And we have a winner.
From year to year, week to week, round to round, and even battle to battle, people change their criteria for whose fug should reign supreme — and that’s one thing I love about this little contest. For the most part, it’s totally and completely situational, just like basketball itself: Everyone brings different styles to the floor, and it can tilt a certain way logically, but what happens once the ball is tipped is anyone’s guess. It just depends on how one team stacks up that day against the other. So, some people voted for what they call “joyful fug.” Some voted for tacky. Some strove to stamp out what they deemed too imitative or attention-seeking, while others found that to be the exact criteria for advancing. It’s interesting to me every year what wins out, who loses early, and what the resonant themes are. This year, “smuggery” had a real run, in the case of Jared Leto and Beyonce’s much-debated defeat of Lena Dunham.
But smuggery can only carry you so far. This year’s winner embodied joy and fun for some, and tacky try-hardness for others, and imitative sadness for yet more. To me, that’s a successful Fug Madness run in a nutshell: when you can evoke every single emotion with the same set of clothes. And so it’s with great excitement that we ask Kim Kardashian to dig the crown out of North West’s costume room and spit-shine it before handing it off to our winner:
Congratulations, Keke Palmer. The minute you put on the DiCaprichaps, I suspect, is the minute you sealed this deal. To revisit her greatest hits, or worst hits, or greatest (s)hits if you like — including more stuff we dug out of her Instagram — here you go. Treat yourself as we say thank you for her contributions. The Kardshians can take some comfort in the winner this year being brought to you in some form by the letter K.
And of course, the time has come for the Fug Madness montage “One Fugging Moment,” set to an old version of the NCAA Tournament’s closing anthem. Our in-house editor said stirringly of his work, “I don’t know who any of these people are.”
Here is the direct link, in case the embed doesn’t work. Also, I stumbled on the 2012 montage, and y’all, it’s SO GOOD. The Thomas Jane’s bird feet! Robyn! No Kards in late rounds! Lohan! That time Lady Gaga pretended to be a dude named Jo! Please revisit it — it’s like saying hi to an old friend. You can actually view all the old ones on our YouTube page (except 2008, for some reason), and they are GREAT time capsules. Thank you, Kevin.
And thank YOU, Fug Nation, for making it another fun one, as we roll ahead to the tenth anniversary of Fug Madness next year. Come on, Hollywood young and old, cook up something extravagantly fugly, will you? For us? Please? Much obliged.