Best Career Move: Until this year, Paula Abdul seemed permanently ensconced in the "Where Are They Now" files. With her decision to appear as a judge on "American Idol," she became a born-again star - and thankfully for us, she didn't have to sing a note.
Worst Career Move: Admitting to taking cocaine, pills and marijuana while your profusely sweating husband admits smoking pot isn't usually the way to promote a comeback. Yet Whitney Houston bravely - and unwisely - went that route in a chat with ABC's Diane Sawyer. The interview with the confrontational, unrepentant Whitney was an instant classic, up there with Michael & Lisa Marie and Mike Tyson and Robin Givens.
Worst Career Move, Part II: Usually, Michael Jackson makes just one a year, but 2002 provided us with a plethora of Jackson missteps: holding his baby over a balcony, charging racism against his boss without offering proof, making goofy faces in court and of course, the ongoing mutilation of his face, which has been studied so much it may become part of a college curriculum some day.
Overhype of the Year: The breakup of Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears had all the drama of a very special "Saved By the Bell," yet the media inexplicably went into overdrive when teen pop's first couple went kaput. You would have thought the relationship was something really substantial - like J.Lo and Cris Judd.
Overexposed Star of the Year: R. Kelly didn't want to own up to the year's most sought-after video, and for good reason. The apparently self-made sex tape led to child pornography charges against the R&B king.
Skankiest Performance: With her hoodrat look and one of the year's raunchiest songs, Khia - sure to be remembered as a one-hit wonder - seemed a shoo-in to win this category for "My Neck, My Back." That is, until Christina Aguilera stepped to the plate with "Dirrty," one of the most hilariously bad videos of the year, complete with over-the-top booty shots, same-sex grinding, girl boxing, wet T-shirts and everything else in the kitchen sink.
Best Feud: It's hard to know where to begin. Michael vs. Tommy Mottola, Eminem vs. Mariah, Eminem vs. Moby, Nas vs. Jay-Z, and Kelly Osbourne vs. Brandy, Christina et al were entertaining. But the juiciest might have been 3LW. The former trio suddenly became a duo when Naturi Naughton was ousted. Instead of going quietly, she filed suit and levied a barrage of accusations - including a claim that she was let go because she wasn't "ghetto enough," and that her former groupmates pummeled her with fried chicken in a food fight.
Biggest Meltdown: Talk about the miseducation of Lauryn Hill. The woman who once represented hip-hop's bright, sexy, feminist force dissolved into a sanctimonious killjoy with the release of "MTV Unplugged No. 2.0," which featured Hill as an incomprehensible, rambling, emotional wreck.
Transformation of the Year: Potheads mourned the loss of their most potent spokesman when rapper Snoop Dogg announced he was giving up cannabis. Hey, if Snoop can give it up, perhaps there's hope for Bobby and Whitney.