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Whatever happened to last year's breakout stars?
BANGKOK (AP) — Even in the temples of far off Asia, President Barack Obama cannot escape thoughts of that fiscal cliff back home.
Touring the Wat Pho Royal Monastery in Bangkok, a sprawling compound of temples, gardens and man-made waterfalls, Obama was overheard chatting with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and with their monk guide.
Clinton made a reference to budget negotiations back in Washington, where a damaging series of tax hikes and spending cuts loom.
“Yes,” Obama replied. “We’re working on this budget. We’re going to need a lot of prayer for that.”
Obama and Clinton, in stocking feet, were led by a monk in saffron robes as they walked around a golden statue of a sitting Buddha.
Clinton later remarked about how peaceful it was in the temple, an iconic cultural landmark popular with tourists. The tour’s high point is a giant statue of a reclining Buddha that extends for 46 meters (138 feet) and 15 meters high.
Obama observed that when there are 80,000 people visiting the temple, “it’s probably not as peaceful.”
Both visitors noted how lucky they were to get a private tour.
Obama and Clinton met with King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who turns 85 in December and has been staying at the hospital since 2009 because he is ill.
Obama entered the room with Clinton behind him. The king remained seated as Obama greeted him and grasped his hand. “It’s a great honor,” Obama said.
Obama said he brought greetings from the American people “who are so grateful for the friendship of our two countries and are great admirers of yours – your wisdom and your leadership.”
The king responded in a soft tone. Obama smiled and said, “Elections in the United States are very long, but it’s very gratifying to know people still have confidence in me. I thought it was very important that my first trip after the elections was to Thailand, which is such a great ally.”
During his visit, the king gave Obama a few gifts, including one for first lady Michelle Obama.
“She’ll look very good in that color, Mr. President,” Clinton said.
Obama then picked up a photo album, which he said contained photos of all the U.S. presidents and first ladies the king has met, starting with Dwight Eisenhower and continuing through George W Bush.
“We left the last page blank” so a photo of Obama’s visit could be added to the book, Obama said.
A framed lithograph was on an easel nearby depicting the Thai and U.S. flags. Obama said it was specially commissioned for the king, who is an art lover, “to symbolize friendship” between the two countries.
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.
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