Beyonce's 17 Biggest Moments of 2016: Grammy Noms, the Super Bowl, and a Little Album Called 'Lemonade'
By John Boone
Think 2016 was a dumpster fire of awfulness? Imagine how terrible it could have been if we didn't have Beyoncé. All things considered, it wasn't too shabby a year for Miss Carter, as she is closing it out with nine GRAMMY nominations, including Album of the Year for Lemonade. As for the rest of her best moments, it's nearly impossible to wean down every single thing she did, but here are 17 of her biggest, best, most Beyoncé moments of the past 365 days, give or take.
After she stopped the world with the surprise release of her self-titled album in 2013 -- eternally earning the practice the nomenclature, "pulling a Beyoncé" -- is it any surprise that Beyoncé pulled a Beyoncé to drop her new single, innocuously uploading "Formation" and the accompanying music video online with zero fanfare?
2. And the Best Red Lobster Endorsement Ever
"When he f**k me good, I take his ass to Red Lobster," Yonce muses in what time will surely tell was the greatest lyric of the year. It also proved a business boom for the seafood chain, with sales up a reported 33 percent the weekend after the single dropped. Hopefully "Formation" inspired more than a Cheddar Bay Biscuits binge, though, and fans actually got that good good, too.
While we usually prefer our Beyoncé concerts without a football game in the middle, Queen B returned to the Super Bowl stage this year -- after headlining the halftime show in 2013 -- as a "surprise" "guest" during "Coldplay's" "performance." Let's keep it 100, all the flower power in the world couldn't take the attention away from Bey, who performed "Formation" for the first time and partook in a dance-off with Bruno Mars.
We knew "Formation" wouldn't be Bey's only surprise this year, we just didn't know what else she had in store or when. Then she gave us Lemonade, her second visual album. And it was perfect. Basically, what Adele said: "Beyoncé is the most inspiring person I've ever had the pleasure of worshipping."
5. And the Becky With the Good Hair of It All
Lemonade seemed to air out the dirty laundry in Beyoncé's marriage to Jay Z, and one line on one track in particular, "Sorry," started a witch hunt for "Becky with the good hair." Who could this other woman that has better hair than out queen be?, the Internet demanded to know. Designer Rachel Roy became public enemy No. 1 when she posted an Instagram captioned, "Good hair don't care," but later claimed it was "misunderstood." Afterward, America's Next Top Model host Rita Ora refuted claims that she was Becky and said she had "nothing but the [utmost] respect" for Miss Carter.
6. And How Beyoncé Literally Gave No F**ks About Any Controversy
Drama? Don't know that…Never experienced that. As the world dovetailed into madness with everyone freaking out over whether or not Jay ever cheated on Bey, she paid the gossip no mind and dedicated a performance of "Halo" to her "beautiful husband" at the first stop of her Formation World Tour. As for controversy over Beyoncé's politics and a call to boycott her, well, she slapped "Boycott Beyoncé" on a T-shirt and started selling them at her show.
Following a premiere on HBO, Lemonade's visual component earned four Emmy nominations, including an Outstanding Directing for a Variety Special nod for Beyoncé herself. Had she won, she'd only need an Oscar and a Tony to officially EGOT. She didn't and the entire thing was rigged and who wants an Emmy anyway?! Still, it's an honor just to be nominated.
8. Slaying on the Red Carpet at the Met Gala
Beyoncé chose the Met Gala as the first red carpet she would kill post-Lemonade. The evening's theme was "Manus x Machina" and she interpreted that as a skin-tight, floral and beaded latex Givenchy gown. RIP Met Gala red carpet.
9. Slaying on the Red Carpet With Blue Ivy at the VMAs
Beyoncé may have performed for a full 15 minutes during this year's Video Music Awards -- that's 1/8 of the entire show -- and won eight Moon Men, but they could have canceled the whole show after Yonce, wearing a feathered frock, and Blue, in tulle and Timbs, walked the red carpet. RIP VMAs red carpet.
10. And Having All That Slayage Honored at the CFDAs
As a sort of In Memoriam to those dearly departed red carpets -- see: No. 8 and 9 -- it seemed fitting that Diane von Furstenberg and the Council of Fashion Designers of America bestowed their Fashion Icon Award upon Beyoncé. Fitting and right, and the CFDAs can be dismantled now. There will be no need to award any other icons.
11. Her BET Performance With Kendrick Lamar
Despite being on a world tour, Beyoncé made a number of pit stops at award shows along the way: The aforementioned VMAs, for one, as well as the BET Awards, where she delivered a surprise performance of "Freedom." To top even herself, she brought along Kendrick Lamar, who features on the track. It was the first performance of the night and, by our account, the only one, because we do not remember any after her.
12. Her CMA Performance With the Dixie Chicks
Beyoncé's twangy Lemonade track, "Daddy Lessons," sparked some debate within the country music community, with some claiming it wasn't country enough. (Hm. Wonder why else they might have a problem with Beyoncé.) Anyway, Blake Shelton advised her to "tell them to kiss her ass," and she did just that when she turned up for a surprise performance of the song at the Country Music Awards with fellow country music outlaws, the Dixie Chicks.
I'd love to hear your argument as to why Beyoncé isn't the hardest working performer in the business, when she has put her sweat and tears into her live shows, and now her blood too. While singing "Haunted" during the Tidal showcase in Brooklyn, her earing ripped from her ear, but Bey simply wiped it away and kept going. We will now use our sole "yas kween, yaaaaaas" allotted for this post.
14. Her Get-Out-The-Vote Performance With Hillary Clinton
Mere days before the election, Hillary pulled out a secret weapon she had been keeping in her arsenal: Queen B, who turned out for a concert in Cleveland, Ohio, declaring that she was #WithHer and opting to ditch her signature leotard for a pantsuit. The election may not have gone her way, but which other candidate can claim they have Beyoncé on speed dial?
15. Literally the Entire Formation Tour, But Especially When Beyoncé Helped One of Her Dancers Get Engaged
Any Beyoncé fan worth their membership in the Hive knows Ashley Everett, Bey's dance captain. Which is why it was such a big deal when Beyoncé paused her concert during "Single Ladies" and Ashley's man, dancer John Silver, came onstage to pop the question. "It was incredible and the most amazing moment of my life," Ashley recalled to ET.
As prophesized on "Yonce," when she sang, "I sneezed on the beat and the beat got sicker," and made viral during a NYC stop on the Formation World Tour, when Beyoncé sneezed and 45,000 concertgoers yelled, "Bless you!"
We've become accustomed to Beyoncé sporadically dumping shots from one impromptu photoshoot or another on her site, so at first glance these photographs of Bey and Blue enjoying a day at the park were more of the same. Except, did Beyoncé get a dog? Whose dog is Blue walking?! The year is coming to an end and we still do not have an answer to 2016's most burning question: WHOSE DOG IS THAT??