The top five moments in pop culture this year:
1. Whitney Houston dies.
2. Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes divorce.
3. Kristen Stewart cheats on Robert Pattinson.
4. PSY takes over the world with "Gangnam Style."
5. The royals are having a baby.
"Whitney Houston's death in February was a tragic event that symbolically set the tone for a year where the old guard in soul and R&B music gave way to a younger generation, as hip-hop kids like Frank Ocean, Miguel and The Weeknd basically reinvented the genre in 2012." Pat Healy
"I remember going to a party and it's all anyone could talk about. I mean, we all knew she wasn't doing well but I guess we didn't realize the extent of her fall from grace until it was too late." Dorothy Robinson
"When my mother asked me what K-Pop was, I knew this thing was bigger than all of us. Parents are the best barometer. " Heidi Patalano, on Gangman
"Our 'Kristen, how could you?' cover is blown-up and hanging on the wall next to my desk. Every day I ask myself the same thing." Meredith Engel
"At the risk of giving this any more ink: Robert Pattinson's hair at least deserves to be cheated on in a proper hotel room." Monica Weymouth
"I can't believe you would vote for Stewart/Pattinson break up when we don't mention '50 Shades.' It's bonkers it's not on this list. But maybe it's not because we are all still wondering how such badly written erotica could take off like it did." DR
"I just wanted to say that I think my 2012 approach to the Kardashian family has really worked this year. I vowed at the onset of 2012 to not speak the Kardashian name aloud. And look at how you're not seeing them on quite as many magazine covers in the checkout line. They're not even on this list! It's the power of the cosmic unconscious, people! Yes, the one that they call Kim is doing whatever she can to keep her flicker of fame alight, hiring Kanye West to pretend like he's into her, but in 2013, if we all agree not to speak the name of that family, I think we can finally make them go away forever." PH
"I never thought I'd be someone who thinks of themselves as a 'Royal Fan' but I really dig Kate and William and I'm excited for them." DR
"Agreed! Although I'm probably more on Team Harry. How much do you want that guy's life?" MW
The Word columnist Dorothy Robinson's Top 5
1. Whitney's death
2. 'Fifty Shades' phenomenon
3. Gangnam Style
4. 'Twilight' breakup
5. Katie and Tom divorce
I hate to be so morbid that Whitney's death would be the biggest event of the year but it was just so shocking; we all felt so numb. Coming in at No. 2, for me, is the "50 Shades" book publishing phenom. It's not too often that a book comes along that every single woman— from your housekeeper to your mother to your coworkers — has read. Unfortunately, this was that book. It was cool to see Gangman overtaking The Macarena as the biggest dance craze of the century, and it was also cool to see (in pictures) Kristen Stewart's car-seat dalliance. Hubba. Finally, Tom and Katie's divorce putters in at No. 5. No big shock there but big enough we have to mention it.