Twerking has a rich and illustrious history, but 2013 proved to be the year it went mainstream. From the Oxford English dictionary to morning television, it was hard to avoid the word (and dance) over the last 12 months. Miley Cyrus may have put her own stamp on the rump-focused style numerous times, but plenty of other stars know how to dip it, pop it, twerk it and stop it. Check on them, won’t you?
There are numerous deserving candidates who twerked their way into our hearts this calendar year. Check out the lucky 13 that made our list.
13. Miley Cyrus Earns Honorary Hip-Hop Cred
The popularity of Juicy J’s 2012 single “Bandz A Make Her Dance” was never a question, and Justin Timberlake’s decision to incorporate it into his 2013 live show only reinforced its infectious nature. Fellow Disney kid, Miley Cyrus, decided to show concertgoers what kind of music she listens to in the car (and how many hours she’d spent practicing moves in the mirror) at Juicy show in June. Putting all of this out for the public to see was only the first in a series of calculated, attention-grabbing moves and further proved that Billy Ray’s daughter loves her some hip-hop.
12. Putting Skills To The Test
The inaugural UK Twerking Championships took place at the Scala in King’s Cross, London in November. Yes, a competition was held to see who can twerk the best. Ladies, start your engines.
11. Officially Defined
“Twerking” was added to the Oxford Dictionary of English (along with the all-too prevalent “selfie”) following the Miley Cyrus VMAs performance in August. “By last year, it had generated enough currency to be added to our new words watch list, and by this spring, we had enough evidence of usage frequency in a breadth of sources to consider adding it to our dictionaries of current English,” explains Katherine Connor Martin of Oxford Dictionaries. “The current public reaction to twerking is reminiscent in some ways of how the twisting craze was regarded in the early 1960s, when it was first popularized by Chubby Checker’s song, ’The Twist.'” Not bad company.
10. The Varsity Twerk Team Gets Justice
Like Tamagotchis, razor scooters and cell phones before it, twerking became a problem for school administrators after 31 students at Scripps Ranch High in San Diego used school property to film their “Awesome Twerking Video” back in May. Parents were outraged and suspensions were doled out, but by the fall, the incident had been expunged from the students’ records. “After further review, a mutual agreement has been reached that is in the best interest of the students and the district. The parents, students, school and district are ready to move beyond this incident and focus on the upcoming school year,” a spokeswoman for the district said. See? It’s even difficult for educators to resist the power of the twerk.
9. Busta Rhymes and Justin Bieber Want You To “Twerk”
Are the Christmas elves back at it? The lead single off Busta’s upcoming album E.L.E.2 (Extinction Level Event 2) encourages those partial to Jamaican accents and dutty wine to get down. And by repeating the title 18 times in the hook, it’s highly likely you won’t forget Busta’s role in “The Movement.” Meanwhile, Bieber and his friend Miley put twerking on wax with their aptly titled song “Twerk.” In the never-ending quest to be re-branded a R&B king, Le Bieb croons to a “pretty girl” and repeatedly encourages listeners to “turn up.” Considering he recently declared “swag” to be dead, this track already feels old.
8. Nicki Minaj and Ciara Do It for the Ladies
Slow-twerking to perfection. Can you compete with that? Nope, I’m out.
7. “Twerk, Twerk (Miley, Miley)”
Despite giving us zero time to prep for his new release, Jay Z’s Magna Carta… Holy Grail was full of contemporary pop culture musings, including a nod to Miley’s preferred move of choice. And not only is it a nod to Miley and the twerking movement, it’s a sign of approval, letting the then-20-year-old know she’s A-OK to continue doing her thing.
6. A New World Record Is Born
To prove anyone can twerk, Big Freedia and over 300 of her not-so-closest friends helped set a Guinness World Record for the most people twerking in the same place. Sadly, this is hardly the strangest thing to take place in New York’s Herald Square.
5. Paula Patton Gets HersAfter her husband was twerked on by Cyrus, Paula Patton showed morning show viewers everywhere how she gives it to #THICKE at home. Today weatherman Al Roker hasn’t been the same since.
4. Rihanna Assumes Her Rightful Position…atop the twerking throne. “Pour It Up” featured in-chair twerking and a pole dance? We’re not worthy.
3. Bunk from The Wire Drops Some Knowledge
Wendell Pierce stopped by Very VH1 to talk about his role on The Michael J. Fox Show, New Orleans, life and much more. During our chat, he verified, that, yes, NOLA was at the forefront of this current trend many believe was crafted by Ms. Cyrus. He even shared a vignette about a trip to Uganda, where he experienced the local style of twerking firsthand. Someone get this man a cigar!
2. Jimmy Kimmel Is Behind the “Worst Twerk Fail Ever” Hoax
After a terrifying attempt at at-home twerking went viral, Jimmy Kimmel revealed what was believed to be the most disastrous attempt at sexytimes was actually executed by his late night team. Thanks for owning up to it, JK, but we’ll never trust you again.
1. Miley Cyrus Performs “Blurred Lines” with Robin Thicke at the MTV Video Music AwardsIn a year of shaking butts, this is the pièce de résistance; need we remind you of how many conversations about Miley’s actions were took place in the days that followed? Her risque routine was debated to death on television and entertainment blogs, dubbed a “minstrelsy” and sparked discussions about cultural appropriation and slut-shaming in today’s pop culture. All of which are necessary topics deserving of attention. Dressed in a nude bra top and panties, with an over-sized foam finger, Cyrus gyrated, shook her behind and grazed Thicke’s crotch, causing our jaws to hit the floor. (He’s a dad!) It wasn’t the first moment where Miley shocked us, but it took her whole schtick to another level. It’s a performance that will surely be regarded one of the most “shocking” in MTV VMA history, and only helped to elevate her stock even more.