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CityNews Rewind 2012: Psy, Whitney & TIFF the talk of entertainment

Singer Whitney Houston performs onstage at the American Music Awards on Nov. 22, 2009 in Los Angeles. FILMMAGIC/Michael Tran

From an outrageous Korean pop video to the death of icon Whitney Houston, the year in entertainment brought smiles, tears and, of course, scandal.

Here are five big entertainment stories of 2012 from Toronto and beyond.

Click here to read other stories in our CityNews Rewind 2012 series.

Breakups

Love, betrayal, forgiveness — not only the hallmarks of an epic film, but also the true story arc of K-Stew and R-Patz, a.k.a. Twilight’s Kristen Stewart, 22, and Robert Pattinson, 26.

Last July, news broke Stewart had cheated on Pattinson — her boyfriend of three years — with her married Snow White and the Huntsman director, Rupert Sanders.

“Really the juiciest of juicy stories was when those pictures came out of Kristen Stewart having an affair on Robert Pattinson,” said CityNews entertainment anchor Mary Kitchen.

“Nothing rocked the entertainment world this year like that.”

Stewart issued a statement the next day, apologizing for the “hurt and embarrassment” she had caused.

“This momentary indiscretion has jeopardized the most important thing in my life, the person I love and respect the most, Rob,” she said. “I love him, I love him, I’m so sorry.”

Three months later, Pattinson took her back. And the pair walked the red carpet together for the premiere of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 in November.

Another high-profile split — Tom Cruise, 50, and Katie Holmes, 34 — didn’t have the same Hollywood ending. Holmes filed for divorce in June, after five years of marriage, and the papers were finalized two months later.

Stargazing at TIFF

For 11 days in September, as it does every year, the city shone a little brighter with red carpets, VIP parties and A-list celebrities rolling into town for the 37th edition of the Toronto International Film Festival.

TIFF screened more than 300 films from mainstream to art-house, but — as has been the case for decades — Hollywood stars were the main draw.

“A lot of the early buzz had to do with Kristen Stewart coming to town,” said Citytv film critic Mohit Rajhans. “It was the whole hoopla around the fact that she was making her first public appearance [after her cheating scandal.]”

For Rajhans, it was all about the films — two of his favourites were The Impossible and The Reluctant Fundamentalist — though his brushes with acting royalty only added to the experience.

“I happened to be invited to a very special, swanky, 20-person birthday party for Colin Firth,” he said. “There I was singing happy birthday to Colin Firth thinking to myself, ‘I don’t belong here.’”

Superheroes rule the box office

Two of the year’s many superhero movies made their mark for very different reasons.

The Avengers, released in May, surpassed Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 to become the third-highest-grossing film of all time, taking in $1.5 billion at the box office worldwide. It sits behind only Avatar and Titanic, both James Cameron films.

“There was definitely something called the Avengers effect,” Rajhans said.

“There was this succession of superhero films that were supposed to fill the summer market … and what The Avengers ended up doing was taking such a chunk out of the box office that other films ended up falling victim to it.”

Although The Dark Knight Rises did well too, a deadly shooting at one of its premieres marred its opening weekend.

On July 20, James Holmes, a 24-year-old former grad student, burst into a theatre in Aurora, Colo., and opened fire, killing 12 and wounding 58.

He is on trial for several counts of murder and attempted murder.

Gangnam Style takes the world

The story of Gangnam Style is the story of how a little-known Korean pop star produced an infectious, high-energy music video that launched a dance craze and landed him on Time’s Person of the Year list.

It hardly matters that few of the one billion people who watched it can understand its message.

It spawned countless parodies, got rapper Psy a gig at the White House, and in November, overtook Justin Bieber’s Baby as the most-watched YouTube video of all time.

“When I made the song and when I made the video, I didn’t try that hard to be good. I just tried hard to be ridiculous,” Psy, 34, told Citytv before his NFL halftime show in Toronto earlier this month.

“So I gotta try hard to be more ridiculous than Gangnam Style for the next one.”

Psy’s new album, now in the works, will be his first to debut outside of South Korea.

Whitney Houston, 1963-2012

By the time she was found dead last Feb. 11, Whitney Houston had lived a remarkable but troubled life.

At, 48, she was one of the biggest pop stars of all time, known for a bag full of Grammys and No. 1 hits, including The Greatest Love of All and her cover of Dolly Parton’s I Will Always Love You, which became the biggest hit single in rock history.

But since the ‘90s, she had made headlines more for her tumultuous relationship with R&B singer Bobby Brown and perennial drug and alcohol problems.

On the eve of the 2012 Grammys, Houston’s assistant found her dead in the bathtub of her Beverly Hills hotel room. She had died by accidental drowning, heart disease and cocaine use.

“I will never forget … seeing all of the fans come out and all of the love that they had for Whitney Houston,” said Kitchen, who was at New York Fashion Week when she heard the news.

Stevie Wonder performed, Houston’s The Bodyguard co-star Kevin Costner gave a heartfelt tribute and fans lined the streets at her funeral at the New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, N.J., where she got her start.

Click here to read other stories in our CityNews Rewind 2012 series.