Before “Hello”, the last we heard from Adele was almost five years ago, with the release of the album 21. Off it, she had monster hits such as “Rumor Has It”, “Rolling in the Deep”, and “Someone Like You” (which inspired an SNL parody where everyone who hears the song, down to the lowly window washer, breaks down in tears.) In spite of her lengthy hiatus, Adele managed to keep us guessing. When she dropped her new single last month, it catapulted to #1 on Billboard, replacing The Weeknd’s “The Hills”.
Granted, Adele is unique in our day and age. Today, pop music is made in a virtual assembly line. “Halo” by Beyonce and “Already Gone” by Kelly Clarkson have the exact same beat. No one even noticed, so used are we to an illusion of choice rather than actual choice. (Is there any actual difference between Coke and Pepsi? Is there any difference between Wal-Mart and Target, except for their respective republican and democrat customer-bases?)
But Adele is not the only unique figure in Hollywood. Plenty of the people on the following list were called unique before they faded into obscurity. Perhaps, unlike the elusive songstress, they bored people by printing too much of their currency thereby cheapening it. Perhaps, like Pepsi Blue or Sprite Remix, they were a product that focus tested well and then performed badly in the actual market. Or perhaps they removed themselves, tired of the constant Hollywood schmaltz… But we doubt it.
If you’re intrigued, stay tuned, and discover the 10 celebrities whose star has fizzled out.
10. Katherine Heigl
Another actress who leapt from the television to the big screen is Katherine Heigl. After breaking out on Grey’s Anatomy, Katherine Heigl got offered roles in such movies as Knocked Up, 27 Dresses, The Ugly Truth, and Killers. Again, like Megan Fox, Heigl only lasted a few years before being relegated back to television. Her last few projects have been for the small screen. Although Heigl has always been recognized for her good-looks, they were not the driving force of her career. So then what spelled the end of her celebrity? In short: her piss-poor attitude. She alienated too many people, most notably criticizing Knocked Up for lionizing male arrested-development while portraying women as shrews. Whether or not that’s true, it’s still a huge no-no to undercut your own work.
9. Shia LaBeouf
Shia LaBeouf is someone who has taken very, very badly to his star sputtering. In his most recent cry for attention, he invited fans and casual observers alike to join him, in person or via live-stream, at a screening of his entire filmography in reverse chronological order. An interesting project, indeed, but sad (and a little gag-worthy?) coming from such a young has-been. He’s admitted himself to being “over”, wearing a paper bag on his head to his Nymphomaniac premiere with the words “I Am Not Famous Anymore” written on it. He’s been on a slow descent since 2007, whence he starred in Disturbia and Transformers, a franchise whose movies have been getting ever-lower scores from critics.
Lorde surprised the entire world in 2013 with the release of her song “Royals”. Not only was the song catchy as all hell, but she was only sixteen when it came out. It had the wisdom and the cool confidence of someone literally twice her age, if even (Britney is twice her age and still kind of has the body odor of desperation.) The New Zealand native has had a few other hit songs since then. “Team” did well, garnering 117 million views on YouTube, but that the novelty was wearing off had already become obvious. Her theme song for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 sunk like a stone. Her track with Disclosure, “Magnets”, although catchy enough, has also failed to attract any attention.
7. Brandon Routh
If going from television to romantic comedies is making it big for female actors, then going from television to playing superheroes is making it big for males. Even some of the most tenured actors in Hollywood have only just been offered these coveted parts (Ben Affleck as Batman). That’s why it came as a bit of a shock to everyone when relative nobody Brandon Routh was cast as superhero-of-them-all, Superman, in 2006’s Superman Returns. Unfortunately for Routh, although Superman may have returned, he would not. He only did one movie before being replaced with Henry Cavill (a Brit as Superman…) He was hot for, like, a minute, until people got over that scene where he was shot in the eye and the bullet crumpled like a tin can.
6. Seann William Scott
Dude, Where’s My Car? more like Dude, Where Are My Scripts? Seann William Scott, as Steve Stifler from the American Pie movies, defined the turn of the millennium for many millennials. He appeared in the franchise that revitalized the teen sex comedy genre, inspiring such derivations as Eurotrip (which, let’s not forget, he was in) and The Girl Next Door. But as the popular appeal of thing like Jack-Ass waned, so too did Seann William Scott’s star power. Not only had his archetypal character fallen out of vogue, it also didn’t transition well from sexually over-confident teenager to sexually-ravenous grown man. 2009’s Balls Out: Gary The Tennis Coach was released to rotten reviews. Not to worry, Scott gets a pretty penny from Fox for lending his voice to the Ice Age franchise.
In 2014, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis won the Grammy for Best Rap Album. Faced with heavy criticism, he confessed himself that the board of judges had made the wrong decision (thereby losing all the street cred he had earned himself by saying that he wears clothes that smell like R. Kelly’s piss). His impressionable fans, swayed by the power of suggestion, nodded their wool-filled heads in agreement. “Yeah,” they thought. “This guy’s kind of a fraud.” His latest song, “Downtown”, released on YouTube at the end of August, has barely broken 60 million views (compare this to “Can’t Hold Us” which has 350 million and “Thrift Shop” which has nearly 800 million.) Although the song peaked at #12 on the Billboard Top 40, it’s doubtful that anyone even knows he’s had a recent song.
4. Meghan Trainor
You gotta give Meghan Trainor credit. She has been dogged about not becoming a one-hit wonder. After “All About That Bass” occupied the Billboard penthouse for weeks on end, the 21-year-old became an international superstar and an icon to overweight men and women the world over. Her youth and cheery message made her immediately likeable. But, unfortunately, it also made her immediately disposable. Her sound, doo-wop, wasn’t cutting edge. Bruno Mars had been doing it better and for longer (his first album, lest we forget, was called Doo-Wops & Hooligans.) Her second single, “Lips Are Moving”, peaked at #4, which is frankly pretty good, but it was plagued with comparisons to her superior freshman effort, from the music video to the general sound of the track, that it never really broke out. Plus, she made an off-color comment about not being “strong enough” to have an eating disorder that turned a lot of people off.
3. Lady Gaga
“Bad Romance” was so anthemic that in thousands of years, when aliens discover the remnants of our deceased civilization, the first thing they’ll play is that rinky-dink laser harp solo fro the beginning of the video. People don’t seem to remember, but music videos weren’t weird before Lady Gaga came along. Katy Perry wasn’t colorful and Ke$ha didn’t paint her face. Gaga started all of that. So how did she go from having Beyonce featured on one of her songs (yes, Beyonce played second fiddle to someone – not that we’re trying to add to the frankly tiresome worship of Beyonce, but just imagine that happening today) to making an obviously expensive video (filmed at Hearst Castle in California) that only got 60 million views? The answer is saturation. People got sick and tired of her antics, which got irritating by the end. Now, she tours with lounge-queen Tony Bennett and makes songs about abuse.
2. Megan Fox
For a few years, Megan Fox was Hollywood’s it girl. Her name, like that of the goddess Venus, was shorthand for any irresistible female sexpot. Between 2006 and 2007 she went from appearing on the D-level sitcom Hope and Faith to playing Mikaela Barnes in Transformers, unforgettably leaning over the gaping hood of a car. By 2012, she was back on television, appearing as the voice of Lois Lane in the Robot Chicken made-for-tv movie. Fox’s descent must, in part, be due to her ubiquitous GQ cover. If her only allure was her appearance (let’s face it: her acting was wooden and terrible), she gave it away too inexpensively on the cover of the men’s magazine, rendering it worthless.
1. Lana del Rey
When Lana del Rey hit the scene, no one could take their eyes off of her. She was beautiful, with a succulent pout that never curled into a smile. She was soulful, with a weak and warbling voice that drew you in. She was stylish, her first videos piecemeal collages of potent Americana, followed by highly aestheticized stagings of her fantasies. It was all very exciting, until it started to feel recycled. People levelled accusations of affectation, at best, and inauthenticity, at worst. They believed her to be a hack, especially since she had already given stardom a shot under another pseudonym, Lizzy Grant. “Video Games” was more successful than “Blue Jeans”, which was more successful than “Born to Die”, which was more successful than “National Anthem”. After that, Lana fell off the mainstream radar, and now makes niche music to the delight of her devoted fans.
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