Gabby Douglas, PSY, Jennifer Livingston and Honey Boo Boo were among the year's top breakout stars for grabbing big headlines.
As a member of the U.S. Women's Gymnastics team at the 2012 Summer Olympics Gabby Douglas won gold medals in both the individual and team all-around competitions.
Here Comes Honey Boo Boo is a reality show on TLC that features child beauty pageant participant Alana "Honey Boo Boo" Thompson. The spin-off to Toddlers and Tiaras rated higher than the third night of the Republican National Convention.
Television news anchor Jennifer Livingston gained prominence this y ear when she responded on-air to a viewer's e-mail that criticized her for being overweight.
Actor Peter Dinklage accepts the Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series award. The 4'5" actor play Tyrion in HBO's Game of Thrones.
Elizabeth Warren was elected to a Senate seat in Massachusettes, winning against incumbant Scott Brown.
After years of being defeated at the polls, the tide seemed to turn for proponents of gay marriage in 2012. First, President Obama came out for marriage equality and then gay marriage won popular votes in three states.
Big Bird, the unlikely star of last week's presidential debate, also starred in a political ad from President Barack Obama's re-election campaign. It's been a good year for this Sesame Street character.
In February 2012, Jeremy Lin unexpectedly led a winning streak by New York while being promoted to the starting lineup, which generated a global following known as Linsanity.
"Gangam Style" became an unexpected his in the United States, launching Korean rapper PSY to the front of this year's breakout stars.