See the rest of TIME’s Top 10 of Everything 2013 lists here
10. Banksy in New York
For an entire month, shadowy graffiti artist Banksy – who stealthily paints with stencils in public spaces, often in the middle of the night – cornered any sort of appetite for mainstream interest in art. From setting up an unmarked stall along Central Park to sell his paintings (which only garnered $420) to designing a truck full of screaming animal puppets as if heading to a slaughterhouse, Banksy made news every day in his month-long street art “residency.” Those crafty New Yorkers who tried to make a buck off of it, going so far as to charge tourists for the right to photograph one of his many public works along buildings in Manhattan and Brooklyn, got way too much attention as well.
9. Jodi Arias Trial
In one of the most sensationalized crime stories in years, Jodi Arias was convicted of first-degree murder in the death of her ex-boyfriend Travis Alexander, who was found with multiple stab wounds and a gunshot to the head in Mesa, Ariz., back in 2008. Arias, 33, confessed to the murder but said it was in self-defense. Due to the gruesomeness of the crime and the sordid details of Arias’s relationship with Alexander, the case soon became a go-to story for the Nancy Graces of cable news.
8. Paula Deen Scandal
Before this summer, Paula Deen’s biggest misdeed appeared to be cooking with too much butter. But when Deen was hit with a lawsuit for racial discrimination at one of her Savannah, Georgia, restaurants, Deen soon slid into a media circus that only got crazier by the day. After admitting to having used racial slurs in the past, Food Network, Walmart, Target, QVC and Home Depot all cut dies with Deen. The southern chef tried to repair the damage by apologizing in odd online videos while also appearing on The Today Show to film a sob-filled interview. But after all that, the lawsuit that started it all was actually dismissed in August. She’s yet to make it back on TV, but the scandal actually boosted sales of Deen’s cookbooks.
7. Anthony Weiner’s Candidacy for New York City Mayor
Anthony Weiner’s quest to become New York’s next mayor started off relatively smoothly. His image rehab seemingly complete, the sexting allegations from Weiner’s time as a New York congressman seemed behind him, his wife was firmly at his side and he was leading early polls. But that didn’t last long. Soon, his candidacy became a full-scale carnival as people learned about his Carlos Danger alias, his sexting partner Sydney Leathers and the fact that Weiner had sexted other women since his ignominious resignation from Congress in 2011. As Weiner refused to drop out of the race, his campaign only got weirder. He got into a verbal argument with a man who called him a scumbag at a Jewish bakery, and then came the culmination of his failed bid when fellow sexter Leathers tried to drop by his campaign party on primary night. The party had little to celebrate, as Weiner finished fifth with 4.9% of the vote.
6. The Closing of the World War II Memorial
For more than two weeks, the shutdown of the federal government wreaked havoc on a number of vital agencies and programs. Hundreds of thousands of government employees were furloughed, numerous programs for low-income families were halted and scientific research funded by the government was axed. But one story seemed to rise above them all: the closing of the World War II Memorial, which became a symbol for the shutdown once WWII vets stormed the cordoned-off area and Tea Party Republicans used the controversy to score political points. Many veterans wanted to highlight what they believed to be excessive cuts to the military, but the closure of the memorial itself – along with the rest of the country’s national parks – often became the story.
5. Red Sox Beards
As the Boston Red Sox miraculously turned around a franchise that just a year before had endured its worst season since 1965 and began cruising through the playoffs to an eventual World Series championship, all people wanted to talk about was their facial hair. When outfielder Jonny Gomes showed up at spring training shaggy, he unintentionally spurred beards throughout the Red Sox lineup. By the time the playoffs came around, the team was sporting facial hair in all shapes and sizes and getting so much attention for it that it was easy to forget that the team was putting together one of its best seasons in history.
4. Wendy Davis’s Shoes
Never mind that for 11 hours Texas State Senator Wendy Davis filibustered a controversial bill that she and other critics insisted would close all but five of the state’s abortion clinics. Instead, Look at her shoes! Just look at those things! They’re pink and stylish and, seriously, they look really comfortable. Davis’s Mizuno Wave Rider shoes practically made as much news as her filibuster, which only temporarily stalled House Bill 2, later signed into law by Gov. Rick Perry, which – among other restrictions – bans abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. But the shoes (and the filibuster) helped raise her national profile. In November, Davis filed paperwork to run for governor.
3. The Royal Baby
Yes, he’ll one day be king of England. But does three-month-old Prince George Alexander Louis of Cambridge really deserve this level of attention? First, everyone couldn’t stop writing about Kate Middleton’s baby bump. Then it was stories guessing at what the little prince’s new name would be. Finally, the birth of George himself garnered attention for weeks. But that wasn’t it. Middleton’s post-partum baby bump got plenty of attention as a number of bloggers cheered her for not hiding it. Then the disappearance of said bump within three months of Little George’s arrival took over the tabloids as many of them wondered, How exactly did she do that?
2. Miley Cyrus Twerking
Miley Cyrus decided to grow up on national television with one twerk-filled, tongue-twisting performance at the MTV Music Awards in August. Just a few years ago, Cyrus was better known for her adorable alter ego Hannah Montana. But Cyrus’s attention-grabbing awards show act remade her into pop’s new, bizarrely raunchy sex symbol overnight. The twerk and the tongue and the foam finger, however, lasted far longer. Stories about Cyrus grinding on and simulating sex positions on stage with singer Robin Thicke lingered for weeks – just what both Cyrus, and MTV, were hoping for.
1. Edward Snowden’s Whereabouts
From the time Edward Snowden left Hong Kong looking for a country, any country, that would grant him asylum or at least just take him in, the NSA contractor’s whereabouts often overshadowed the massive scope of the U.S. government’s electronic surveillance program – information Snowden leaked to The Guardian and The Washington Post this summer. On June 23, Snowden landed in Moscow’s Sheremetyevo International Airport while hoping to continue onto Ecuador, where he had requested asylum. U.S. officials, however, quickly canceled his passport, leaving Snowden in limbo. The story of how long Snowden would remain inside a hidden-away section of Moscow’s airport played out for weeks, including a bizarre incident in July in which the plane of Bolivian President Evo Morales was grounded in Vienna, Austria, and rerouted back to Bolivia after U.S. officials believed Snowden might be on board. On Aug. 1, Snowden was given temporary asylum in Russia.