In 132 ballots submitted by members and subscribers of the AP, Adele easily outpaced other vote-getters such as Taylor Swift, Fifty Shades of Grey author E.L. James, the South Korean viral video star PSY, and the cast of Twilight. Editors and broadcasters were asked to cast their ballot for the person who had the most influence on entertainment and culture in 2012.
Adele’s year began in triumph at the Grammys, took a turn through recording the theme to the 007 film Skyfall, and ended with the birth of her son in October. The ubiquitous Adele was that rare thing in pop culture: an unqualified sensation, a megastar in a universe of niche hits.
Her sophomore album, “21,” has passed 10 million copies sold in the United States, only the 21st album in the Nielsen SoundScan era (begun in 1991) to achieve diamond status. Buoyed by hits like “Someone Like You” and “Rolling in the Deep” long after its release in early 2011, “21” was also the top-selling album on iTunes for the second year running.
As David Panian, news editor for Michigan's Daily Telegram, put it: “It just seemed like you couldn’t turn on the radio without hearing one of her songs.”
Women have had a lock on the annual Entertainer of the Year selection. Previous winners include Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift, Betty White, and Tina Fey. Stephen Colbert is the lone male winner in the six-year history of voting.
The Grammy Awards in February were essentially the de-facto crowning of the 24-year-old Adele, whose full name is Adele Adkins, as a pop queen. She won six awards, including album of the year. It was also a comeback of sorts for Adele, who performed for the first time since having vocal cord surgery, drawing a standing ovation from the Staples Center crowd.
“This record is inspired by something that is really normal and everyone’s been through it: just a rubbish relationship,” said Adele.
But her luck in love has since turned, thanks to her boyfriend Simon Konecki. Adele told Vogue magazine she was through with break-up records and done being “a bitter witch.” When Adele announced in June that she was having a baby with Konecki, her Web site promptly crashed under the heavy traffic. Their son was born in October.
With such an avalanche of success and now a mother of a newborn son, Adele has taken a step out of the spotlight. One notable exception was recording the opening credits theme song to Skyfall. The song was recorded with her “21” producer Paul Epworth at the Abbey Road Studios in London with a 77-piece orchestra. Within hours, it zoomed to the top of digital charts. The song recently received a Golden Globe nomination.