Looking back on 2009, it's hard to believe that all the madness, sadness, scandal, success and mayhem was contained in a mere 365 days. This year we swung from the depths of grief with the death of [artist id="1102"]Michael Jackson[/artist] to the heights of history during President Barack Obama's inauguration and back down to the bottom thanks to the Tiger Woods scandal and [artist id="1230523"]Kanye West[/artist]'s VMAs bum-rush of [artist id="2389485"]Taylor Swift[/artist].
There were, of course, plenty of other high points, from the insanity surrounding the [movie id="414921"]"Twilight Saga: New Moon"[/movie] release and the breathless chatter about [movieperson id="365131"]Robert Pattinson[/movieperson] and [movieperson id="262629"]Kristen Stewart[/movieperson]'s alleged relationship, to the hilarity of the [artist id="502642"]Eminem[/artist]/Brüno incident at the MTV Movie Awards. The pulsing soundtrack to the whole maddening mess was provided, of course, by MTV News' Woman of the Year, [artist id="3061469"]Lady Gaga[/artist].
We tried to be everywhere for you this year, covering all the major events and news stories, offering the first peeks at videos and listens to the hottest albums while spending way more time than we would like to think about monitoring celebrity Twitter accounts. But, after careful consideration, we've boiled down the "Top 9 of '09" events that rocked our world this year.
Here's the countdown:
9. Miley Cyrus Quits Twitter
Where were you when you heard the news? No, not about MJ, but the bombshell that MTV's #5 Woman of the Year, Miley Cyrus, took leave of Twitter after months of furious updating. Her 2 million followers were stunned and complained that the micro-blogging service "sucks without Miley," but she softened the blow somewhat by posting a YouTube video in which she rapped her reasons for leaving.
8. Brüno Lands On Eminem
Not quite as earth-shattering but equally eye-opening was the surprise crash landing gay Austrian fashion correspondent Brüno made into Eminem's lap at the MTV Movie Awards in May. After nearly four years out of the spotlight, [artist id="502642"]Eminem[/artist] made his return to the limelight just in time to shake hands with Brüno's backside in one of the most talked-about awards show moments of the year, if not all time.
7. Lady Gaga Makes Her Mark
Nobody owned the airwaves and screens in 2009 like [artist id="3061469"]Lady Gaga[/artist]. The high-concept dancing queen had one of the year's top-selling albums with The Fame and made a statement at every awards show on which she appeared, with high-tech costumes, theatrical performances and bizarre masks that failed to hide her sparkling persona. She saved some of the best for last with the November MTV debut of the mind-bending "Bad Romance" video, which featured razor-blade sunglasses and sparks-spewing underwear.
6. "New Moon" Fever Strikes
Aside from Gaga, the other obsession we couldn't shake in 2009 was the breathless wait for the release of the "Twilight" sequel "New Moon." From the slow reveal of the trailer to the details of the movie's smash opening weekend, we took you behind the scenes for every step of the journey, though even we couldn't unravel the truth behind the alleged relationship between co-stars Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart.
5. Tiger Woods Falls From Grace
Celebrity scandals don't get much bigger than the Titanic Tiger Woods Meltdown. The world's #1 golfer and the highest-paid athlete in the history of the planet saw his closely guarded, private world blown to smithereens this year when a mysterious early-morning Thanksgiving car crash opened up a clown car worth of alleged girlfriends (14 at last count) claiming that they had been intimate with the married father of two. The cavalcade included a pair of porn stars, a former Playboy model, club hostesses, swimsuit models, a pancake-house waitress, a Trashy Girls Lingerie model and a pair of cougars. Woods announced he was taking a break from golf to try to repair his marriage, which appeared headed for divorce.
4. Barack Obama Becomes President
January started off the year with a positive bang, as former Illinois Senator Barack Obama became the country's first black president. MTV News was there on that cold winter morning when Obama took the oath of office on President Abraham Lincoln's bible (twice, actually) and was serenaded by the likes of U2, Bruce Springsteen and Beyoncé, and we partied down that night at the Be the Change inaugural ball with Fall Out Boy, Kanye West and a special appearance by the new president himself.
3. Kanye West Interrupts Taylor Swift Onstage
It should go without saying, but it's never a good thing when the president calls you a "jackass." Yet that was [artist id="1230523"]Kanye West[/artist]'s fate after the rapper bum-rushed country cutie Taylor Swift at the MTV Video Music Awards with the now infamous rant, "Beyoncé had one of the best videos of all time!" The tipsy MC was asked to leave the event shortly thereafter, and despite a number of public and private apologies, he became the butt of innumerable jokes, parodies and skits at awards shows and on late-night talk programs. Following the deluge of bad press, MTV News' #7 Man of the Year took a breather from the spotlight, while our #2 Woman of the Year cemented her status as one of the year's breakout stars with her top-selling Fearless album and a slew of artist-of-the-year awards.
2. Chris Brown Assaults Rihanna
They were the glamorous R&B couple who seemed to have it all: love, success, beauty and talent. But in February, it all came crashing down when singer Chris Brown brutally assaulted former girlfriend Rihanna in a rented Lamborghini on the eve of the Grammy Awards. Brown avoided trial by pleading guilty to felony assault and was sentenced to 180 days of labor service and five years' probation, while [artist id="1940303"]Rihanna[/artist] went into seclusion after graphic photos of her battered face were published. Both singers released new albums in late 2009, with Rihanna having modest success, while Brown appeared to be struggling to regain his pre-arrest footing.
1. Michael Jackson Dies
There are few moments in life when you can remember exactly where you were when you heard the news. [artist id="1102"]Michael Jackson[/artist]'s death on June 25 was one of them. MTV News' Man of the Year was on the cusp of what might have been the comeback of the century when he died of cardiac arrest at age 50 in a rented Los Angeles mansion after taking a lethal dose of a surgical anesthetic. The world grieved, celebrated his storied career and watched teary eyed as his 11-year-old daughter bid an emotional farewell at his memorial ceremony. Fans didn't forget the King of Pop, flocking to screenings of a documentary, "Michael Jackson's This Is It," cobbled together from his final rehearsals, which grossed more than $100 million internationally on its opening weekend.