2007 YouTube Celebrity Trainwrecks

by Robert Nesti

EDGE National Arts & Entertainment Editor

Wednesday January 2, 2008

No, you're not going to see Two Girls One Cup (at least not here,) but here are some video moments found on YouTube that were silly, outrageous, trashy, and fun. And, most of all, embarrassing to all concerned!

Britney Spears on the VMA Awards

Britney Spears long-awaited comeback was proof that you could take the girl out of the trailer park, but not the trailer park out of the girl. Capping off a series of tabloid-grabbing news stories, including her contentious divorce with Kevin Federline, her bizarre head-shaving, and battling the paparazzi with a shovel (no less), Spears' much-heralded appearance on VH1's VMA Awards this past September singing "Gimme More" from her new CD showed more Britney than many wished to see. Looking more doughy than buff, she ran through the bump-and-grind routine as if she was walking through a dress rehearsal. She looked like a pole dancer in search of a pole, and was immediately the joke around water coolers everywhere. It was the show's host Sarah Silverman who gave the unkindness cut of all. "Was that incredible? Britney Spears, everyone," Silverman said. "Wow. She is amazing. She is 25 years old and she's already accomplished everything she's going to accomplish in her life. It's mind blowing." click here to see her appearance.

"She’s a HUMAN BEING!" - Chris Crocker Defends Britney!

Not everyone was laughing at Britney, though. One zealous fan - Chris Crocker - gave an impassioned plea for the singer on YouTube, which quickly became one of the year's most watched videos. In the first few days it was posted, it had some 2 million hits. (In case you missed it, click here). The 19 year old Crocker, who lives at home in Tennessee with his grandparents, cited Perez Hilton as one of the leading culprits in the assault on his idol. "Leave Britney alone! Please!" he said tearfully. "All you people care about is readers and making money off her. She's a HUMAN BEING!" The self-described self-described "edutainer" acquired instant celebrity status, which has led to threats on his life as well as a deal for a a documentary-style reality television show.

Geography 101 with Miss Teen South Carolina

Lauren Caitlin Upton, Miss South Carolina Teen USA, became an immediate media sensation when she answered a question on the Miss Teen USA 2007 last August. Asked by the questioner Aimee Teegarden, "Recent polls have shown a fifth of Americans can't locate the U.S. on a world map. Why do you think this is?" To which she responded, "... I personally believe that U.S. Americans are unable to do so because, uh, some, people out there in our nation don't have maps and, uh, I believe that our, uh, education like such as, uh, South Africa and, uh, the Iraq, everywhere like such as, and, I believe that they should, our education over here in the U.S. should help the U.S., uh, or, uh, should help South Africa and should help the Iraq and the Asian countries, so we will be able to build up our future, for our [children]." Despite her bungled response, she finished fourth in the competition. Her answer quickly went up on YouTube and became the most watched video of the month. She capitalized on her success, first on the Today Show where she was applauded for answering the question coherently, and then on 2007 MTV Video Music Awards, where she performed a parody of her famous response. Click here to see her answer.

Jungle Red: Rosie and Elizabeth on The View

Catfights didn't come much better than this. For months on The View Rosie O'Donnell attacked President Bush's policy on Iraq, while co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck defended it. When O'Donnell accused the U.S. of being the terrorists in the occupation ("655,000 Iraqi civilians dead. Who are the terrorists? ... if you were in Iraq and another country, the United States, the richest in the world, invaded your country and killed 655,000 of your citizens, what would you call us?"), conservative commentators accused her of appeasing the enemies. Days later (on May 23), the friction between the two came to a head when O'Donnell accused Hasselback of betraying their friendship by not defending her to right wing pundits. Hasselback defended herself, and the split-screen image of the two told it all. Within days O'Donnell announced she wasn't returning to the show. For the riveting footage, click here.

Larry Craig: Out of the Stall and Into Our Homes

There were long rumors of Larry Craig being gay, but nothing seemed to clinch it more than when it was revealed he had been arrested in a Minneapolis airport men's room for soliciting a plain clothes police man in June. The story wasn't made public until August, at which time the Idaho senator immediately became the fodder for late night television comics and the poster boy for closeted politicians in Congress. Vilified, he went public with an apology, but one that began with a dramatic denial: "I am not gay. I never have been gay.... In June, I overreacted and made a poor decision. I chose to plead guilty to a lesser charge in hopes of making it go away.... Please let me apologize to my family, friends and staff and fellow Idahoans for the cloud placed over Idaho. I did nothing wrong at the Minneapolis airport. I did nothing wrong, and I regret the decision to plead guilty and the sadness that decision has brought on my wife, on my family, friends, staff and fellow Idahoans." He subsequently.announced his retirement after his current term; but within weeks recanted, saying that he was going to fight his guilty plea. He lost his appeal, but continued to fight, which led to this truly bizarre exchange with NBC's Matt Lauer in which he appeared with his wife Suzanne. It also led to the discovery of an earlier comment by Craig about Bill Clinton that may be the gayest moment ever on Meet the Press.

Liz Taylor Howls!

Elizabeth Taylor has collected two Oscars, countless diamonds, and eight husbands over her career. This summer she was often seen escorted by Jason Winters, which led to speculation that he would become husband #9. This clip, though, captures Liz's true feelings on the subject.

Tyra Demonstrates Healthy Skin Care!

Tyra Banks brings self-aggrandizing to new heights. Virtually every interview on her talk show is an exercise in watching her turn the conversation back to her favorite topic - herself. When she gained weight, her defense took on the import of a State of the Union address. On one episode she forced the audience to wear signs with their weight and age; then on another - our favorite - she gave a graphic description of how she handled zits. Not since Deborah Harry popped a pimple in the original Hairspray has acne been grosser or funnier!

Poor Little Rag Doll Marie Osmond

Marie Osmond's appearances on Dancing With The Stars brought her an additional 15 minutes of fame. It wasn't her dancing, though, that brought her attention. In fact, she managed to survive elimination after elimination of the strength of her personality alone. When she passed out while being judged on one episode, the sympathy vote was overwhelming. But not even the death of her father could garner her enough votes to make it to the final elimination. What may have been the cutting blow was her final dance - a shameless promotion of her doll line with Osmond playing a chunky rag doll, despite her much reported weight loss. Click here to see it.

Obama Girl Wins Hearts and Influences People

What was the most watched video on YouTube this past year? It was Obama Girl - the tongue-in-cheek homage to the Illinois senator that went up this past June and became an immediate sensation. Obama Girl is actually two women: actress and model Amber Lee Ettinger, who lip-synched the song for the video, and Leah Kauffman (of "My Box in a Box" fame) who provided the vocals. Its popularity made it media fodder, leading Obama to comment "It's just one more example of the fertile imagination of the internet. More stuff like this will be popping up all the time." His campaign denied any involvement in the production or distribution of the video; and Obama later admonished the filmmakers with this comment: "You do wish people would think about what impact their actions have on kids and families."

Sanjaya’s Biggest Fan!

Another of the year's inexplicable instant celebrities was Sanjaya Malakar, whose repeated appearances on American Idol's sixth season were laughably fascinating. His outlandish outfits and hairdos only added to his mystique, as did the withering comments by judge Simon Cowell, who finally relented to his odd appeal: "Sanjaya," he told him, "I don't think it matters anymore what we say ... I think you are in your own universe and if people like you, good luck." But no one responded more strongly to him than 13-year-old girl named Ashley Ferl, who cried relentlessly during his performance of "You Really Got Me." She quickly got the rep as being Sanjaya's biggest fan. If you want to share the pain, click here.

Tila Tequila Slings the Bull (Testicles, that is)

Who the hell is Tila Tequila? became one of the most asked questions towards the end of the year. The answer could be found on her reality show A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila, a runaway hit for VH1. The concept of the show had the kittenish Tequila admitting to being a bisexual and choosing a prospective partner from a group of straight men and gay women. The resulting culture clash was trash television at its most entertaining. There was the rivalry between the two groups, which sometime resulted in outright hostility; an over-zealous male contestant who had to be evicted from the show; a nasty cat fight between two contestants; shocked parents; and one of the most disgusting food challenges this side of two girls one cup. See it here if you dare!

New York, New York, What a Wonderful Gal

How can you possibly describe New York? The volatile and vulgar personality may be reality television's goddess of self-obsession. Her show I Love New York had two seasons this year, but it wasn't until the second - in which she tried to find love amongst a group of amongst a group of men given nicknames like Precious, Buddha, the Entertainer, and Tailor Made (who eventually was the winner.) What made the show fun was to watch New York's diva-ish outbursts. Assisting her in the mania was her mother, the self-described Sister Patterson. When they invited the parents of some of the contestants to dinner, the result was a bitch-fight that was like watching a car accident. You wanted to turn away, but you couldn't. Here it is.

Christine Ebersole to Barbara Walters: Shut The Fuck Up!

We got this clip from the Diva in San Francisco (formerly the Diva of Boston), and we couldn't resist it. The Diva says that someone should have told Barbara Walters to shut the fuck up a long ago, and who is no better to do it than Christine Ebersole in her Edie Beale drag? So watch it right here.

Want to read more about 2007 celebrities? Check out
2007 Celebrity Trainwrecks

Robert Nesti can be reached at [email protected].