demise.


Apparently if you keep trying to make “fetch” happen, it just might. "Mean Girls" arguably made the best comeback of the year (sorry, Becca) when it hit Broadway in March. This revival of a true American classic, now with show tunes and dancing, was the gift we never knew we needed. There’s a 30 percent chance it’s still on Broadway, so get your tickets now.

Speaking of American classics, let us not forget the boy who yodeled into our hearts in March of 2018. Mason Ramsey, AKA Lil’ Hank Williams, performed his Earth-shattering rendition of “Lovesick Blues” in an Illinois Walmart, landing him viral fame and a performance slot at Coachella.


Rumor has it you can still see flower crowns and rave bandanas rolling like tumbleweeds on the hallowed grounds of Coachella Valley. The annual, two-weekend, glitter-filled festival brought some of the best performers and most A-list celebs to Indio, Calif. in April. The Weeknd, Beyoncé, Eminem, Kygo, Post Malone and so many more (looking at you Lil' Hank) rocked the worlds of 100,000-plus concert-goers.


In a year full of break-ups (Paris Hilton and her brand-new fiancée, Halsey and G-Eazy, Ariana and Pete, need I go on?) we were graced with a love story to beat them all. American actress-turned-duchess, Meghan Markle, married Prince Harry on May 19 in St. George’s Chapel of Windsor Castle. Hundreds of millions of viewers worldwide tuned in live to watch them tie the knot. The marriage was a big step for the stilted traditions of the royal family, as Markle is the first person of color to join the royal family in modern history. 


After 14 long years, Disney and Pixar finally gave us Incredibles 2. The sequel set the record for the best debut of an animated film, making $182.7 million in its first weekend at the box office. In other words, it’s the greatest good a movie is ever going to get.


Now for the American version of a royal family: the Kardashians (kind of tragic). In July, Forbes reported that Kylie Jenner is set to be the youngest self-made billionaire ever. At 21 years old, Kylie has built a multi-million dollar cosmetic powerhouse in under three years that, coupled with TV shows and endorsements, totals Jenner’s estimated net worth at $900 million. Forbes’ article underscores the growing power of social media and how celebrities can leverage and monetize their fame.


Ariana Grande has had a year, and all the ups and downs culminated in her epic album “Sweetener.” “God Is a Woman” empowered female sexuality and spirituality, “No Tears Left to Cry” remembered the Manchester Arena bombing and “thank u, next” promoted self-love in the wake of past relationships. Ari’s songs touched on her own struggles while relating to countless hot topic issues of the year. Four for you, Ari.


Rapper, singer and producer Mac Miller died on Sept. 7 of a drug overdose. Miller’s music addressed his struggles with substance abuse and mental health, and impacted countless of listeners who found comfort in his words. He will be remembered for his musical artistry and his tendency to think outside the box.


Lady Gaga is reborn in “A Star is Born.” We knew she could sing, but act? Gaga and Bradley Cooper are all chemistry on the big screen in this tear-jerking rom com. You know what they say about 100 people being in a room and 99 of them not believing in you… or something like that. 


November saw the kickoff of Travis Scott’s Astroworld – Wish You Were Here tour, which Rolling Stone called the "greatest show on Earth.“ "Sicko Mode” plus blinding pyrotechnics makes for a pretty insane performance. At his second show at Madison Square Garden, Travis Scott performed “Antidote” while his girlfriend and co-parent Kylie Jenner rode over the crowds on a roller coaster.


After this crazy year in pop culture, you have to wonder what December has in store. Let’s see if the new “Mary Poppins Returns,” coming out December 19, does the original justice like this year’s “A Star is Born” remake. Emily Blunt has some big shoes to fill as Mary Poppins – just like Julie Andrews filled that carpet bag over 50 years ago.

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