In a year filled with infectious pop hits like "Call Me Maybe" and "Gangnam Style," music was constantly played on dramas, talk shows, reality competitions, and benefit concerts. From "Zou Bisou Bisou" to the Grammys' Whitney Houston tribute, the sounds of 2012 got us talking, sharing songs, and humming along. Take a look back at 2012's most memorable music moments.
"Mad Men": Megan sings "Zou Bisou Bisou"
When Season 5 opened, debonair Don Draper was actually happy -- thanks to his new marriage to the young, mysterious Megan. We quickly discovered her audacity when she threw Don an unwanted 40th birthday party, then sang this sexy ditty to him in front of all his co-workers. Like Don, we were fascinated, enraptured, and uncomfortable all at once.
"Glee": "The Break-Up"
Love hurts, and in what might be the best episode of "Glee" ever, the pain was multiplied with the splits of nearly all the couples on the show, including Finn and Rachel and Kurt and Blaine (the quartet performed an especially lovelorn version of No Doubt's "Don't Speak"). The musical performances were hair-raising, from Blaine's heartbreaking "Teenage Dream" to Santana's emotional "Mine" to the haunting final group number, "The Scientist." We're still sobbing.
"The Voice": "Hallelujah" tribute
After the tragedy in Newtown, Conn., "The Voice" paid tribute to the 26 victims of the school shooting with what it does best: music. The four coaches -- Christina Aguilera, Cee Lo Green, Adam Levine, and Blake Shelton -- teamed up with the 20 finalists and host Carson Daly and social media correspondent Christina Milian to sing a poignant version of "Hallelujah" while holding up the names of the victims.
"American Horror Story": Lily Rabe's "You Don't Own Me"
Was there any moment sexier or scarier on TV this past year than Lily Rabe's chilling rendition of Lesley Gore's "You Don't Own Me"? We couldn't look away as Sister Mary Eunice slipped into Sister Jude's red negligee and began singing to a crucifix. And those slinky dance moves! Maybe demon possession is good for something.
"Smash": Karen and Ivy belt out "Let Me Be Your Star"
The bright lights of Broadway beckon to aspiring actresses like honey to bees … or flames to moths. Both theater newbie Karen and veteran chorus girl Ivy dreamed a dream of being a star, but it came true for only one of them in the final callback for the "Marilyn" musical. For all of "Smash's" later problems, this pilot number was rapturous and gorgeously sung.
Grammy Awards: Jennifer Hudson's tribute to Whitney Houston
Whitney Houston's unexpected death just a day before the 2012 Grammy Awards in February left the music world shaken. Many artists mourned the icon's passing, but there was no better choice to perform a Houston tribute than Oscar- and Grammy-winner Jennifer Hudson. Her highly emotional, gospel-inflected rendition of "I Will Always Love You" brought tears to everyone's eyes.
"Nashville": Gunnar and Scarlett's "If I Didn't Know Better" duet
On "Nashville," making music together is nearly as intimate as getting between the sheets. It's an act involving heart and soul, mind and body. Gunnar and Scarlett's "first time" performing their song together was so electric, the Bluebird audience probably needed a cold shower afterward.
"Late Night With Jimmy Fallon": Carly Rae Jepsen
The year's most infectious pop song went old-school ... well, actually, young-school. Like, elementary-school young. Carly Rae Jepsen stopped by "Late Night" to sing her megahit with Fallon and the Roots, using only grade-school instruments like the xylophone, triangle, and kazoo. The result was playful and utterly charming -- and just made it that much harder to get the darn song out of our heads.
12-12-12 Concert: Paul McCartney & Nirvana
The '60s combined with the '90s for a double dose of music nostalgia -- with a completely modern twist. The 12-12-12 concert for Hurricane Sandy victims gave us a treat: Paul McCartney teaming up with surviving Nirvana members Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic, and Pat Smear to rock a new song, "Cut Me Some Slack." Only a Beatle could step in for Kurt Cobain.
"The Ellen Show": Psy and Britney Spears do "Gangnam Style"
Korean pop star Psy's "Gangnam Style" was the viral video of the year, racking up over a billion views on YouTube. His infamous horse-riding dance took the world by storm, and on "Ellen," Psy himself gave a special lesson to one fan: Britney Spears! When Ellen worried about Britney dancing in sky-high heels, Psy sagely replied, "Dress classy, dance cheesy." Words to live by.
- Arts & Entertainment
- Whitney Houston