Yahoo: 2013 was the year of Miley Cyrus

December 3, 2013

Yahoo’s list of the most popular searches of the year confirms: 2013 was the year of Miley.

Pop singer Miley Cyrus inspired several top searches this year, said Yahoo’s Vera Chan, a senior editor and Web trend analyst at the company. “Miley Cyrus” was Yahoo’s most-searched term overall, while searches for “twerking” and for the lyrics of Cyrus’s hit “Wrecking Ball” also made top-10 lists in other categories.

Chan said that this marked the first time Cyrus had been in the top 10 since 2010 but that this search arc is very familiar.

“She’s following our Britney Spears route,” Chan said, referring to Cyrus’s transition from teeny-bopper to adult star. “She’s taken a very savvy approach to the transition, and there are a lot of things that people were fascinated by. That made her the most-searched person and the most-searched term.”

Fascination with Cyrus unseated perennial chart-topper Kim Kardashian, who, as Chan pointed out, had a baby, a divorce and a marriage this year. Chan said that Kardashian also seems to be trending in a way that’s similar to another celebrity predecessor: Paris Hilton.

Celebrities aside, Chan said that news and politics searches were on the decline this year, following the heavily political searches of the 2012 election. But searches for the Affordable Care Act — using the search term “Obamacare” -- did crack the top 10 as the sixth-most-searched term of the year. Obamacare also came in second for most-searched news stories, trailing the Jodi Arias trial.

Other top searches in news: the Boston Marathon bombing, birth of the newest British prince, George Zimmerman trial, Syrian civil war, North Korean missile threats, papal transition, lawsuit against Paula Deen and the Aaron Hernandez shooting.

Searches for the government shutdown, Chan said, didn’t make the cut, but were “very close,” and likely would have made the list if the 16-day shutdown had gone on for much longer.

As for tech, Apples iPhone 5 dropped from second place to ninth in overall searches, but all models of the iPhone remained on top of Yahoo’s list of tech-related searches. Searches for Samsung products came in second, followed by “Siri,” “iPad cases” and the ephemeral photo service, Snapchat.

The video game Minecraft also generated a lot of searching in 2013, coming in fourth overall, gaining popularity that Chan said reminded her of the rise of the online multiplayer title Runescape.

Yahoo also released some “top” lists from its recently acquired blogging site, Tumblr. The White House’s Official Tumblr is first on the list of “New and Notable Blogs” for the year. But the most viral blog of 2013 is the charming “Reasons My Son is Crying,” a running list of parent-submitted reasons that their children are crying. One typical example: “The TV stopped showing parade balloons for one minute. Happy Thanksgiving?”

Yahoo’s Top Searches overall in 2013:

1. Miley Cyrus

2. Kim Kardashian

3. Kate Upton

4. Minecraft

5. Selena Gomez

6. Obamacare (affordable care act)

7. Amanda Bynes

8. Jodi Arias

9. iPhone 5

10. Justin Bieber

Related stories:

What we searched for in 2013

Barbara Walters announces her final, and unsurprising, ‘10 Most Fascinating’ list

Follow The Washington Post’s new tech blog, The Switch, where technology and policy connect.

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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