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The Best of 2020: Pop Culture Edition (You Voted!) by Ema D.

Updated: Feb 28

2020 was quite the year. Many devastating and horrible events took place, yet we survived! Since there are countless unfortunate stories people can talk about, why not find a silver

lining and focus on a few highlights of the year? A few weeks ago, we posted a survey in myMCPS Classroom asking our very own JW Jaguars to vote on what they thought was the "Best of 2020," from tops songs and movies to the most popular influencers and trends of the year. In the survey, there were a variety of categories related to pop culture. Thank you to everyone who participated!

Check out the results below, and let us know in the comments if you agree!

The Best Album

Many fantastic albums came out this year. I’m sure singers and songwriters had lots of time to think during quarantine, and it resulted in some great tunes. Though there were many nominees, including albums by The Weeknd, Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande, BTS, Megan Thee Stallion, Lil Uzi Vert, Shawn Mendes, Dua Lipa, Tame Impala, Mac Miller, and Joji, only one album can win! The winner for the Best Album of 2020 is Ariana Grande with her sixth studio album, “Positions.”

“Positions” was released on October 30, 2020, and included a blend of pop and R&B music. It contained features from multiple other artists, such as Ty Dolla, $ign, Doja Cat, and The Weeknd. With 14 outstanding tracks that many people enjoyed, it won with 26.7% of the votes cast. Close behind were “After Hours” by The Weeknd, “Future Nostalgia’’ by Dua Lipa, and “BE” by BTS.

The Best Song

Since we revealed your votes for best album first, why not move on to the best song next? The nominees for this category were “Blinding Lights” by The Weeknd, “Savage (Remix)” by Megan Thee Stallion feat. Beyonce, “Watermelon Sugar” by Harry Styles, “Say So” by Doja Cat, “The Box” by Roddy Rich, “Good News” by Mac Miller, “Therefore I Am” by Billie Eilish, “Rain On Me” by Lady Gaga feat. Ariana Grande, “Heather” by Conan Gray, “Dynamite” by BTS, “Positions” by Ariana Grande, and “For The Night” by Pop Smoke feat. DaBaby and Lil Baby. This one wasn’t too tight a race, as the winner won with 21.8% of the votes. The winner for the Best Song of 2020 is BTS' international hit, "Dynamite," which was released on August 21, 2020. It surpassed over 100 million views within the first 24 hours of its release. Talk about monumental! We seem to have many BTS fans at JW--the band garnered a massive amount of votes in all the categories for which they were nominated.

The Best Trend

This one was tricky since there were not that many trends this year that were noteworthy. The main ones we could come up with were the Outer Banks Phase, Whipped Coffee, LED Lights as room decor, Y2K Style, and just TikTok. We provided an “other” category in the survey, so students could submit different ideas. Our favorite is wearing a mask--what a great one! The winner of this category won by a landslide with 44.6% of votes. The winner for the Best Trend of 2020 is LED Lights. LED Lights first became popularized on Tik Tok during the early stages of quarantine. Many people fell in love with being able to change the colors of lights in their rooms without the hassle of installing a light bulb. The most popular LED Lights are strip lights, which have an adhesive backing, so you can stick them to any surface. For teenagers, the lights are most commonly placed along the ceiling perimeter of their bedrooms. It’s a cool and inexpensive way to make your room look like a party!

The Best Movie

Few movies came out this year since theaters were closed due to the pandemic. Even with that obstacle, some incredible films were released. The nominees were Soul, Wonder Woman 1984, Mulan, The Prom, To All The Boys: P.S. I Still Love You, The Social Dilemma, and The Way Back. The winner of this category won with 28.7% of the votes. The winner for the Best Movie of 2020 is Soul. Soul came out on Disney+ on December 25, 2020. It’s a wonderful animated movie featuring actors like Tina Fey and Jamie Foxx. The movie is about a middle-school band teacher named Joe, whose life has not gone in the direction he was expecting. He has a huge passion for jazz, and he’s extremely talented. In the story, he travels to another realm to help someone else find her passion. As a result, he “discovers what it means to have a soul."

The Best Artist

Some incredible singers wowed their audiences even more than usual last year. The artists we thought were outstanding and worth nominating were Taylor Swift, Shawn Mendes, The Weeknd, Ariana Grande, Tyler, the Creator, Harry Styles, The Neighborhood, BTS, Megan Thee Stallion, and Billie Eilish. The winner won a close match with 17.8% of the votes. The runners-up had 13.9%, 12.9%, and 10.9%. The winner for the Best Artist of 2020 is BTS.

As I said before, it's clear we have many BTS fans at JW! BTS is a seven-member South Korean boy band that debuted in 2013 under Big Hit Entertainment. Their members include Kim Taehyung, Jungkook, Jimin, Suga, Jin, J-Hope, and RM. They are an immensely talented group with great singing, rapping, and dancing skills. They have over 27 million listeners on Spotify and have been incredibly successful recently.

The Best Influencer

I think many of us can say that social media has consumed much of our lives, but I expected nothing less when schools were shut down and we had so much time to ourselves. During this time, influencers on social media platforms have bloomed, producing more content than ever before because of all the time they had to spare. Some of these public figures have grown exponentially in the past year and deserve to be recognized. The nominees are Charli D’Amelio, Sienna Mae, Nmillz1, Emma Chamberlain, Corpse Husband, PewDiePie, Dream, Quackity, Amelie Zilber, GeorgeNotFound, Tommyinnit, Wilbur Soot, Addison Rae, and Larray. This winner won by two votes against the second-place winner. The winner for the Best Influencer of 2020 is Dream. Dream (or sometimes known as DreamWasTaken) is an anonymous American gaming YouTuber known for playing Minecraft and doing impossible speed runs, breaking records over and over again. Dream’s channel is one of the fastest-growing channels in the history of YouTube. He gained over 10 million subscribers in a little over a year. He is a part of the “Dream Team,” which is a collaborative group that includes other Minecraft YouTubers, GeorgeNotFound and Sapnap. Dream currently has 18.3 million subscribers, but he is still growing and becoming more successful.

The Best Social Media App

As mentioned before, social media blossomed into something never seen before. More people were using it than ever, which may not be a good thing, but it deserves some recognition. Thanks to these social media apps, some people have made great progress in their lives, finding inspiration and influencers everywhere. The nominees for this category were TikTok, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, and YouTube. The winner of this category won with over 50% of the votes. The winner of the Best Social Media App of 2020 is TikTok.

I personally was not surprised by this win since Tik Tok gained such popularity and made a difference for teens all over the world during 2020. TikTok is a social media platform where you can share videos from a variety of genres. Popular content includes dancing, comedy, and educational videos--all under a minute in length. The app currently has over 1.1 billion users and increased by almost 500 million users during quarantine alone. It truly did dominate social media platforms during 2020.

Although 2020 was definitely rough, we all made it through to a new year together, and pop culture likely made our lives a little more joyful and entertaining, especially during times when we may have felt sad or isolated. I'm glad there’s always good in everything, even during the worst year ever.

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