'Gangnam Style' – The video for Psy's "Gangnam Style" has racked up more than a billion hits on YouTube, becoming the most-watched entry of all time.
Honey Boo Boo – Honey Boo Boo and her rural Georgia family became TLC's latest breakout hit -- and prompted some observers to rend their garments in frustration.
Lindsay Lohan – O, LiLo! Lindsay Lohan's rough year included arrests, antics and "Liz & Dick," a widely roasted TV movie in which she plays Elizabeth Taylor. Comparisons to the legendary La Liz were unflattering.
Jennifer Lawrence – Jennifer Lawrence hit box-office gold with "The Hunger Games" and may earn Oscar recognition for "Silver Linings Playbook."
'The Dark Knight Rises' – "The Dark Knight Rises" concluded director Christopher Nolan's trilogy on Batman.
'The Avengers' – Marvel's "The Avengers" was the top-grossing film of 2012 and continues the success of the Marvel universe on the big screen.
'Fifty Shades of Grey' – "Fifty Shades of Grey" and its two sequels may have been formally released in 2011, but all three dominated the best-seller lists in 2012, inspiring parodies, an album of classical music and talk of a film adaptation.
Rihanna – Whether considered mysterious, shallow or simply perplexing, Rihanna's musical and romantic escapades -- including a reunion with Chris Brown -- made entertainment headlines.
Whitney Houston – Whitney Houston died in February on the eve of the Grammys.
Carly Rae Jepsen and 'Call Me Maybe' – Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe" hit No. 1 on the pop charts and inspired several parodies of its ubiquitous video.
Lena Dunham – Lena Dunham and her HBO series "Girls" made the former indie-film darling a talked-about star.
'Homeland' – "Homeland," starring Claire Danes, dethroned "Mad Men" as the winner of Emmy's best drama award.
Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert – Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart had a series of fat targets thanks to the election campaign -- and seldom missed their marks.
'The Artist' – "The Artist," a silent film, won the Oscar for best picture in February. So far, it hasn't killed off sound.
'Somebody That I Used to Know' – Gotye's "Somebody That I Used to Know" and its creative video were inescapable in 2012.
Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise – Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes divorced in 2012 after five years of marriage and one child, Suri.
One Direction – One Direction, a Simon Cowell creation, became the latest boy-band breakout.
Justin Bieber – Justin Bieber's power to inflame teenage hearts remained undiminished, even if his 2012 album "Believe" did little to convert skeptics.
Taylor Swift – Taylor Swift's "Red" sold more than a million copies its first week, and her song "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" became Swift's first No. 1 pop hit.