Year in review 2013

Kaye Holland looks at who was hot and who was, err, not in 2013 HOT

Andy Murray
The wild haired one from Dunblane is undoubtedly one of the biggest heroes of 2013 having beaten Novak Djokovic in straight sets, to become the first British man to win Wimbledon in 77 years. He also won something that few ever expected would happen during his dour teenage days: the nation’s heart. Little surprise then that last Sunday, Murray topped the popular vote by a landslide to become only the second male tennis player to be named BBC Sports Personality of the Year. (Sir?) Andy – we salute you.

Tom Daley
The popular Olympic diver and Splash star came out of the closet earlier this month when he revealed – via a YouTube video – that he's in a relationship with another man (rumoured to be 39 year-old Oscar-winning Hollywood scriptwriter, Dustin Lance Black). The 19 year old’s announcement has received mostly positive comments, with Kylie Minogue tweeting that she found Tom “inspiring and brave.” I hope that Tom’s courageous step will encourage other gay sports stars (sport is chronically short on gay and bi-sexual role models) to follow suit.

The Pope
Who doesn’t love the new Pope? Pope Francis caught our attention early on with his refreshingly modern views on homosexuality: “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?”  he told reporters in Brazil, last July. He’s humble too. You won’t see Pope Francis in the million-dollar pope-mobile. Rather his car of choice is a donated 1984 Renault with 190,000 miles on it. And the Argentinian continues to wash the feet of prisoners and poor people alike, explaining it thus: “This is the Lord's example. He is the most important one and he washes [other's] feet because those who are the highest among us must be at the service of others.” God bless you Pope Francis.

Miley Cyrus
2013 was the year that Miley Cyrus – daughter of Billy Ray of Achy Breaky Heart fame – killed her squeaky-clean Hannah Montana image. She chopped and bleached her hair, split up with fiancée Liam Hemsworth, smoked a joint while accepting an award on-stage, stuck her tongue out at every opportunity and twerkedalongside Robin Thicke at the MTV Video Music Awards in a nude latex bra and hotpants – an outfit which inspired the most popular Halloween costume of the year. All of the aforementioned actions have helped make Miley the most talked about person of 2013 and as 19th century American showman and circus owner, Phineas T. Barnum, once said: “There’s no such thing as bad publicity.”

Bruno Mars
Miley may have twerked her way to number one with We Can’t Stop and Wrecking Ball but it was Bruno Mars who was crowned Billboard’s ‘Artist of the Year’ - beating the likes of Lady Gaga and Justin Timberlake. The 28 year old’s sophomore album, Unorthodox Jukebox, has shifted a staggering 1.8 million copies since it hit shelves back in December last year while his Moonshine Jungletour has seen the Hawaii born entertainer sell out arenas all around the world. And if you think that 2013 has, pardon the pun, been out of this world for Mr Mars, 2014 could be even better: Bruno has been booked for the Super Bowl half time show – aka the most watched musical event of the year - next February.

Justin Bieber
2013 was the year that the fresh-faced Canadian singer and teen idol lived up to the moniker ‘good boy gone bad’. From urinating into a bucket to spitting on fans, showing up late for his own gigs and being papped leaving a brothel in Brazil, 2013 is a year that the baggy jeans devotee will want to forget. If the pop brat doesn’t change his ways soon, there won’t be many Beliebers left.

Zac Efron
We’re used to Disney stars going off the rails – Britney, Demi Lovato and Amanda Bynes anyone? Regardless Student365 was shocked when news broke in September that the gorgeous Zac Efron - who played teen heartthrob Troy in the High School Musical franchise- had entered rehab for cocaine addiction. The story was all the more sensational given that the 25 year old enjoys a low profile and unlike his young Hollywood contemporaries, is rarely spotted falling out of clubs.

Nigella Lawson
The popular journalist and chef is another celebrity who was exposed in 2013, as having had a cocaine habit. It’s been a nasty fall from grace for the domestic goddess – dubbed ‘Higella’ by ex hubby Charles Saatchi. Not that Saatchi is a saint himself: the British businessman and co-founder of advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi was photographed grabbing his wife by the throat in front of Scott's restaurant in Mayfair, London, last June. Does Nigella’s drug habit signal the end of her successful career? Not necessarily. Kate Moss survived a drugs scandal and for what it's worth, I reckon Nigella will too.

Liam Gallagher
The Oasis star’s five-year marriage to former All Saints singer, Nicole Appleton, came crashing down in July, following a love child scandal. The 41 year old is said to have fathered a daughter with American music journalist Liza Ghorbani, 39, who filed a £2million lawsuit against the Beady Eye frontman for child support. However rather than show any sign of remorse, Gallagher opted to leave the family home he shared in Hampstead with Appleton and move into a multi-million pound home five minutes away with new girlfriend, former personal assistant Debbie Gwyther. On the professional front, Liam was looking forward to an Oasis reunion – if only for the money - but his elder brother, Noel, put a spanner in the works with his refusal to reform.

Tulisa Contostavlos
The 25 year old former X Factor judge was arrested in June and went into hiding before finally being charged with supplying cocaine to an undercover reporter earlier this month. Consequently Camden born Contostavlos is required to appear before Westminster Magistrates' Court tomorrow (December 19). It's all a far cry from this time last year when Tulisa was the golden girl of Saturday night television. But the former N-Dubz singer has bounced back from controversy before (when a former boyfriend sold a sex tape of her) and if anyone knows how to fight, it’s tough talking Tulisa...

Interview: Eliza Doolittle

Three years after her self-titled debut album went platinum and propelled her into the spotlight,  Eliza Doolittle is back with her sophomore effort, In Your Hands. The  talented 25 year old Londoner spoke to Kaye Holland about singing, sunshine and why she wouldn’t have made a good studentHi Eliza! Congratulations on your new album. We love it, but it’s fair to say that it’s a departure from the chirpy pop songs of your eponymous first album... Yes. On my first album I was maybe a little more guarded and focused on my surroundings rather than what I was feeling within. I really let it all spill out on this album. It’s full of discovery and learning so much about myself and how I feel about love and life in general. On my last record I hadn’t experienced much of anything really. It was quite a light album, very feel good.”

Listening to the album, it's clear you have been through the ringer (Eliza's new album was written after her split from tattooed American Benji Madden, of rock band Good Charlotte, earlier this year). The songs that came from the break-up definitely fuelled things in me. I was writing constantly, just getting it out of my system. It’s not a break-up album, though. Maybe the break-up triggered it but it’s really about discovering things about myself I didn’t know before.”

Do you have a favourite song from the album? You know what, they’re all my favourites. I recorded something like 100 songs and selected around 16 for the album so every song that made the cut, I love. Do you have a favourite? [I tell her I like the chipper Big When I Was Little - her hit summer single - the poignant Let It Rain and uplifting ballad No Man Can which elicits a polite: “Thank-you very much. That means a lot.”]

Why was there such a long gap (three years) between this album and the last?  I’d planned to release In Your Hands two years after my debut album came out, but it ended up being longer because of changes that occurred within my record label (Parlophone). It means that I had more time to perfect the album though and can feel really confident about it.

How do you write your songs? I make sure I take a note of all my ideas whenever something pops into my head. If I sing something new in the shower, I’ll jump out and record it. I’m always getting ideas and they go on my dictaphone or my phone.

It’s well documented that you relocated to the States to write and record In Your Hands. Would you ever permanently leave London for LA?  No - I like London too much. That said it would be great to have a house in LA and a house in London and spend six months in each place chasing the sun - summer is my favourite time of year. I’d need to write a few more songs and have  a few more hits to be able to do that, though!

You’re from a hugely successful stage family (Eliza is the daughter of Tony Award winning West End star Frances Ruffele and respected director and playwright John Caird, and the granddaughter of stage school founder Sylvia Young) and have trod the boards yourself (Eliza spent six months playing the young Cosette in the London stage version of Les Miserables when she was eight). Are you tempted to go back to the theatre? I love the theatre and am not ruling out a return to the stage but my focus, for now, is my music. I’m obsessed with writing.

Can you think of an alternative career that you might also like to have followed? That’s a really hard question. When I was really little I wanted to be a taxi driver but by the time I was 12 I knew that I wanted to be a recording artist. Music has always been in my blood.

Your first hit, Pack Up, released in 2010 saw you hailed as the "new Lily Allen" (the two shared a record label and publicist at that point). But whose career would you like to emulate? Beyonce. When I was really young, I wanted to be in Destiny’s Child and  watching Beyonce go solo and evolve into the respected artist she is today has been very inspiring.

Any advice for younger singers such as Miley Cyrus (the former Disney star has been a subject of controversy in recent months, following her performance at the MTV Video Music Awards which saw her mimicking masturbation with an oversized foam finger and twerking with teddy bears)? All I’d say is be true to yourself. You just have to be yourself. If you can do that, you’ll be fine.

Let’s talk fashion... You’re known for your trademark trainers and hot pants - has your style changed since your first album? I still love my hot pants and trainers, but I haven’t worn any little shorts for a while now. I tend to rock one look for ages and then move onto another when I get bored. Let’s see what’s next!

Your real name is Eliza Caird but you chose the stage name of Eliza Doolittle - a character from My Fair Lady. How did that come about? Because like you [readers: I’ve just mispronounced 'Caird'] no one knows how to say my real surname! People think I chose Doolittle because of my family’s theatrical background but actually it's nothing to do with that. It's just a name I’ve been called since I was a child and it’s stuck...

You didn’t go to university. Any regrets on not experiencing student life? No because I wasn’t that into school. I was ok but I was always looking out of the window and wanting to be somewhere else - I always wanted to sing. That’s just me though. I kind of wish I was more studious and really admire uni students who are able to knuckle down and hit the books.

Will you be going on tour with the album? Yes and it will be a global tour, but that’s all I know right now. I’m still figuring out all the details but I love touring and showcasing my songs. The only downside is the homesickness. Do you get homesick often, then? Yes, when I am travelling. My band and musicians become my family on the road but I do miss my real family and friends back home, more than anything  when I’m away. I Skype them all the time and I arrange for everyone to meet up when I get home. I’m not complaining though - I know I have an amazing opportunity!

Anything else you’d like to add, Eliza? Just a big thank you to everyone for their support and I hope you like the new album as much as I do!

Thanks Eliza! Eliza’s new album, In Your Hands, is out now.