Despite our best efforts, we here at MTV News are creatures of many and varied obsessions, and 2009 offered plenty of fuel for our fanatical fires. Over the past 364 days, we've feverishly monitored Twitter feeds to find out about everything from the latest Tiger Woods girlfriend count to the breaking updates on [artist id="1102"]Michael Jackson[/artist]'s death and what Disney movie an under-the-weather [artist id="2408193"]Miley Cyrus[/artist] is watching at any given moment.
Those diversions were all well and good, but there were three supernova-like phenomena that sapped most of our attention this year, each one offering a unique snapshot of what makes America the pop-culture epicenter of the planet.
This was the year that the nonsense word "gaga" became more than just a bit of baby-talk, when a "new moon" was not just something to stare at on a cold winter's night and, perhaps most importantly, a calendar cycle that began with the inauguration of an American president unlike any this country has seen before.
[movie id="414921"]"New Moon"[/movie]
It's hard to put into words just how jacked up we were for the sequel to the first [movie id="369195"]"Twilight"[/movie] movie. We obsessed over the various trailers for the vampire-vs.-werewolf flick, dissected every frame, and asked Twi-Hards what they thought. We would not let it go when it came to searching for definitive proof that Robsten (stars Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart) were indeed an item, and then we got all distracted by the many, many, many shirtless photos of new breakout hunk Taylor Lautner.
And that's all before the movie actually hit screens in November and smashed records with a $142 million opening weekend. And, of course, we're going to do it all over again this year in the ramp-up to [movie id="420622"]"Eclipse."[/movie]
[artist id="3061469"]Lady Gaga[/artist]
When January dawned, if you were aware of MTV's Woman of the Year, Lady Gaga, at all, it was likely because you spent a lot of time in dank dance clubs and had started hearing her first single [video id="230371"]"Just Dance."[/video]
But within months, the most outrageous pop star since [artist id="1098"]Madonna[/artist] had us all transfixed with her signature mix of dark disco, futuristic fashion and provocative stage shows. Gaga became an instant global celebrity seemingly overnight, but it's hard to remember someone who has taken to the spotlight as quickly and as effectively as the former bar singer born Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta.
She wowed us with her virtual death at the VMAs, did it again at the AMAs with a bizarre, bottle-smashing piece of performance art and raised more than eyebrows with the provocative video for the first single from her recent The Fame Monster EP, "Bad Romance."
In between, she went from opening for the Pussycat Dolls to collaborating with fellow buzz act Wale, reaching out to her fervent gay following often, hooking up with Beyoncé, getting props from Madonna and ending the year with the over-the-top Monster Ball tour.
Add in a hookup with Adam Lambert, a visit with the queen of England and a Billboard record for becoming the first artist in the 17-year history of the Pop Songs chart to land four #1 singles from a debut, and you have a pretty good year for Ms. Gaga.
It's hard to put into words the emotion that bubbled up from the streets of Washington, D.C., in January on the morning of President Obama's inauguration. Families, black and white, braved the frigid temperatures, the intense security gauntlet and a massive million-plus-strong throng of supporters to witness history being made as the nation's first black president took the oath of office.
The party began the day before with the massive "We Are One" concert on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial featuring Bruce Springsteen, Beyoncé, Mary J. Blige, Will.I.Am, Shakira, Usher and Stevie Wonder and was capped by the former Illinois senator's rousing address to a nation in the midst of a historic financial meltdown.
The celebrations continued into the night, including MTV's own "Be the Change" youth inaugural ball with Fall Out Boy, Kanye West and a special appearance by the new president. Once the confetti had been swept up, Obama got to work trying to patch up relations with the Muslim world, worked overtime to bail out banks and re-energize the U.S. economy, won the Nobel Peace Prize and pushed hard to pass his signature health care legislation, promising coverage to 30 million more Americans.