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In 2016, politics dominated our pop culture _ and vice versa

Associated Press logo Associated Press 12/13/2016 By JOCELYN NOVECK, AP National Writer
FILE - In this Feb. 4, 2007, file photo, Prince performs during the halftime show at the Super Bowl XLI NFL football game at Dolphin Stadium in Miami. Prince died at his home in Chanhassen, Minn. on April 21, 2016 at the age of 57. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara, File) © The Associated Press FILE - In this Feb. 4, 2007, file photo, Prince performs during the halftime show at the Super Bowl XLI NFL football game at Dolphin Stadium in Miami. Prince died at his home in Chanhassen, Minn. on April 21, 2016 at the age of 57. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara, File)

Our politics is often reflected in our popular culture, and vice versa — especially in an election year. That relationship seemed closer than ever in 2016, when a TV personality was elected president, reality shows and beauty contests were referenced in presidential debates, and even a Broadway show ignited partisan sparring.

FILE - This 1966 file photo shows world heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali. Ali, the magnificent heavyweight champion whose fast fists and irrepressible personality transcended sports and captivated the world, died June 3, 2016 after a three-decade battle with Parkinson's disease. He was 74. (AP Photo, File) © The Associated Press FILE - This 1966 file photo shows world heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali. Ali, the magnificent heavyweight champion whose fast fists and irrepressible personality transcended sports and captivated the world, died June 3, 2016 after a three-decade battle with Parkinson's disease. He was 74. (AP Photo, File)

At times, it seemed like the election overshadowed everything, but of course there was more. The diversity issue again roiled Hollywood. The old-style musical made a glamorous comeback. One of Hollywood's most scrutinized couples called it quits. And we said a series of painful goodbyes: to legendary rock stars, cinema and TV greats, and The Greatest himself. Our annual, highly selective journey down pop culture memory lane:

FILE - This July 28, 2016 file photo shows singer Katy Perry performing during the final day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. Perry was one of many celebrities to attend the DNC supporting Hillary Clinton. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File) © The Associated Press FILE - This July 28, 2016 file photo shows singer Katy Perry performing during the final day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. Perry was one of many celebrities to attend the DNC supporting Hillary Clinton. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

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FILE - In this Aug. 14, 2016 file photo, United States' Michael Phelps displays his gold medal for the men's 4 x 100-meter medley relay final during the swimming competitions at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Phelps is the most decorated Olympian of all time. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn, File) © The Associated Press FILE - In this Aug. 14, 2016 file photo, United States' Michael Phelps displays his gold medal for the men's 4 x 100-meter medley relay final during the swimming competitions at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Phelps is the most decorated Olympian of all time. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn, File)

JANUARY:

In this Oct. 1, 2016 photo released by NBC, Kate McKinnon portrays Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton during a sketch on "Saturday Night Live," in New York. McKinnon was one of nine actresses who has portrayed Clinton on the popular late night comedy series. (Will Heath/NBC via AP) © The Associated Press In this Oct. 1, 2016 photo released by NBC, Kate McKinnon portrays Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton during a sketch on "Saturday Night Live," in New York. McKinnon was one of nine actresses who has portrayed Clinton on the popular late night comedy series. (Will Heath/NBC via AP)

Ground Control to Major Tom: We shall miss you. The death of DAVID BOWIE casts a pall over the pop culture scene as the year begins. The elegant rock star succumbs to cancer — an illness he fought in secret — just a few days after his 69th birthday and the release of his final music video, "Lazarus," which begins with the line: "Look up here, I'm in heaven."

FILE - This June 12, 2016 file photo shows Lin-Manuel Miranda and the cast of "Hamilton" performing at the Tony Awards at the Beacon Theatre in New York. In April, "Hamilton" won the Pulitzer for drama and current Treasury Secretary Jack Lew reversed a plan to bump Hamilton from the $10 after fans kick up a fuss. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File) © The Associated Press FILE - This June 12, 2016 file photo shows Lin-Manuel Miranda and the cast of "Hamilton" performing at the Tony Awards at the Beacon Theatre in New York. In April, "Hamilton" won the Pulitzer for drama and current Treasury Secretary Jack Lew reversed a plan to bump Hamilton from the $10 after fans kick up a fuss. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)

FEBRUARY:

FILE - In this March 25, 2016 file photo, the Rolling Stones' Mick Jagger performs a free concert in Havana, Cuba. "Havana, Cuba, and the Rolling Stones!" Jagger cried. "This is amazing! It's really good to be here! It's good to see you guys!" (AP Photo/Enric Marti, File) © The Associated Press FILE - In this March 25, 2016 file photo, the Rolling Stones' Mick Jagger performs a free concert in Havana, Cuba. "Havana, Cuba, and the Rolling Stones!" Jagger cried. "This is amazing! It's really good to be here! It's good to see you guys!" (AP Photo/Enric Marti, File)

A year after #OscarsSoWhite in 2015, the Oscars are ... #SoWhiteAgain! For the second year, all 20 nominated actors are white. The lack of diversity leads to some sweeping membership changes at the Academy. Meanwhile, the Super Bowl halftime show is allegedly headlined by Coldplay. But it's BEYONCE who rules with a commanding performance of her new song, "Formation," proving that Queen Bey is still very much among our royalty.

FILE - In this Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016, file photo, Beyonce performs during halftime of the NFL Super Bowl 50 football game in Santa Clara, Calif. The halftime show is allegedly headlined by Coldplay, but it's BEYONCE who rules with a commanding performance of her new song, "Formation" proving that Queen Bey is still very much among our royalty. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum, File) © The Associated Press FILE - In this Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016, file photo, Beyonce performs during halftime of the NFL Super Bowl 50 football game in Santa Clara, Calif. The halftime show is allegedly headlined by Coldplay, but it's BEYONCE who rules with a commanding performance of her new song, "Formation" proving that Queen Bey is still very much among our royalty. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum, File)

MARCH:

FILE - In this Dec. 15, 2003 file photo, singer/songwriter David Bowie launches his United States leg of his worldwide tour called "A Reality Tour," at Madison Square Garden in New York. Bowie, the innovative and iconic singer whose illustrious career lasted five decades, died Jan. 10, 2016, after battling cancer for 18 months. He was 69. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens, File) © The Associated Press FILE - In this Dec. 15, 2003 file photo, singer/songwriter David Bowie launches his United States leg of his worldwide tour called "A Reality Tour," at Madison Square Garden in New York. Bowie, the innovative and iconic singer whose illustrious career lasted five decades, died Jan. 10, 2016, after battling cancer for 18 months. He was 69. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens, File)

The ROLLING STONES perform in Cuba, a once-unthinkable event that happens a week after President Obama visits the island nation. Speaking of Obama, he hosts a White House concert performance of "HAMILTON," part of a remarkable 2016 for LIN-MANUEL MIRANDA and his rap-infused Broadway musical about founding father Alexander Hamilton. We say goodbye to GARRY SHANDLING.

This image released by Lionsgate shows Ryan Gosling, right, and Emma Stone in a scene from, "La La Land." Movie audiences are introduced to the candy-colored, old-fashioned musical ode to Tinseltown, by young director Damien Chazelle. (Dale Robinette/Lionsgate via AP) © The Associated Press This image released by Lionsgate shows Ryan Gosling, right, and Emma Stone in a scene from, "La La Land." Movie audiences are introduced to the candy-colored, old-fashioned musical ode to Tinseltown, by young director Damien Chazelle. (Dale Robinette/Lionsgate via AP)

APRIL:

HAMILTON wins the Pulitzer for drama (to add to a Grammy and, soon, 11 Tonys), and current Treasury Secretary Jack Lew reverses a plan to bump Hamilton from the $10 bill after fans kick up a fuss — undoubtedly the first time a Broadway show influences currency policy. And April showers bring Purple Rain: Rock legend PRINCE dies a shocking death at 57 of an accidental opioid overdose, launching countless poignant tributes.

MAY:

"It's not over 'til I say it's over," says BERNIE SANDERS to HILLARY CLINTON, of the fight for the Democratic nomination. Actually, that's LARRY DAVID talking to KATE MCKINNON on "Saturday Night Live." As MCKINNON hones her acclaimed, manically ambitious portrayal of Clinton — one of nine actresses to portray her in SNL history — DONALD TRUMP (in real life) clinches the Republican nomination. We'll have to wait a few months to see who plays him on SNL....

JUNE:

The greatest is gone: MUHAMMAD ALI dies at 74 after a three-decade battle with Parkinson's disease. It's CLINTON's turn to clinch her party's nomination, becoming the first woman in U.S. history to lead a major party ticket. At the Tony awards, host JAMES CORDEN opens with a tribute to the Orlando nightclub shooting victims, and MIRANDA does the same with a tearful sonnet, declaring that "love is love is love is love."

JULY:

Hollywood always turns out for Democrats, and the Democratic National Convention is no exception. Performers include KATY PERRY, ALICIA KEYS, CAROLE KING, DEMI LOVATO, BOYZ II MEN and PAUL SIMON, among many others. In media news, ROGER AILES is out at Fox News Channel, following allegations of sexual harassment. And the retired JON STEWART — missed by many fans in an election year — returns to late night, bearded and in a bathrobe, for an appearance with STEPHEN COLBERT.

AUGUST:

SCOTT BAIO is the biggest celebrity at the Republican National Convention. And some sports news: In Rio, MICHAEL PHELPS ends his historic Olympic career (or so he says) with a mind-boggling 23rd career gold. But the U.S. swim team's achievements are overshadowed by RYAN LOCHTE's drunken night and evolving explanation. Goodbye, Willy Wonka and Leo Bloom: Actor GENE WILDER — whose name could easily describe his famous eyes and untamed hair — dies at 83 of complications of Alzheimer's.

SEPTEMBER:

The first CLINTON-TRUMP debate draws 84 million viewers, the most ever for a U.S. presidential matchup, and yields at least one catchy meme: The "Hillary Shimmy." Clinton tries her hand at comedy with ZACH GALIFIANAKIS on "Between Two Ferns." JIMMY FALLON famously musses TRUMP's hair, and is criticized for the friendly encounter. Bye Bye, BRANGELINA: One of the most high-profile couplings in Hollywood is over.

OCTOBER:

Hello, NASTY WOMAN: Trump's frustrated comment about Clinton in their third, extremely contentious debate becomes one of the more famous exchanges of the season, launching "nasty woman" merchandise like the "Madam President If You're Nasty" T-shirt. We meet ALEC BALDWIN'S Trump on SNL. TRUMP — the real one — tweets: "Alec Baldwin portrayal stinks." And the candidate's "grab 'em" comments on "Access Hollywood" emerge, sending his campaign into damage control.

NOVEMBER:

Something happens in early November ... what was it again? Meantime, let's remember singer LEONARD COHEN, dead at 82. Many find themselves singing "Hallelujah," his much-covered ballad — including a somber MCKINNON on "SNL," a few days after the election. BALDWIN reprises Trump, the real TRUMP settles into meetings at Trump Tower, and his vice president-elect, MIKE PENCE, goes to HAMILTON, where the production appeals to him directly from the stage to work on behalf of all Americans. Pence says he doesn't mind, but Trump tweets: "Apologize!"

DECEMBER:

It's been quite a year for the musical, and not just on Broadway. "Hairspray Live!" continues the live TV musical fad. And movie audiences are enchanted by a candy-colored, old-fashioned musical ode to Tinseltown itself, "La La Land," by young director DAMIEN CHAZELLE. Finally, for those craving a little consistency in this turbulent year, it's perhaps nice to know that December arrives bearing the same Christmas gift as it did last year: A new "STAR WARS" movie.

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