A multitude of pop culture events, both memorable and shocking, made 2022 a noteworthy paradox. From celebrities showcasing their impeccable sense of style at the Met Gala red carpet, Tim Burton’s Wednesday creating magic around the world, Johnny Depp and Amber Heard taking the legal path, Will Smith getting banned by the Academy for his infamous ‘slap’ at the Oscars to BTS’ military enlistment or Elon Musk’s Twitter chaos, 2022 was truly dominated by some of the biggest pop culture moments.

With social media disseminating events from popular culture across the globe, people are getting to explore and invest in varied avenues. Be it music, art, fashion, movies or cyberculture, popular culture invites mass appeal. And while 2021 gave us a much-needed Friends reunion and made us reflect upon life with Squid Game, 2022 too made sure it had all things ‘popular’ in check.

As 12 months have already gone in the blink of an eye, there’s no better time to look back at some of the most intriguing happenings of 2022. And, our list has everything that made you scroll through Instagram all the more fervidly.

Here are some pop culture moments of 2022 that created a buzz

BTS confirms military enlistment

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Image credit: bts_bighit/Twitter

BTS members shocking the world by confirming the news of their enlistment is undoubtedly one of the biggest and most significant pop culture events of 2022. The confirmation came after Big Hit Music announced on 17 October that the members will enter their mandatory military service starting with Jin.

In an official statement, Big Hit Music said, “After the phenomenal concert to support Busan’s bid for the World Expo 2030, and as each individual embarks on solo endeavours, it’s a perfect time and the members of BTS are honoured to serve.”

Jin started his mandatory military service on 13 December 2022.

Jungkook makes FIFA dream big with “Dreamers”

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Image credit: bts_bighit/Twitter

BTS’ Jungkook made FIFA a little more pleasing by lending his voice to the official 2022 FIFA World Cup song “Dreamers.” The official music video for the same was released on 22 November and became a fan favourite instantly.

The release of the song and its aftermath makes for one of the biggest pop culture moments with football fans turning into ARMY and going “this Jungkook guy ate it up.” Currently “Dreamers” is the fastest solo song by a Korean and K-pop soloist to surpass 100 million streams on Spotify. Not to forget, the main vocalist of BTS, Jungkook, achieved this feat in just 35 days.

Wednesday stuns the world

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Image credit: Netflix/Twitter

Be it ‘Thing’ doing his eccentric antics, Wednesday Addams fighting deadly monsters and rocking the Nevermore dance floor with her iconic moves as well, or Tim Burton rewarding the audience with incredible classical pieces throughout the episodes, Wednesday made sure to end 2022 with a bang.

With Jenna Ortega playing the main protagonist, the Netflix original series created history by dethroning the fourth season of Stranger Things to become the most-viewed series after its release on 23 November.

Based on Charles Addams’ classic comedy, The Addams Family, Burton’s Wednesday received over 341.2 million viewing hours in just one week.

Zendaya’s Emmys ‘Euphoria’

Image credit: Zendaya/Instagram

Zendaya winning her second Emmy for Euphoria became one of the most trending news on Twitter in 2022. The promising actor who plays teen addict Rue in the show made history as the youngest two-time Emmy winner. In her virtual acceptance speech, the actor dedicated her Euphoria win to the activists fighting for racial and social justice across America following the murder of George Floyd.

Beyonce delivers Renaissance

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Image credit: Beyonce/Twitter

Beyonce made heads turn towards her with her seventh studio album Renaissance, released on 29 July 2022. From becoming Spotify’s most-streamed album in a single day by a female artist in 2022, with over 40 million streams to getting to the top of Apple Music in 100 countries after its release, the new album broke numerous pop culture and music records.

Renaissance was termed ‘Act I’ by the legendary singer and the album’s liner notes made the confirmation for at least two more ‘acts’ official.

Taylor Swift — a new album and a tour mishap 

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Image credit: taylorswift/Instagram

Taylor Swift received the biggest success of her career with her tenth album Midnights. From taking all of the top 10 spots on the Billboard Hot 100 to breaking vinyl album records by crossing 500,000 copy sales on the day of its release (21 October), she created history.

This was followed by Swift criticising Ticketmaster for mishandling ticket sales and completely sabotaging her Eras Tour. However, the company later mended their relations by penning down a Twitter apology for Swift and her fans.

Lizzo charms with a centuries-old flute

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Image credit: lizzobeeating/Instagram

Lizzo turned ‘Pied Piper’ this year and charmed the world by playing a centuries-old President’s flute. The singer made sure to make every minute count while playing James Madison’s 200-year-old crystal flute at a concert in Washington DC. Later, the Library of Congress released two YouTube videos of Lizzo performing an arrangement of the folk tune “The Carnival of Venice” and an excerpt from Francis Poulenc’s “Flute Sonata.”

Bad Bunny smashes charts with Un Verano Sin Ti

Image credit: badbunnypr/Instagram

Un Verano Sin Ti, the fourth solo studio album, and fifth overall, by popular rapper and singer Bad Bunny, has been dominating the charts since its release on 6 May 2022. According to Rolling Stone, Bad Bunny became the top-streamed artist on Spotify for the third consecutive year in a row and earned more than 18.5 billion streams in 2022.

Not-so-appealing instances involving Kanye West

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Image credit: Ye/© Netflix/IMDb; RealCandaceO/Twitter

Following the public breakup of Kanye West and Kim Kardashian, West got himself entangled in numerous controversies.

From wearing a ‘White Lives Matter’ shirt, along with right-wing commentator Candace Owens, at his Paris Fashion Week show, to being trolled for the same due to ‘White Lives Matter’ being labelled as hate speech by the Anti-Defamation League to being banned on social media for posting antisemitic comments, West made headlines for all the wrong reasons.

Following this, brands including Gap, Balenciaga and Adidas ended their partnerships with the rapper. However, West went ahead to make more antisemitic remarks in an interview with Alex Jones. His statements like “I like Hitler” and “we got to stop dissing the Nazis all the time,” enraged numerous fans and the rapper was largely criticised online for the same.

The Johnny Depp-Amber Heard court case

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Image credit: Johnny Depp/Instagram; Amber heard/Instagram

The televised defamation trial between Depp and Heard stirred quite the debate this year. Their dysfunctional marriage led to Depp suing Heard for defamation, followed by six weeks of rigorous testimony and 13 hours of deliberations. The end results were in favour of Depp, and on 1 June, a Virginia jury awarded the actor over USD 10 million for the damages caused.

The aftermath of the win had Depp posting a heartfelt letter on his Instagram thanking his fans and everyone else who believed in him. The actor said that he is “overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and colossal support and kindness from around the world.”

The demise of Queen Elizabeth II

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Image credit: RoyalFamily/Twitter

The world mourned the loss of Elizabeth II, the longest-reigning monarch of Britain, who passed away on 8 September at Balmoral Castle in Scotland.

Millions waited hours to pay their respects to the queen. Reportedly, football legend David Beckham waited for 12 hours to get a glimpse of her at Westminster Hall in London. The Lying-in-state of Elizabeth II officially ended on 19 September.

Meanwhile, the coronation ceremony of the UK’s new monarch, King Charles III, will take place on Saturday 6 May, 2023.

The infamous Oscar slap by Will Smith

Image credit: John Mathew Smith & www.celebrity-photos.com from Laurel Maryland, USA/CC BY-SA 2.0/via Wikimedia Commons; Chrisrock/instagram

Not CODA winning the Oscar for Best Picture, but Smith slapping Chris Rock on the 94th Academy Awards stage is one of the biggest popular culture moments of 2022. Deemed ‘The Slap’ by millions, the infamous incident that took place on 27 March, became the talk of the town for quite a long time.

It started with Rock delivering a joke about Smith’s wife Jada Pinkett Smith, who has been diagnosed with alopecia (a hair-loss condition). However, Smith didn’t take the joke well and walked up on stage to smack Rock.

Smith, who won the best actor at the Oscars for King Richard later that night, apologised for his actions. This was followed by more apologies days later from the actor’s end, and a final one, months later in the form of a video on YouTube.

Smith is now barred from attending any of the Oscars and any other Academy events, for the next 10 years.

Elon Musk takes over Twitter

Image credit: Elon Musk/IMDb

‘R.I.P Twitter’ trended for days when multi-millionaire Elon Musk bought it for USD 44 billion in April this year. The whole fiasco led to Twitter welcoming back tweeters such as Donald Trump and Kanye West too.

And if the chaos wasn’t enough, Musk went on a firing spree in the following months and even disrupted the company’s legal department and an advisory board due to safety issues.

The Kim-Pete Davidson Breakup

Image credit: themetgalaofficial/Instagram

Kim Kardashian’s alleged breakup with Pete Davidson became one of the biggest celebrity news of 2022. After nine months of togetherness, the couple decided to part ways and the news spread like wildfire with outlets such as Grazia reporting about it.

The Jennifer Lopez-Ben Affleck wedding

Image credit: Ben Affleck/IMDb; Jennifer Lopez/Twitter

2022 saw many celebrities tying the knot, however ‘Bennifer’ making the surprise comeback and then getting hitched, takes the cake. Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck rekindling their early 2000s romance is one of the most special pop culture moments of 2022.

The couple got married on 16 July at a wedding chapel in Las Vegas. This was followed by another celebration in Georgia on 21 August. Seems like 2022 finally gave the couple the happy ending they always deserved.

The ‘Met’ frenzy

Image credit: themetgalaofficial/Instagram

Be it Blake Lively wearing the ‘Atelier Versace gown’ inspired by New York City or Kardashian going for the Marilyn Monroe ‘Happy Birthday’ dress, the Met frenzy reached its peak in 2022 and gave us quite big pop culture moments. One of them has to be Kardashian receiving backlash for returning her historic Marilyn Monroe dress to Ripley’s, after it got damaged reportedly. The news that she wore the figure-hugging nude dress after losing 16 pounds, became another ‘talk of the Met’.

Heidi Klum’s Halloween slug dress

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Image credit: primevideo/HeidiKlum/Instagram

Heidi Klum showing up to her annual Halloween extravaganza as a giant rain worm ranks quite high on the list of not just the biggest pop culture moments of 2022, but the wildest too.

Klum’s husband, Tom Kaulitz, was the added charm of her unique costume. Kaulitz, dressed as a fisherman with a pole attached to his wife and extremely detailed makeup, created waves of both ‘aw’ and ‘oh no’ on the internet. The process of getting ready for Halloween with that iconic costume is documented in bits and pieces on Klum’s official Instagram account and each update throws more light on Klum’s unique sense of fashion.

Julia Fox’s DIY outfits

Image credit: juliafox/Instagram

Be it making a hot mini dress out of a beach towel or making a top out of her jeans, Julia Fox never fails with her DIY ideas. The social media star completely dominated the pop culture moments 2022 list, one DIY outfit at a time.

When Don’t Worry Darling made everyone worried

Image credit: Don’t Worry Darling/Twitter

The horror drama that was released on 23 September, brought with it not just spooky moments but quite a few scandalous ones too.

From the shocking Harry Styles-Olivia Wilde-Jason Sudeikis love triangle to Styles allegedly spitting on co-actor Chris Pine during the premiere in Venice Film Festival to Florence Pugh barely promoting the film, Don’t Worry Darling totally got everyone worried.

While Wilde and Sudeikis made their break up public in November 2020, People stated that on January 5 2021, Wilde and Styles were spotted “holding hands at a friend’s wedding.”

Meanwhile, fans noticed the absence of Pugh throughout most of the promotional events for the film. Media also brought to notice Pine’s bored reaction while listening to his co-star Styles speak during the premiere.

(Main image credit: bts_bighit/Twitter; Featured image credit: Netflix/Twitter)

written by.

Sushmita Mahanta

A PhD research scholar, Sushmita is a full-time writer and a part time poet. Clashing and colliding with words since childhood, there was nothing better than writing she could do to make a living. Notepads are Sushmita's one true love -- the unbothered victims drowned in the ink of her pen. An avid fan of K-pop and K-dramas, she mostly writes about Korean culture and entertainment. When not writing, Sushmita is dancing, reading, collecting books, learning about fashion, art, motion pictures, and appreciating BTS.