WINNERS VS LOSERS OF 2007

There were lows and there were most definitely highs...
Wednesday , 02 January 2008
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Not a day passes without another arrest for driving under the influence, a critically panned album, or an unflattering photo in the papers. But it's not all bad news that surrounds celebrities - comebacks are feted, success is celebrated, and coping with the stresses of a life through the paparazzi lens is not an easy task. We take a look at the winners and losers of 2007 - and those who did a bit of both.

WINNERS:
SPICE GIRLS
Sporty, Ginger, Baby, Scary and Posh brought back what was seriously lacking in the charts in 2007 - their own brand of feisty girl-power. Settling their differences after Geri Halliwell's departure from the band in 1998, the girls thought it was about time (and of course financially lucrative to the tune of around USD $20 million) to unleash themselves upon the music industry once more, announcing a farewell tour taking in the five continents for 11 final flings as a fivesome.

Arguably now older and wiser, with seven children between them, the Spice Girls spun the world into a ticket-buying frenzy, with over 750,000 fans snapping up the chance to see the pioneers of lady pop in the flesh within 38 seconds of the tickets going on sale - forcing the Spice Girls to add an unprecedented number of extra dates, which now total over 40!

Learning from their 1990s heyday of lending their name to everything from lollipops to scooters, the band used their comeback to pick and choose their product endorsements this time round - netting around $2 million each from British supermarket chain Tesco for starring in their festive TV ads. They also signed a deal to work with posh US lingerie chain, Victoria's Secret.

Although their comeback single Headlines (Friendship Never Ends) wasn't exactly on a par with their loveable pop hits of the 90s, and the critics weren't entirely kind about the tune, it didn't matter. Geri Halliwell, Emma Bunton, Melanie Chisholm, Melanie Brown and Victoria Beckham came back with a bang in 2007 and wowed the world once more.

BRITNEY SPEARS
The self-proclaimed legendary Miss Britney Spears (as pointed out to the masses in comeback single Gimme More) has had a rollercoaster 2007. If she wasn't losing custody of her kids, she was getting stopped by the cops for driving offences or being harangued in the press for behaving ridiculously. So where did it all go wrong?

After starting the year in the celeb haunt du jour, rehab, the star marched into her local hair salon and shaved off her long locks, much to the collected gasps of the public. Teen queen Britney had officially lost it. The ongoing divorce battle with estranged husband Kevin Federline plodded along for the first half of the year, with the marriage finally annulled in July - leading to more long-running legal woes for the singer over custody of the couple's two kids, Sean Preston and Jayden James.

It's been hard keeping up with Britney's bad behaviour - whether she was in or out of rehab, whether or not she had custody of her children, and what was really going on in the 25-year-old's world. Musically, her performance at the MTV VMAs in October was an...er... interesting sight, with Spears cavorting on stage in an ill-advised lingerie combo, much to the amusement of all who witnessed the spectacle.

It wasn't long before her comeback album Blackout hit the shops, which despite the shambolic unveiling of first single Gimme More, was lauded by the critics as an impressive piece of pop. Deep down, it was clear the world still loved Britney, despite her often bizarre antics. And it seems Spears really can do no wrong in the eyes of many. Over 34,000 Britney Spears bits and pieces were snapped up on Internet auction site eBay in 2007 - more than any other celebrity. So yes, Britney, we do still want a Piece Of You, actually!

KYLIE MINOGUE

The year 2007 saw the Australian princess of pop make a welcome return to the charts, following her diagnosis with breast cancer two years earlier. After battling the disease, the end of the year played host to the singer's first studio album in four years, X - and Kylie was ready to treat her fans to her inimitable brand of disco-tinged pop once again.

Her omnipresent stylist and pal William Baker followed her with a camera during August 2006 and March 2007, with the fruits of their labour hitting the big and small screens in November. She split from long-term love Olivier Martinez in February after four years together, but remained dignified in the face of the French actor's alleged infidelity. In October, she was honoured with an Idol award by British music magazine Q; no mean feat as the accolade is normally won by so-called credible rock stars, not pop princesses.

But it wasn't just acclaimed music magazines lining up to praise Kylie's perky comeback. In October, the singer was the first woman to be honoured with the Music Industry Trust's Award for her two decades in showbiz - 2007 marked 20 years since the release of debut tune I Should Be So Lucky, back when she was a curly-haired, dungaree-clad teenager in Australian TV series, Neighbours.

The awards organisers honoured the 39-year-old in "recognition of her universally acclaimed status as an icon of pop and style achieved over a 20-year career, which has seen her reinvent, experiment and inspire". And since, Kylie has clearly demonstrated her staying power. This year she is off on the road again with show KYLIEX2008.

She may be small, but she's definitely one of the winners of 2007.

THE BECKHAMS

David and Victoria Beckham were no strangers to the media spotlight before 2007, but this year saw the Beckham circus well and truly come to town. The pair - and their three sons, Brooklyn, Romeo and Cruz - decamped from their base in Madrid to Los Angeles for soccer star David to honour his new sports contract at local team L.A. Galaxy. Needless to say, the press - and the locals - went wild for a piece of the world's most famous couple.

In April, they sought out a USD $22 million mansion, before moving into its many exclusive walls three months later in July; an arrival fanfared by a David and Victoria front cover on US style bible ‘W' the same month. And no move to California would be complete without a slew of celebrity pals - the Beckhams soon hooked up with fellow famous couples Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith, and Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony... and Victoria soon struck up a friendship with celebrity blogger Paris Hilton.

The L.A. transformation was officially complete with Victoria's cameo appearance in hit US series Ugly Betty, which was, admittedly, rather hilarious. The Beckhams seem to have found their spiritual home in California, and it seems California has found yet another ‘couple of the moment'.

AMY WINEHOUSE
The beehived British bombshell really made her mark this year, on both the music scene and the media - running the gauntlet between critical acclaim and public condemnation of her alleged drug abuse, meaning she's on the cusp of being both a winner and a loser of 2007.

With the success of sophomore album Back To Black in both the UK and the US rounding up fans by the second, Winehouse looked set to be the toast of 2007. But Amy's personal demons didn't sit well with her creative talents. The singer scrapped a string of dates throughout the year, meaning securing the year's hottest ticket - to see Amy in concert - was never a firm bet you'd actually see the star get up and sing live.

She married a former boyfriend, Blake Fielder-Civil, in Miami, Florida, in May - much to the surprise of her parents. Despite her immense musical prowess, her controversial behaviour, (being pictured with suspicious substances up her nose, hallmarks of self-harming on her arms, and a collapse due to a suspected overdose in August), has threatened to overshadow her career. Her mumbling performance at the MTV European Music Awards in November was billed as shambolic, but she's got an army of fans. Her outspoken dad, mum, friends, family and even music impresario Andrew Lloyd Webber are queuing up to support the star.

It seems everyone's looking out for the most talented songstress to emerge from London in decades. Amy went to pieces after husband Blake was arrested over attempting to pervert the course of justice, after being accused of actuating grievous bodily harm. She even pulled her UK tour mid-way through November, despite having eight dates outstanding, citing Fielder-Civil's absence as the reason for the cancellation. It may have been a lonely Christmas for the star, with Blake spending the festive season behind bars, but the year ended on a high - of the naturally occurring variety, no less - with Winehouse racking up six Grammy nominations.

LOSERS:
KIEFER SUTHERLAND
With TV series 24 continuing to go from strength to strength, and Kiefer Sutherland's character Jack Bauer continuing to save the human race as we know it, it was a shock when the star was arrested on a misdemeanour drunk driving charge in September. He was found to be three times over the legal alcohol consumption limit.

The naughty boy was later released on USD $50,000 bail. At a hearing on 9 December, Sutherland pleaded no contest to the DUI charges, and on 5 December was sentenced by a less-than-sympathetic judge to 48 days in jail. A day later, the actor surrendered to cops at Glendale City Jail in California, where he would spend the next 48 days of his life - luckily for Sutherland, he was saved by the Hollywood Writers' strike, which allowed him to serve his sentence as early as possible. On the flipside, however, the 40-year-old action hero has been forced to spend his 21 December birthday, the festive season and New Year behind bars. Not exactly the best start to 2008.

PARIS HILTON
Who would've thought everyone's favourite socialite extraordinaire would have been forced to swap the bars of West Hollywood for the bars of a nearby correctional facility? The year started poorly for Ms Hilton, after she admitted to alcohol-related reckless driving in January, and was sentenced to three years probation. A month later, however, Paris was caught driving on a suspended licence, effectively violating her probation - leading to her prison sentence.

Paris being Paris, however, sneaked off to do her time in style, by showing her face at the MTV awards on 2 June to trick the paparazzi, before leaving by the back door and surrendering herself to the cops when the world wasn't looking. Paris was sent home from jail three days into her 45-day sentence (which was later reduced to 23 days), to serve the remainder (complete with an oh-so-unflattering ankle bracelet) under house arrest.

Unsurprisingly enough, amid much furore, she was sent back to the Century Regional Detention Centre in Lynwood, California, soon after, but emerged in the glare of the flashbulbs, fresh-faced and innocent - if not a little disturbed by her time inside.

LINDSAY LOHAN
It's easy to assume former sweet child star Lindsay Lohan spent more of 2007 in rehab than in work - and with three stints in three separate rehabilitation facilities this year, it's no surprise that Lohan is one of our losers of 2007.

The year didn't start too well, when the actress admitted herself to the Wonderland facility in January, after confessing to having regularly attended Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. She was also forced to withdraw from movie ‘A Woman Of Importance', with her role taken up by the gorgeous Jessica Biel. Ouch.

Fast forward four months to May, when Lindsay was in trouble with the law for driving under the influence of alcohol. Naughty Lindsay then checked into the Promises rehabilitation clinic, where she spent 45 days drying out. Whether she learned much in rehab is questionable, as in July, Linsday was back on the wrong side of the law, possessing drugs and reportedly chasing her former assistant's mother in her car - after which she entered the Cirque rehab facility in Utah.

A pattern was beginning to emerge. In August, she was sentenced to just one day in jail, making pal Paris' 45-day sentence seem like a lifetime. But it wasn't as lenient as it sounds - the actress was also fined, sentenced to 10 days community service, placed on probation for at least three years and ordered to undertake an 18-month alcohol education programme.

But despite the arrests and subsequent rehab, Lindsay was almost - heaven forbid - overshadowed by constantly feuding parents Michael and Dina Lohan, whose divorce was thankfully finalised after almost two years in August.

Phew! What a year. And no doubt 2008's winners and losers will be a completely different set of people - most of whom we haven't even heard of yet. Bring on the gossip, we can't wait!