2021: A bit higher. Nonetheless not nice.
Some would possibly even argue that 2021 felt worse than 2020, once we confronted the beginning of a raging pandemic, a renewed struggle for racial equality, a divisive election and the lack of Alex Trebek.
This yr welcomed us with the Capitol Hill riots and moved on to the Atlanta spa shootings, wildfires, a tragedy on the Astroworld pageant, the losses of Larry King, Cicely Tyson, DMX, Prince Philip, Norm Macdonald and Stephen Sondheim, and – regardless of vaccines – COVID-19 deaths that surpassed the coronavirus dying toll in 2020.
However sufficient with the unhealthy stuff. You did not click on on this story for that. You are right here for the great things, which surprisingly was there should you search for it. That is the facility of leisure – the music, the tv, the flicks, the books. They’re what encourage us, raise us up and make us really feel seen once we want it probably the most.
From stars’ history-making achievements to outrageous purple carpet seems, right here are 100 issues that introduced pleasure to USA TODAY’s Life and Leisure workers in 2021, in no explicit order.
Greatest TV of 2021:We choose one of the best reveals, from ‘Ted Lasso’ to ‘Mare of Easttown’ to ‘Squid Recreation’
Greatest books of 2021:These 17 titles obtained four-star opinions from USA TODAY critics
1. Anderson Cooper and Andy Cohen took tequila photographs throughout New 12 months’s Eve protection on CNN to say good riddance to a “fecal yr.”
2. Adele made followers really feel much less alone together with her new album, “30,” and her fervent plea for grace in her hit single, “Simple On Me.”
3. Taylor Swift reclaimed her work by re-recording and re-releasing her “Fearless” and “Crimson” albums, which included some new music and a brand new, longer model of “All Too Nicely.”
4. Then Swift sang the music in all its 10-minute glory on “Saturday Evening Stay.”
5. Swift’s scarf re-entered the pop-culture dialog. (“All Too Nicely” is believed to be impressed by Swift’s transient relationship with actor Jake Gyllenhaal.) Even Dionne Warwick weighed in on Twitter, telling “that younger man” to return the headband: “It doesn’t belong to you. Field it up and I’ll pay the price of postage, Jake.”
6. Beyoncé set a brand new Grammys document for many wins by a feminine artist.
7. She additionally surprised together with her husband Jay-Z in a Tiffany & Co. advert marketing campaign, sporting the model’s iconic 128.54-carat diamond, and changing into solely the fourth girl – and first Black girl – to take action because the jeweler was based in 1877.
8. Ariana Grande earned her twentieth Guinness World Document, probably the most songs to debut at No. 1 on the Billboard Sizzling 100.
9. South Korean supergroup BTS stored us dancing all summer season with “Butter.”
10. BTS additionally made Grammy Awards historical past with a nomination for finest pop duo/group efficiency for “Dynamite,” a primary for a Ok-pop group.
11. The Ok-pop group additionally gave its first live performance in two years after the pandemic derailed a world tour. It was a giant yr for the BTS Military.
12. Lil Nas X gained the VMAs purple carpet along with his glittery, lavender prom-inspired look.
13. Woman Gaga nailed singing the nationwide anthem at President Joe Biden’s inauguration.
14. Amanda Gorman carried out her highly effective poem “The Hill We Climb” on the inauguration, changing into the youngest inaugural poet in U.S. historical past.
15. Jay-Z, Tina Turner, Carole King and different favorites had been inducted into the Rock & Roll Corridor of Fame.
16. The whole lot about Dolly Parton, together with the time she soothed a harassed Stephen Colbert when she broke out in music throughout a digital interview on “The Late Present” and the “cute” throwback pic she shared of husband Carl Dean.
17. The return of stay music. When the Foo Fighters reopened Madison Sq. Backyard, it was “a dream come true” for lead singer Dave Grohl. “Goddamn, I missed the eye,” he quipped throughout the almost three-hour present.
18. The return of Broadway reveals.
19. The comeback of trick-or-treating! We felt safer congregating for different holidays this yr, too, like Rosh Hashanah.
20. Demi Lovato got here out as nonbinary, permitting them “to really feel most genuine.”
21. Stars, together with John Legend, Halle Berry and Ringo Starr, received vaccinated and inspired others to do the identical. “Black-ish” actor Anthony Anderson instructed USA TODAY he received vaccinated in March after initially being “on the fence” about it. After talking to his physicians and a physician good friend, he modified his thoughts and is encouraging others to do the identical.
22. Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck received again collectively. They had been an early 2000s tremendous couple earlier than each moved onto different love pursuits – Lopez with Marc Anthony and Alex Rodriguez and Affleck with Jennifer Garner. These relationships fizzled out, too, however Lopez and Affleck rekindled their love this yr, and shared some PDA at occasions.
23. Chloé Zhao made Oscar historical past, changing into the primary girl of shade to win finest director for her haunting, meditative drama “Nomadland.”
24. Mia Neal and Jamika Wilson additionally made Oscar historical past as the primary Black girls to earn awards for finest make-up and hairstyling.
25. And Viola Davis made Oscar historical past, too, because the most-nominated Black actress of all time.
26. Glenn Shut did “Da Butt” dance on the Oscars. The skit was scripted, however the booty-shaking grew to become a beloved, viral second.
27. Simi Liu gave the Marvel Cinematic Universe the refreshing kick within the face it wanted because the franchise’s first lead Asian superhero in “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.”
28. “Pose” star Michaela Jaé Rodriguez (previously Mj Rodriguez) cried “tears of pleasure” after she was nominated for an Emmy, making her the primary transgender performer nominated in a lead drama class.
29. RuPaul Charles additionally sashayed into Emmys historical past, changing into the most-awarded Black artist with 11 wins after VH1’s “RuPaul’s Drag Race” gained the award for prime competitors program for the fourth yr in a row.
30. Michaela Coel gained an impressive writing Emmy for HBO restricted collection “I Could Destroy You” and accepted the honour in a strong speech: “I dedicate this story to each single survivor of sexual assault,” she mentioned.
31. “Ted Lasso” was nominated for a document 20 Emmys and gained seven, and we will see why: The unabashedly feel-good present was a pandemic binge-watch.
32. Mom-and-daughter duo Andie MacDowell and Margaret Qualley captured hearts within the restricted Netflix collection “Maid,” which delivered to gentle points surrounding generational trauma and poverty.
33. Noodle the pug earned our collective love along with his oh-so-relatable TikTok predictions of “bones” or “no bones” days, so we knew when to get after it and when to relaxation and recharge.
34. Netflix stored viewers watching by including extra non-English content material, like Spanish “Cash Heist,” French “Lupin” and its largest hit, South Korea’s “Squid Recreation,” and American audiences fell in love.
35. Ed Sheeran returned after four-plus years and gave us the “Shivers” along with his new studio album “=” (pronounced “Equals”).
36. Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak grew to become musical supergroup Silk Sonic and eventually launched their silky easy album “An Night with Silk Sonic,” that includes 9 tracks of nostalgic, bass-heavy rhythms.
37. Mariah Carey, the queen of Christmas, blessed us with one more vacation particular.
38. Proper earlier than Thanksgiving, when household was prime of thoughts, Disney launched the joyous film “Encanto,” which follows Mirabel, a teen who finds her method after feeling like an outcast amongst her giant Madrigal household.
39. William Shatner and Michael Strahan went to area.
40. Leyna Bloom grew to become the primary transgender girl of shade to grace the pages of the Sports activities Illustrated Swimsuit Subject because the iconic journal’s inception of the swimsuit situation almost 60 years in the past – and she or he understood the task.
41. Philippines-born influencer Bretman Rock additionally made journal historical past as the primary homosexual male cowl star of Playboy.
42. Laverne Cox landed a brand new function as host of E!’s awards-show or red-carpet protection, beginning in 2022, placing a transgender girl entrance and middle of Hollywood’s largest occasions from the Grammy Awards to the Oscars.
43. “13 Causes Why” star Tommy Dorfman reintroduced herself as a trans girl. “That is an evolution of Tommy. I’m changing into extra Tommy,” she mentioned.
44. JoJo Siwa, who got here out as a member of the LGBTQ group in January, made historical past on “Dancing With The Stars” by competing with a same-sex accomplice. They almost gained it, however had been edged out by former NBA star Iman Shumpert.
45. Girls athletes made daring statements on the Tokyo Olympics: Simone Biles prioritized her psychological well being, German gymnasts traded high-cut leotards for full-body unitards and breastfeeding moms publicly denounced a coverage that forbade them from bringing their nursing infants to the occasion.
46. Rapper Lizzo and actor Chris Evans made us giggle with a hilarious social media trade. Lizzo, who has publicly revealed her crush on Evans, despatched the “Captain America” star a flirty message whereas ingesting and Evans gave one of the best response: “No disgrace in a drunk DM,” he mentioned. Then added: “God is aware of i’ve completed worse on this app lol.”
47. Cardi B and Penn Badgley’s Twitter trade additionally made our day with their cute admiration for one another. When a clip resurfaced of the “You” actor praising the rapper, Cardi B responded: “HE KNOWS ME !!!OMMMGGGG!!!!!!” The 2 then swapped their profile pics to pics of one another.
48. Cardi B additionally welcomed her second little one, a child boy. Scarlett Johansson, Pete Buttigieg, Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan and greater than 100 different celebrities additionally welcomed infants this yr.
49. Children tv reveals grew to become extra numerous and taught youngsters about race and LGBTQ points. Netflix animated collection “Ridley Jones” launched in July that includes a non-binary bison named Fred and “Sesame Road” launched two new Black Muppets and featured its first recurring, married same-sex couple.
50. Megan Thee Stallion graduated! The rapper earned a bachelor’s diploma in well being administration from Texas Southern College.
51. Kristen Stewart gave a stellar efficiency as Princess Diana in director Pablo Larraín’s good movie “Spencer.”
52. Celebrities together with Brooke Shields and Angelina Jolie upcycled their purple carpet robes by their youngsters.
53. Amy Schumer was wearing a tampon costume for Halloween.
54. Lizzo walked round Hollywood as Grogu.
55. Ye, previously Kanye, lastly launched “Donda.”
56. We lastly came upon what occurred to Black Widow and James Bond.
57. Rachel Zegler turned heads because the breakout star of Steven Spielberg’s “West Facet Story” remake, with Rita Moreno in a brand new function.
58. Jamie Dornan sang, danced and ripped shirts within the film “Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar.”
59. Bob Odenkirk is OK. The “Higher Name Saul” star scared followers after collapsing on the present’s New Mexico set. Fortunately, he recovered from what was described as a “small coronary heart assault.”
60. Actor Adam Driver was the centaur we did not know we wanted. The actor’s Burberry perfume advert had social media customers swooning.
61. Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain received caught in a sultry second on the purple carpet – which was even sexier in sluggish movement. Seems HBO’s “Scenes From a Marriage” stars “had been performing” and are simply buddies, however followers had been happy with the heated trade.
62. Peter Jackson made us really feel higher about The Beatles’ breakup along with his “Get Again” documentary.
63. Steve Harvey’s outfits made us look once more, particularly when he paired three denim items collectively and rocked it.
64. Swedish pop group ABBA returned with their first album in 40 years, “Voyage.”
65. Elvira, Mistress of the Darkish, revealed her superior secret girlfriend of 19 years.
66. Hulu’s “Solely Murders within the Constructing” introduced pleasure, thriller and intergenerational enjoyable.
67. Matt Amodio broke data on “Jeopardy!” His 38-game streak and winnings of $1,518,601 put him second within the recreation present’s Corridor of Fame, simply behind GOAT Ken Jennings.
68. Amy Schneider additionally made waves on “Jeopardy!,” sending “a optimistic message to the nerdy trans woman.” The engineering supervisor from Oakland, California, grew to become the primary overtly transgender contestant to qualify for a spot within the Event of Champions.
69. Timothée Chalamet charmed in his “Saturday Evening Stay” debut with a coronavirus skit and Harry Kinds impersonation. He additionally starred in three motion pictures this yr: “Do not Look Up,” “Dune” and “The French Dispatch.”
70. The Met Gala and purple carpets returned, bringing again outrageous seems.
71. Woman Gaga owned the purple carpet for the “Home of Gucci” premiere.
72. Michelle Zauner launched a strong memoir “Crying in H Mart.” Goodreads named it the yr’s finest memoir.
73. Nobel laureate Kazuo Ishiguro took inventory of humanity with “Klara and the Solar.”
74. Two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Colson Whitehead returned with twisty crime novel “Harlem Shuffle.”
75. Amor Towles gave us a brand new nice American novel with “The Lincoln Freeway.”
76. Melissa Lozada-Oliva wrote the tremendous trippy and superb novel “Dreaming Of You.”
77. Actor Channing Tatum wrote a youngsters’s guide about being a lady dad known as “The One and Solely Sparkella.”
78. Authentic “Blue’s Clues” host Steve Burns gave us a digital huge, heat hug when he took to social media simply to test in and inform us “we glance nice.” Burns additionally reunited with different former “Clues” hosts Donovan Patton and Joshua Dela Cruz on the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, which introduced much more tears.
79. Unhealthy Bunny launched a music with Julieta Venegas, “Lo Siento BB:/” and it was all the things.
80. Seaside Home lastly launched new music.
81. Ariana Grande and Kelly Clarkson sang collectively and it was epic.
82. Tinashe’s new album “333” gave us all the things.
83. Billie Eilish proved but once more why she’s the queen of pop music, with a stellar album “Happier Than Ever.”
84. Chloe Bailey had us screaming “Lord, have mercy” with new single “Have Mercy.”
85. “Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba – The Film: Mugen Practice” premiered within the U.S., and it was one of the best.
86. U.S.-born entertainer, anti-Nazi spy and civil rights activist Josephine Baker was inducted into France’s Pantheon and have become the primary Black girl to obtain the nation’s highest honor.
87. Paris Hilton received married.
88. Lindsay Lohan received engaged.
89. Britney Spears was launched from her conservatorship. She additionally received engaged to her boyfriend Sam Asghari, full with a “lioness” ring.
90. Different stars took their like to the following stage, together with Kristen Stewart and Dylan Meyer, Kate Hudson and Danny Fujikawa, Issa Rae and Louis Diame, and Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani. We gained’t discuss in regards to the breakups, except these make you cheerful.
91. Olivia Rodrigo launched her first album “Bitter” and instantly grew to become iconic.
92. Black queer love tales had been instructed extra prominently on TV because of Lil Nas X, “Grasp of None” and “Intercourse Training.”
93. The definitive homosexual vacation Christmas rom-com, “Single All The Approach,” arrived.
94. Lorde’s new music arrived.
95. Netflix’s real-estate actuality present “Promoting Sundown” returned with a lot (campy) drama.
96. HBO’s “Succession” lastly got here again.
97. Netflix dropped new episodes of “On My Block,” and a reasonably flawless collection finale.
98. Most “Intercourse and The Metropolis” characters returned in HBO Max’s “And Simply Like That…” with Sarah Jessica Parker, Cynthia Nixon and Kristin Davis, however not Kim Cattrall.
99. Streaming providers helped us entertain our youngsters at dwelling with new motion pictures like “Paw Patrol” on Paramount Plus and “Boss Child 2” on Peacock.
100. Manic pixie dream boys like Pete Davidson and Machine Gun Kelly took over our lives.