There is a moment, at the end of a beauty pageant, when the previous year’s winner is forced to place the sparkling crown on a new champion’s head. During that split second, you can usually see the outgoing girl grinding her teeth underneath her forced Vaseline smile. And you know exactly what she’s thinking, too. “No! Wait! It’s still my year!” Um, actually, it isn’t. Not anymore.
The Zeitgeist tends to follow the same rules as a pageant. It took 2007’s “It” girls only 365 days to turn DUIs and jail time into the new panty flashing and rehab breaks, and 2008’s reigning vixens are undoubtedly eager to add their own unique twist to the dialogue. Of course, one can’t expect everyone to cede their titles willingly — some will hold on to them as long as they can. Others will fade faster than Nicole Richie is praying she’ll lose her baby weight.
With that in mind, the Phoenix has taken it upon itself to rip the tiaras right off the heads of 2007’s victors. That is to say, we’ll do it quickly, painlessly, and before the first of the year, when they’re least expecting it. Pop-culture prophesies are never easy, yet we’ve attempted to tap into the music, fashion, literature, and other ephemera we’ve seen flying under, over, and just inside the radar. Whittled down to the following key categories and zesty front-runners, we’ll be the first to admit that our prognostications for 2008 aren’t always pretty — in fact, some of our predictions chilled us to the core. But that’s merely par for the course. You know 2007 is so totally over. Let the evolution of “It” begin.
The new ‘It’ girls
Instead of wowing fans with revelatory plot developments, the most recent chapter of NBC’s Heroes heaped on disappointment after disappointment. Luckily, HaydenPanettiere managed to rise above the fray — would you expect any less from a steely, self-healing cheerleader? In real-life, the 18-year-old Panettiere has taken to gallivanting about town with co-star Milo Ventimiglia, who is about 12 years her senior. Steamy! Regardless of whether Peter Petrelli is Panettiere’s secret paramour, she’s on most fame junkies’ radars as the leader of a fresh “It” girl gang comprising young ladies who are magically skilled at keeping their scandals close and their fellow cast members closer.
We’re also expecting big things from Gossip Girl’s 21-year-old Leighton Meester, who plays hot-shit Upper East Sider Blair and does the youthful-bitch-in-plaid-and-pearls act better than anyone we’ve ever seen. On the sexy socialite front, there’s 18-year-old Daisy Lowe, Gavin Rossdale’s pre–Gwen Stefani love child. Heads will turn.
The new ‘It’ television
Writers’ picket lines haven’t distracted Fox from continuously one-upping itself in its quest to sink to new levels in peddling game-show trash. The network’s latest behemoth, The Moment of Truth, premieres in late January. The mind boggles: contestants are given polygraph tests and asked 75 questions that range from “Are you sexually attracted to your wife’s friends” to “Do fat people repulse you?” Think the interrogation sessions in Alias meets the faux glamour of Deal or No Deal meets old-school Jerry Springer. Meanwhile, here’s hoping our Comcast package means we have access to BBC Three, which will host Lily Allen’s new talk show (working title: Lily Allen and Friends) in the spring — that is, if the mother-to-be still feels up to the task. We don’t understand how Miss “I’m Better Than the Whole World, So Sod Off!” is going to be able to say nice things about other people, but we’ve always had a good chuckle over her spunk, and, duh, we love her outfits.