Can You Believe It’s Been 10 Years Since These Defining Pop Culture Moments?
To some, 2009 feels like another world while for others, it can feel like it was just yesterday. It’s crazy to think that it has been a decade since some of pop culture’s most defining moments had us all stunned– Kanye interrupts Taylor, Obama became president, “Single Ladies” was at the top of the charts, and the death of the King of Pop, Michael Jackson… But those are just a few, as 2009 was a pretty big year that set the tone for the decade to come. Let’s take a look back on 2009’s most defining pop culture moments!
Taylor Swift Topped the Country/Pop Charts
While Taylor Swift may have made her debut in 2006 with her self-titled debut album, she didn’t hit the Top 40 mainstream charts until around 2008. In 2009, however, she made herself known.
Her sophomore record, Fearless, was the number one album in the country in January 2009, which led to her first performance on NBC’s Saturday Night Live with celebrity host, Neil Patrick Harris. All of that success led to her hosting the show later that year. With her combined success at country and pop radio, Swift was on her way to a major genre shift while becoming one of the biggest music superstars of the world.
The Hannah Montana Movie Made Its Big Debut
In April 2009, fans packed theaters across the nation to see one of the biggest releases of the year: The Hannah Montana Movie. When the Disney Channel Original Series was made into a feature film, fans were ecstatic to see their girl Miley Cyrus in action, along with a killer cameo from Tyra Banks herself.
The film made $169 million at the box office, solidifying the Cyrus empire while to this day fans are still belting out the words to “The Climb” at karaoke while swooning over Lucas Till. Chances are, you’re still sneaking in a “Hoedown Throwdown” during those solo dance parties too!
Lady Gaga Was Everyone’s New Pop Queen
If you weren’t completely obsessed with Lady Gaga’s debut single, “Just Dance,” who even were you? Aside from another queen of pop whom we will get to in a moment, Gaga’s “Just Dance” was one of the top songs in the country, along with being the most requested dance track!
Not only was Gaga at the top of the charts, but her fashion choices were starting to stir up the industry. Who could forget her iconic bow hair that everyone tried to mimic? From outrageous hair to performing with blood at the VMAs, Lady Gaga has paved the way for artistic self-expression.
Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)” Was Huge
It seems like only yesterday that Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies” was unleashed into the world, but in reality, it has been over ten years… and it still continues to reign as a top pop anthem to this day!
Hitting the number one spot on charts around the world, “Single Ladies,” won several awards, including Video of the Year at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards and Song of the Year at the 2009 Soul Train Music Awards. The video might have a life of its own as fans continue to share their parodies and choreography to the song on social media.
Kings Of Leon Make Their Mainstream Debut
Kings of Leon have been killing it since 2003 but it wasn’t until 2008 that they made their mainstream debut to Top 40 radio with their hit, “Sex On Fire.” Ever since then, Kings of Leon were found on just about every radio station, tugging on the heartstrings of new and old fans alike with tracks from their 2008 release, Only By The Night.
The song gave Kings of Leon their first number one single in Australia, Finland, Ireland, and the United Kingdom while reaching number one on the Hot Modern Rock Tracks chart and number 56 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the US.
Fergie & Josh Duhamel Tie the Knot
Who doesn’t remember being utterly obsessed with the love between Fergie and Josh Duhamel? In 2008, the couple tied the knot and it was everything we had ever dreamed of!
With a son named Axl, Fergie and Duhamel seemed to have it all, but unfortunately, the couple divorced in 2017 after eight years of marriage. “With absolute love and respect we decided to separate as a couple earlier this year,” they said in a joint statement. “We are and will always be united in our support of each other and our family.”
The Premiere of Glee Changed Everything!
In May 2009, FOX premiered a little show called Glee and after that day, nothing was the same ever again! Glee earned itself six Emmys over the show’s six-season run, but the true success of the show is portrayed by its fans.
From inspiring millions of diverse viewers around the world to step into who they were meant to be, Glee fostered a compassionate, safe environment for those who may have felt alone or different from the rest of the crowd, making the show’s legacy one to be admired. Plus, it paved the way for stars like Lea Michele to shine.
Facebook Launches FarmVille
Remember back in the day when every Facebook visit would require a FarmVille request from your aunts and uncles? Whether you were obsessed or annoyed with the whole FarmVille game craze, chances are, you couldn’t escape it!
It even got to a point where it felt like everyone was asking for help with their virtual farms and you couldn’t go anywhere without hearing a random farm animal in the background on someone’s screen! The game amassed millions of users within its first year and for some reason, it just slowly died down and has been extinct ever since.
The Death of Michael Jackson Stuns the World
June 25, 2009 was a sad day for music fans. Marking the death of the King of Pop, Michael Jackson, that fateful day in June shocked the world as fans bid farewell to one of the most beloved pop icons in the world.
Jackson stopped breathing at his LA home and was rushed to a nearby hospital while medics performed CPR on him on the way. Efforts to save Jackson unfortunately failed and he was pronounced dead later that afternoon. Not long after, tribute poured in from fans from around the world as the shock started to slowly settle in.
Kanye Interrupts Taylor
The term, “Imma let you finish…” became a cultural sensation all because of one idiotic move by Kanye West at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards. That day also became the start of a longstanding feud between the rapper and Taylor Swift.
When Beyoncé didn’t win the VMA for Best Female Video for “Single Ladies,” going to Taylor Swift’s “You Belong With Me,” instead, West decided to storm the stage and declare that Beyoncé had “one of the best music videos of all time.” How low can you go? This moment would forever be remembered as the beginning of West’s unusual behavior.
Twilight Fever Continues Its Reign!
After the 2008 debut of Twilight, fans were eager to see the saga’s sequel, New Moon, in 2009. Twilight became an instant sensation, collecting $393 million at the box office.
With the release of New Moon, “Jacob” and “Isabella” became the top ranking baby names for 2009! Yes, the mortal Bella and werewolf Jacob won the hearts of millions of fans around the world. As for the vampire Cullen gang, their names ranked pretty high on the list of baby names at the time as well, but fans were hot for Jake!
Jersey Shore Premieres on MTV
Depending on how you feel about MTV’s Jersey Shore, you can’t deny the way pop culture absolutely devoured everything about this cast.December 3, 2009 saw the premiere of America’s favorite love/hate relationship with the cast of Jersey Shore. Between the parties, hookups, fights, and famous one-liners (gym, tan, laundry anyone?) there was never a shortage of entertainment to go around.
The tabloids ate the cast up and fans just couldn’t get enough of these kids. Whatever floats your boat, I guess? The locals, however, were not too pleased with the show and they definitely shared their displeasure as often as they could – some to the public’s liking.
Avatar Becomes a Cultural Phenomenon!
It seems like only yesterday that Avatar was released, but it was actually a decade ago – December 18, 2009 to be exact. Avatar went on to become the highest grossing film of all time, with a total box office earnings report of $2.7 billion!
Directed by James Cameron and featuring Sigourney Weaver, Zoe Saldana, and Sam Worthington, Avatar allowed fans to escape to another world. Disney’s Animal Kingdom at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida even has a simulation ride and Avatar universe in its theme park, drawing millions of fans every year.
The Miracle on the Hudson Stuns the World
When passengers boarded US Airways flight 1549 on January 15, 2009, they never expected what was about to happen! After takeoff from New York’s LaGuardia Airport, the plane struck a flock of Canada geese and consequently lost all engine power. Unable to reach any airports, pilot Chesley Sullenberger and co-pilot Jeffrey Skiles managed to glide the plane in the Hudson River off Midtown Manhattan.
All 155 passengers were safe with minor injuries and were rescued by nearby boats. Needless to say, the Miracle on the Hudson was quite the sensation across the media. The NTSB described it as “the most successful ditching in aviation history.”
Obama is Sworn in as the 44th President of the United States
In January 2009, Barack Obama was sworn in as the 44thpresident of The United States of America. Opening 2009 with a hopeful start, Obama’s inauguration speech has become an iconic source of inspiration for millions of Americans.
In his speech, Obama promised “a new era of responsibility” as he looked toward the country’s future while acknowledging the challenges we had faced back then. Obama went on to serve two terms as president before leaving office in January 2017.
Chris Pratt and Anna Faris Get Married
In July 2009, actors Chris Pratt and Anna Faris married, and who could not take their eyes off of the couple? Just about every photo of them taken together showed the stars with starry eyes and you just knew they were the real deal.
In 2012, the couple had a son, but six years later in October 2018, Pratt and Faris filed for legal separation, calling it quits after nine years of marriage. This not only stunned fans but the media as well, making us all question love and relationships until Hollywood’s next “it” couple arrives.
Jessica Simpson’s Jeans Cause an Internet Tizzy!
In January 2009, Jessica Simpson stepped out with some pretty controversial high-waisted blue jeans with a large leopard print belt and a tight black tank top. Sounds pretty innocent, right? Well, not for haters and attention-seekers. The media turned the internet into a tizzy as Simpson was mocked for wearing such an ensemble because she was “too fat.” Rude! Turns out, Simpson is still getting questions about that moment!
“What’s so unbelievable is that I was probably at least 15 pounds smaller than I am right now,” she shared in the February 2014 issue of Redbook magazine. “What’s more unbelievable is that the press could create something like that out of a pair of jeans…what woman wants to be brought down for wearing a pair of jeans?”
Slumdog Millionaire Wins Over the Hearts of Millions
Before the 66th Golden Globes, not many people knew or cared about a little movie called Slumdog Millionaire, but once the film became that year’s big winner, Slumdog Millionaire fever was alive! Starring Dev Patel and Freida Pinto, the film won four Golden Globes, five Critics’ Choice Awards and swept the 2009 Academy Awards with eight wins – the most for any film being awarded that night!
The film, however, was the subject of some controversy, especially in India, due to its not so nice portrayal of Indian society. The use of the word “slumdog” in the title and perceived exploitation of some of the younger actors sparked some outrage as well.
Jon and Kate Gosselin Divorce
Jon and Kate Gosselin were the topic of discussion for millions ever since their reality show, TLC’s Jon and Kate Plus 8, premiered in 2007. Controversy just seemed to follow the couple and their eight now-famous children wherever they went. In 2009, the couple decided to divorce and shared the news on a June 2009 episode. The drama, however, seemed to unfold more on social media than ever.
“I’m excited because I have a new chapter in my life,” shared Jon, who said he was still unsure of what the future will hold. Kate, however, went on to share at the time, “It’s a fork in the road and goals are different now but I don’t hate him. Never have, never will. He’s the father for my children.”
Balloon Boy Was All a Hoax
In October 2009, a homemade helium balloon shaped to look like a flying saucer was released into the atmosphere in Fort Collins, Colorado by Richard and Mayumi Heene. They claimed that their six-year-old son Falcon was trapped inside of it, fooling the entire world.
Falcon was nicknamed “Balloon Boy” after becoming one of the top viral sensations ever, but it wasn’t for a good cause. When police grounded the balloon, Falcon was nowhere to be found, leading to a search for the boy. Later that day, Falcon was found hiding in the attic of his home, where he had apparently been the entire time!