'04's Wacky, Tacky Music Moments

VIDEO: Janet Jackson exposed Entertainer Janet Jackson, left, covers her breast after her outfit came undone during the halftime performance with Justin Timberlake at Super Bowl XXXVIII, Feb. 1, 2004.
Maybe 2004 seemed more scandalous than past years because we had double the ingredients: Two scandalous Jacksons! Two ditsy Simpsons! Two Britney weddings!!

Was it double the fun? Only if you delight in cringe-worthy moments. Here's the rundown of the wacky moments only the American music industry could provide:

A SIMPLE "NOT GUILTY" WOULD HAVE SUFFICED: As if the former King of Pop's legal troubles weren't surreal enough, Michael Jackson made it weirder — as you knew he would. After one courtroom appearance, he jumped on top of an SUV to wave to adoring fans, then proceeded to shimmy like it was an outdoor concert. Or maybe that's what his lawyers told him to get him to show up.

BAD CAREER MOVE OF THE YEAR: Though we could keep it in the Jackson family and give it to baby sis Janet for her Super Bowl mammary display, the winner is Ashlee Simpson's performance malfunction on "Saturday Night Live." She got lip-sunk when the music and her vocal track went their separate ways, revealing that she wasn't really singing. Given her vocal abilities, faking it probably would have been a smart move.

BREAST IN SHOW: Janet Jackson's striptease made her bare breast so famous, most Americans could pick it out of a lineup. But instead of boosting her upcoming album, she saw her A-list star power downgraded to B-minus. By midyear, she was doing "Will & Grace" to get publicity — and her album didn't even break platinum.

TIMBER-FAKE: If you're going to boldly expose a woman's breast on TV, be a man and stand by it! Instead, bodice-ripper Justin Timberlake — who initially laughed about it backstage to TV cameras — later professed to be shocked and embarrassed after the outrage threatened to keep him of the Grammy telecast. Once a Mouseketeer, always a Mouseketeer.

EVEN J.LO MARRIES JUST ONCE A YEAR: Britney Spears has had many "Oops!" moments — most of her albums, for example — but she topped herself with two tacky nuptials that even Star Jones Reynolds would have disavowed. The first, to childhood buddy Jason Alexander, after a late-night in Las Vegas, could maybe be excused to wild youth — especially since it only lasted 55 hours. But what's her excuse for the second, to backup dancer Kevin Federline, who left his babymama for her? Brit even bought her own engagement ring, though Federline will surely pay her back — once she gives him his allowance.

'TIL RATINGS DO US PART: Jessica Simpson and whats-his-name gave us yet another season of "Newlyweds" despite constant tabloid talk of marital strife ("Nick Cheating Scandal!" "Jessica Not Wearing Ring!"). But hey, even if they do part ways, there's always "The Exes" as a reality show option.

THE MOST FAMOUS NO-TALENT SINCE PARIS HILTON: William Hung was the joke that wouldn't end. Not only did his mangled version of "She Bangs!" make him the most famous "American Idol" reject since Frenchie, he parlayed his vocal handicap into a music video, concert appearances and even his own album. Somewhere, Justin Guarini is crying.

FEUD OF THE YEAR: You'd have thought Michael Jackson still had a career given the fit he pitched when Eminem mercilessly parodied him in the video for "Just Lose It." But it's hard to call this one a feud when Eminem wisely decided to let Jacko implode on his own. No, the award here goes to R. Kelly and Jay-Z, who already didn't like each other that much when their joint tour kicked off in the fall. They ended up in a bona fide hatefest after R. Kelly fled the stage for no good reason in New York City, then was allegedly maced in the face by one of Jay-Z's posse. Happy people, indeed.

BEST WAY TO SPEED UP AN AWARDS SHOW: There were more empty seats that A-list stars at the Vibe Awards — many bolted after someone punched Dr. Dre in the face and a chair-throwing melee ensued. Note to Grammy staff: Keep R. Kelly and Jay-Z a few rows apart in 2005.

  • David Hancock

    David Hancock is a home page editor for