Whatever happened to last year's breakout stars?
JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — From his old school in Indonesia to a Japanese beach town that happens to share his name, people around the world cheered President Barack Obama’s re-election Wednesday.
The results of Tuesday’s election were closely watched in many countries. Several U.S. embassies held mock elections and threw parties as returns came in.
At Jakarta’s Menteng 01 Elementary School, which Obama once attended, students happily marched with a poster of the president from one classroom to another after hearing that he had defeated Republican Mitt Romney to win a second term. “Obama wins … Obama wins again,” they shouted.
A statue of a young “Barry” Obama, as he was called as a child, stands outside the school.
“I want to be like him, the president,” student Alexander Ananta said.
The news also thrilled Obama’s former nanny in Indonesia, Evie, who became well known this year following reports of her struggles living in the conservative country as a transgender.
“Hopefully, he will contribute to the betterment of not only American citizens, but to the world as well,” said Evie, who like many Indonesians uses only one name.
China’s Foreign Ministry said President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiaobao phoned Obama to congratulate him. Vice President Xi Jinping, who is to begin taking over this week in China’s once-a-decade leadership transition, phoned Vice President Joe Biden to congratulate him.
British Prime Minister David Cameron posted his regards on Twitter: “Warm congratulations to my friend (at)BarackObama. Look forward to continuing to work together.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has had a strained relationship with the American president over his policies on Iran and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, congratulated the president in a text message to reporters. “I will continue to work with President Obama to preserve the strategic interests of Israel’s citizens,” he said.
The Western-backed Palestinian Authority has been disappointed that Obama did not pressure Israel to make greater efforts to make peace with the Palestinians, including a freeze on all settlement construction. In the absence of negotiations, senior Palestinian official Saeb Erekat urged the U.S. president to reverse course and support Palestinian efforts to seek U.N. General Assembly recognition of an independent state of Palestine.
“We have decided to take our cause to the United Nations this month, and we hope that Obama will stand by us,” Erekat told Wafa, the official Palestinian news agency.
In China, Obama’s re-election was good news for people concerned about Romney’s vow to label China a currency manipulator if elected. Some feared that would ignite a trade war between the world’s two biggest economies.
“His re-election is in line with what the Chinese people want,” said Hong Zihan, a graduate student who monitored the results at a U.S. Embassy event in Beijing.
For Obama, Japan, the president’s re-election means more opportunity to capitalize on their shared name. Obama means “little beach” in Japanese.
The western coastal town threw a party as they watched the election returns. Hula dancers known as the Obama Girls swayed in homage of the president’s home state of Hawaii, said Obama city hall official Hirokazu Yomo.
“Four more years,” Yomo said. “So we are happy this will continue and help with building our city.”
In Myanmar, which is pushing political reforms forward after five decades of military rule kept it isolated from much of the rest of the world, some said they were relieved Obama was re-elected because he chosen to engage rather than sanction their country.
“It is good that President Obama is re-elected. President Obama is very flexible and international relations have improved during his term,” said Thit Oo, a 42-year-old car mechanic.
Washington has started focusing more on Asia since Obama took office. Some Asian countries, including the Philippines and Vietnam, have been looking more toward the U.S. as tensions flare with China over disputed territories in the South China Sea.
“In Asia, he needs to fine tune the building of alliances without overtly appearing anti-China,” Ramon Casiple, a political analyst in the Philippines, said of Obama. “At the same time, he needs to encourage countries with border disputes with China that he’s on their side.”
A spokesman for the main Syrian opposition bloc, the Syrian National Council, expressed hope that the election victory would free Obama to do more to support those trying to oust Syrian President Bashar Assad.
“We hope this victory for President Obama will make him free more to make the right decision to help freedom and dignity in Syria and all over the world,” SNC spokesman George Sabra said on the sidelines of an opposition conference on the Qatari capital of Doha.
Sabra renewed the opposition’s appeal to the international community to supply rebel fighters with weapons.
The Obama administration and its Western allies have ruled out military intervention in Syria. The U.S. has also been cool to opposition rebels’ demands for weapons such as anti-aircraft missiles, out of concern that they could fall into the wrong hands. The U.S. and other foreign backers of the Syrian uprising have urged the fractured, largely exile-based opposition to unite and include more representatives from inside Syria.
Associated Press writers Jim Gomez in Manila, Philippines, Didi Tang in Beijing, Yuri Kageyama in Tokyo, Amy Teibel in Jerusalem, Karin Laub in Doha, Qatar, and Aye Aye Win in Yangon, Myanmar, contributed to this report.
The star of “Beasts of the Southern Wild” charmed practically everyone at the Oscars, where she was the youngest best actress nominee ever; she went on to film a remake of “Annie” opposite Jamie Foxx and Cameron Diaz.
Carly Rae Jepsen
Jepsen, who had 2012’s song of the summer with “Call Me Maybe,” released the fifth and final single from her debut album in January 2013. She toured the U.S. in mid-2013 -- just as Daft Punk and Robin Thicke battled to succeed her as icons of the summer.
Honey Boo Boo
2012’s biggest reality star, the young pageant contestant Alana Thompson, had a quieter time this year, with a second season whose ratings were strong but whose buzz was a bit muted. America was, by now, accustomed to young Thompson, and outraged or scandalized reactions were reserved for other TLC programming, like “The Man With the 132-Pound Scrotum.”
Ocean missed out on the top Grammys for which he was nominated in early 2013; he bounced back quickly with featured appearances on albums by Kanye West, Jay Z and Beyoncé, and is at work on a new album. Things are looking up!
The “21 Jump Street” and “Magic Mike” star had a marginally less charmed 2013, with “White House Down” failing to connect with moviegoers and “Foxcatcher” delayed until next year. It may get worse before it gets better: His big 2014 sci-fi flick, “Jupiter Ascending,” looks … well, a little weird!
With their third album in 21 months hitting No. 1 immediately upon its fall 2013 release, the boy band that broke into America in 2012 would seem to be here to stay for a while. Still, they looked a bit nervous in their reaction shots during the Video Music Awards’ ‘N Sync reunion; maybe not this year, maybe not next, but eventually, the Justin of One Direction is going to break out. For now, though, things look good!
Lana Del Rey
The famously uncomfortable “Saturday Night Live” musical guest overcame endless mockery from 2012 to land her first top-10 hit in the summer of 2013 -- a remix of a year-old song, “Summertime Sadness.” As the co-writer of “Young and Beautiful,” the love theme from “The Great Gatsby,” Del Rey is such a front-runner for the best original song Oscar (last won by Adele) that there has been a direct-mail campaign to academy voters against her. The song was also played at the most romantic event of the year: Kanye West’s stadium marriage proposal to Kim Kardashian.
Wilson, who charmed fans of 2012’s “Pitch Perfect,” had a rockier 2013, with her sitcom “Super Fun Night” struggling creatively and in the ratings. Her next planned movies are both sequels, to “Kung Fu Panda” and -- hoping lightning will strike twice -- to “Pitch Perfect.”
Another 2012 music icon, Gotye won the record of the year trophy at the 2013 Grammys for “Somebody That I Used to Know.” He released no new singles in 2013, and has told the press he has been struggling to complete new material. Good luck, Gotye!
The golden boy of the 2012 Olympics, without feats of aquatic derring-do to distract the public this year, saw his always-tenuous persona completely shift from “amiable jock” into “utter dolt” with his E! reality series. Worst of all, the series was canceled.
In 2012, the young actress -- best known for her role in the indie “Winter’s Bone” and a supporting part in the “X-Men” franchise -- had marquee roles in the first “Hunger Games” film and in David O. Russell’s comedy “Silver Linings Playbook.” In 2013, she played to her strengths: After winning an Oscar, she starred in the second “Hunger Games” movie, on whose publicity tour she managed to charm everyone in America, and had another role in a David O. Russell comedy, “American Hustle,” for which she might just win ANOTHER Oscar. By 2014, she may end up running a major studio, or serving as president.
The breakout bikini model of 2012 made a repeat appearance on the cover of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue -- and got to do high-fashion spreads in Elle, Vogue and Vanity Fair. She was cast in a Cameron Diaz comedy, too. Some types of appeal are eternal!
E. L. James
The “50 Shades” novelist now gets to help share some input into a movie adaptation set for release in 2015. She probably never needs to work again! Isn’t that great? Isn’t that … just … great?
The “Gangnam Style” phenom performed at New Year’s 2013, but will spend New Year’s 2014 flipping channels to find his pistachio ad, his goofy antics having been outdone in the past year by “The Fox” singers Ylvis. Nothing meme can stay.