As 2011 draws to a close, it’s difficult to look back over the past 12 months and not remember all the headlines made by one Lady Gaga.
Unlike some of her pop contemporaries, Gaga never seemed to take a day off. Hers was an unending, 365-day news cycle, a constant stream of tabloid speculation, Twitter missives, high-gloss fashion shoots, globe-spanning promotional appearances, red-carpet escapades, super-secret video projects, television specials and political stunts. On top of all that, she somehow also found time to release Born This Way, not only the year’s most anticipated album, but one of its most thought-provoking and forward-thinking too. At the end of the third year of her reign, it’s no longer a question of when she sleeps, but if she does at all.
So it’s little wonder that, as MTV News counts down our Top Newsmakers of 2011 , Lady Gaga sits at #1. Bringing you every aspect of her every whim was practically a full-time job, one requiring its own team of tireless reporters, editors and producers (“MTV News: Special Gaga Unit”). And they were in overdrive from the very beginning of the year, when Gaga premiered the first Born This Way track at a Thierry Mugler fashion show in January, then followed that up by debuting the album’s title track and arriving at the Grammys encased in a space-age egg (of course).
By the time the calendar read May, she had unveiled a pair of big-budget music videos (for “Born This Way” and “Judas” ), both of which were prologue to the release of the BTW album itself, a massive, multi-pronged promotional masterstroke that saw her appear everywhere from “Oprah” to “Ellen” and partner with everyone from Amazon to Zynga. She also guest-edited several publications, premiered an in-depth documentary, “Inside the Outside,” live on MTV and greeted fans on the eve of BTW‘s debut in New York City.
In short, she was everywhere, and her hard work (and 99-cent Amazon pricing plan ) paid off, as Born This Way sold 1.1 million copies in its first week , the most of any album since 50 Cent’s The Massacre in 2005. The album held on to #1 on the Billboard albums chart in its second week, too, making it one of the only releases this year to (temporarily) displace Adele’s 21 from the top spot.
Once her album was out, if anything, Gaga only ramped up her schedule, premiering even more music videos, announcing a photo book and opening the 2011 Video Music Awards as her alter ego, Jo Calderone . As 2011 entered the home stretch, she met with President Obama to discuss the bullying epidemic, announced she was already working on the follow-up to Born This Way and basked in the glow of her three Grammy nominations, including a nod for Album of the Year, and plotted a massive 2012 world tour .
And, with that last bit of news, she basically assured that she very well be next year’s Top Newsmaker too. Don’t worry, we’re already clearing our schedules.
Over the past 12 months, Gaga not only continued her rule as the most-famous person on the planet, she expanded her empire. Her fame was hard-earned, and she doesn’t show any signs of relinquishing it anytime soon. Because above all else, Gaga is our most tireless superstar.
MTV continues our Best of 2011 coverage by looking back at the biggest pop-culture stories of the year. As we count down the newsmakers that mattered to you most, also check out our Best Artists , Best Songs , Best MTV Live Performances and Best EDM Artists of 2011.