The Year in Superlatives: Best Pregnancy Reveal, Most Stressful Episode of TV, and More

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Theme of the Year

taylor swift, the eras tour at sofi stadium

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Girlhood

Girlies. Girl dinner. Girl math. Being a girl’s girl. Hot girl walks. All things girl, from bows to friendship bracelets, thrived in 2023. Part of that is thanks to cultural sensations like Barbie and the Eras tour, which celebrated femininity and brought back the joys of our adolescence. And perhaps another part of that is a very real exhaustion with the realities of being a woman and an adult, especially after the #Girlboss era and post-COVID. As Isabel Cristo recently wrote in The Cut, “In 2023, the only way to have fun, it seemed, was by turning away from adult womanhood wholesale and toward a breezy, bright alternative.” The trend might have been easily commodified, but at least it was something we could all enjoy together.

Hardest Launch

a man and woman kissing

courtesy of Selena Gomez via Instagram

Selena Gomez and Benny Blanco

After proudly living the single life (and even dropping a song about it), Selena Gomez confirmed her relationship with producer Benny Blanco by commenting on a fan Instagram account, posting a ring photo, defending him in the comments, and then later sharing a PDA pic in a photo dump…on grid! If it’s not a love like this, then we don’t want it.

Best Real-Life Rom-Com

celebrity sightings in new york city october 15, 2023

Gotham//Getty Images

Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce

Flights to football games and concerts abroad, lyric changes, and viral kisses: Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce’s love story came out of nowhere after Kelce’s failed meet-cute. It then escalated into the most captivating romance of the year with movie-like outings and developments.

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Best Way to Silence a Crowd

beyonce renaissance world tour london

Kevin Mazur//Getty Images

Beyoncé’s Mute Challenge

“Look around everybody on mute” became shorthand for “shhh!” thanks to a trend Beyoncé started on the Renaissance World Tour. As she ventured from city to city, fans dutifully obeyed to an impressive degree, with some even shushing the unknowing audience members who cheered during the silences.

Best Crossover

a man and a woman

Warner Bros./Universal

Barbenheimer

It’s truly amazing that what started as a meme ended up becoming a full-on cultural event that would save cinemas. Barbie and Oppenheimer’s friendly competition at the box office evolved into a must-see double-feature that had moviegoers wearing multiple outfits to the theater. Will we ever see anything like it again? Hopefully.

Best Comeback After Almost 2,000 Years

consul titus manlius torquatus orders the beheading of his son

Heritage Images//Getty Images

The Roman Empire

Rome may have fallen in 476, but it lives on in the minds of men everywhere, apparently. A viral TikTok trend uncovered that guys across the internet think about the Roman empire with an eerie frequency, some as often as once a week.

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Most Convincing Confidence Boost

house of representatives votes on explusion of rep george santos

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Delusion

2023 was the year delulu became the solulu. We can finally normalize lying to yourself, ignoring social decorum, and believing anything is possible. But when it comes to execution, think more Tube Girl and less George Santos.

Best Pregnancy Reveal

apple music super bowl lvii halftime show

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Rihanna at the Super Bowl

Revealing you’re expecting your second child on a glass platform suspended over a football stadium? Only Rihanna could do it. Her subtle announcement was unintentional, but became instantly iconic with Rih decked out in an all-red jumpsuit. The proud mom ultimately welcomed her bundle of joy in August.

Most Stressful Episode of TV

the bear fishes episode

Chuck Hodes

The Bear Season 2, Episode 6, “Fishes”

Thoughts and prayers for anyone who had to cook with their families this holiday season after enduring the trauma of “Fishes.” From throwing forks across the dining room table to a car driving through the living room, this Berzatto Christmas makes all others look tame.

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Best Handbag Model

celebrity sightings in milan

Alessandro Levati//Getty Images

Jacob Elordi

From Fendi to Burberry and Bottega Veneta, Hollywood’s favorite heartthrob is seldom photographed without a designer handbag in tow. And we truly love to see it.

Best Dancer-Turned-Secret-Creative-Director

beyonce renaissance world tour london

Kevin Mazur//Getty Images

Blue Ivy Carter

The 11-year-old’s dance solos instantly became the highlight of Beyoncé’s tour, making us all feel like proud aunts and uncles as she took the stage (and got better with every performance). And as Bey’s concert film revealed, Blue had some influence behind the scenes too; we have her to thank for keeping “Diva” in the set list.

Most Surprising Couple

2023 us open day 14

Sarah Stier//Getty Images

Kylie Jenner and Timothée Chalamet

This was one of those pairings you couldn’t believe at first—until they made things official at a Beyoncé concert, that is (so you know it’s real). After relationship rumors dropped this spring, they’re still going strong; Jenner has even apparently gone to multiple Wonka screenings.

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Best Underdog Moment

95th annual academy awards press room

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Ke Huy Quan winning an Oscar

The Cinderella story that bubbled up throughout 2022 got its happy ending at the Academy Awards earlier this year. Ke Huy Quan was a child star who quit acting for decades, thinking his moment had passed for good. But when he returned to the screen in Everything Everywhere All at Once, he got nominated for the Best Supporting Actor Oscarand won. Re-watch his acceptance speech if you need a good cry.

Most Haunting Dance

The M3GAN Dance

A killer robotic doll body rolling and cartwheeling across the hallway? The stuff of nightmares. The release of this horror film at the very top of the year sent 2023 off to a chaotic start.

Most All-Consuming Celebrity Scandal

vanderpump rules season 10

Bravo//Getty Images

Scandoval

Even if you’re not a Bravo fan, by this point, you’ve likely heard about the Vanderpump Rules drama that sent shockwaves across the internet…and TV screens across the country.

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Best BFF Duo

2023 sxsw film festival portrait studio

Robby Klein//Getty Images

Rachel Sennott and Ayo Edebiri

This pair of rising stars have been friends since their days at NYU, and thanks to the summer comedy Bottoms, the world got to see their friendship on full display. We couldn’t be more obsessed.

Hardest Celeb Trend to Get Behind

2023 vanity fair oscar party hosted by radhika jones inside

Kevin Mazur/VF23//Getty Images

Breaking Up

Joe Jonas and Sophie Turner. Taylor Swift and Joe Alwyn. Sofía Vergara and Joe Manganiello. Jodie Turner-Smith and Joshua Jackson. Cardi B and Offset. Hugh Jackman and Deborra-Lee Furness. Ariana Grande and Dalton Gomez. Billy Porter and Adam Smith. Jeremy Allen White and Addison Timlin. Reese Witherspoon and Jim Toth. Meryl Streep even confirmed that she and her husband of 45 (!) years, Don Gummer, separated six years ago.

Celebrity breakups happen every year, but something about this year’s splits—many of them divorces—hit extra hard.

Best Lyric Change

taylor swift  the eras tour buenos aires, argentina

Marcelo Endelli/TAS23//Getty Images

“Karma Is the Guy on the Chiefs”

One of the best days on the internet this year came after Taylor Swift changed the lyrics to her single “Karma” during the Buenos Aires stop of her Eras Tour. Instead of singing, “Karma is the guy on the screen,” (a nod to her ex Joe Alwyn), she sang, “Karma is the guy on the Chiefs,” (a nod to her current boyfriend, Travis Kelce), all while a certain NFL player sat in the audience. She was then filmed running offstage straight into said football player’s arms and kissing him like she didn’t have thousands of fans watching. Honestly, bless these two. As the poet Mary Oliver said: “Joy is not made to be a crumb.”

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Best Unintentional TikTok Star

a man and woman posing for a picture

Francesca Scorsese / TikTok

Martin Scorsese

In the midst of the writers’ and actors’ strikes, the Killers of the Flower Moon director got a PR boost from his daughter Francesca and her TikTok account. His occasional cameos—guessing Gen Z slang, ranking films—became viral little treats that left fans clamoring for more. He may be an acclaimed filmmaker, but he just might have a shot at becoming a content creator if he wanted to. As Francesca said herself, “He low-key slayed.”

Best Wedding Inspo

Sofia Richie Grainge

Like her sister Nicole before her, Sofia Richie Grainge is a bona fide It-girl. And she cemented her status this year with one of the most obsessed-over weddings TikTok and Instagram have ever seen. Everything from the location in the south of France to her multiple Chanel looks throughout her wedding week were to die for. We’ll be under her style and beauty influence for a long time.

Headshot of Erica Gonzales

Erica Gonzales

Erica Gonzales is the Senior Culture Editor at ELLE.com, where she oversees coverage on TV, movies, music, books, and more. She was previously an editor at HarpersBAZAAR.com. There is a 75 percent chance she’s listening to Lorde right now. 

Headshot of Claire Stern

Claire Stern is the Digital Director of ELLE.com. Previously, she was Deputy Editor of ELLE.com. Her interests include fashion, food, travel, music, Peloton, and The Hills—not necessarily in that order. She used to have a Harriet the Spy notebook and isn’t ashamed to admit it.

Headshot of Madison Feller

Madison is the digital deputy editor at ELLE, where she also covers news, politics, and culture. If she’s not online, she’s probably napping or trying not to fall while rock climbing.

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