Alan Jones, MAFS, The Teacher’s Pet and Kyle & Jackie O: Initiative releases list of 2019’s top 100 cultural moments

Lil Nas X, Married at First Sight, The Teacher’s Pet and Tiger Woods were some of Australia’s top cultural moments of 2019, according to media agency Initiative’s ‘Hottest 100’.

For the second year running, the media agency examined 10 cultural verticals – music, influencers, movies, gaming, fashion, audio, sports, news, content and memes – and researched which moments mattered most within them, from Avengers: End Game to Alan Jones, and Lizzo to Legomasters.

“We saw The Teacher’s Pet uncomfortably glue people to podcasting, Area 51 take over the internet, and a simple egg take on the undisputed #king of Instagram, Kylie Jenner,” said Initiative’s chief strategy officer Sam Geer.

“While Australian culture was undeniably divisive in 2019, there were also moments that brought us together, whether it be the schadenfreude of watching Fyre Festival go down in flames, or Australia’s shock-jocks finally being held to account.”


  1. Lis Nas X blows up
  2. The trial of R Kelly
  3. The largest virtual gig ever
  4. Lizzo taught us to love ourselves
  5. Billie [Eilish] becomes queen of the teen
  6. Tik Tok goes mainstream
  7. Trumped up charges for A$AP
  8. My Chemical Reunion
  9. KPop wins the Grammys
  10. We left Neverland

Lil Nas X’s breakout hit with Billy-Ray Cyrus, Old Town Road, was enough to make him the biggest music moment of the year, according to Initiative. Lizzo and Billie Eilish’s achievements saw both women featured in the top 10 list, while shocking documentary Leaving Neverland, which featured allegations about Michael Jackson, came in at #10.


  1. Likes lose the love
  2. Kayla [Itsines] becomes a strong mum
  3. Ryan’s reviews back up the riches
  4. Tammy [Hembrow] is a perfect 10 (mil followers)
  5. An ambitious #spon scheme
  6. Kardashians klap back at Jordy
  7. Emma [Chamberlain] literally makes the Time 100
  8. James Charles is #cancelled
  9. No fluke for Lil Nas X’s song of the year
  10. A 50-year-old broke Insta and hit 20mil followers in 30 days

In July, Instagram removed visible like counts from the platform in the name of mental health, but, in doing so, really impacted influencers’ ‘social currency’. Jennifer Aniston was possibly the platform’s biggest influencer of the year when she signed up and posted her first photo: all six Friends stars together for the first time in over 10 years. The post earned a Guinness World Record when it received 1m likes in five hours.

Eight-year-old Ryan earned US$22m last year for reviewing toys on his YouTube channel, scoring him the #3 spot. Also on the video platform, beauty influencer James Charles lost more than 3m followers over the course of a weekend after his friendship with fellow YouTuber Tati Westbrook broke up very publicly.


  1. The Avengers finally ended
  2. Star Wars
  3. Beyonce stole the show
  4. More love for powerful females: Captain Marvel
  5. Joaquin [Phoenix] stole the crown from Heath
  6. Frozen 2
  7. Netflix’s The King
  8. Tarantino’s 9th film
  9. Jesse Pinkman’s story is wrapped up
  10. The boys were back in town

Avengers, Star Wars and The Lion King came out on top in the movies category, while El Camino, the series continuing Breaking Bad character Jesse Pinkman’s story, also made the list.

Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood came in at #8, while Toy Story 4 closed the list out at #10.


  1. Politics invades esports
  2. Back to the classics
  3. Hollywood to hard drive
  4. A return to modern warfare
  5. A glimpse of the future with Stadia
  6. Esports legitimised
  7. Half Life: Alyx
  8. The floodgates open for streaming
  9. An unlikely champion
  10. Esports audiences see record growth


  1. Ethically chic
  2. Every festival channelled Burning Man fashion
  3. Dadcore made ya dad cool again
  4. The 90s came back
  5. Gorpcore showed some upper class flex
  6. We all had a boss lady moment with blazers
  7. Bucket hats bounced back to make sunsmart cool
  8. Bike shorts rode back into our wardrobes
  9. Tiny bags got big again
  10. Ugly shoes are here to stay


  1. The trial of Chris Dawson begins
  2. The final straw for Alan Jones… almost
  3. Hamish & Andy podcast kings
  4. Kyle being Kyle
  5. Who The Hell is Hamish
  6. William Tyrell’s inquest
  7. Matty Johns and the team
  8. The lady vanishes
  9. Transcend to the silver screen
  10. Traditional radio shows still dominate

The Australian’s smash hit podcast The Teacher’s Pet led the audio offering, while Who the Hell is Hamish? and Hamish and Andy’s podcasts also made the list.

Alan Jones’ comments about New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern were also recognised as one of 2019’s biggest moments. Fellow radio shock jock Kyle Sandilands also had his fair share of controversy this year, resulting in an on-air apology, but Jones and Kyle and Jackie O prove that traditional radio still works, recognised by the list’s #10 placing.


  1. Return of a master
  2. From cricket to clay: World number one after five years out
  3. Steve Smith rises from The Ashes
  4. Raiders viking clap into their first grand final in 25 years
  5. From learning to walk again to Teahupoo champion
  6. Unitd
  7. Matildas kick a goal for equal pay
  8. USA womens team trumps politics
  9. Kipchoge outruns the clock
  10. Marlion Pickett’s second chance at life comes with two GF wins


  1. Federal election
  2. Banking Royal Commission
  3. Cardinal George Pell convicted of child sex abuse
  4. Australia battles catastrophic bushfires
  5. The Prince Andrew TV interview
  6. The Barty Party
  7. Israel Folau’s homophobic comments get him sacked
  8. Tayla [Harris] kicks up a storm
  9. Black Friday sales finally take off in Australia
  10. Climbing Uluru – banned

The federal election, banking Royal Commission and conviction of George Pell unsurprisingly featured as the biggest news moments of the year. Bushfires are still ravaging the country, Ash Barty dominated, and climbing Uluru was finally banned.

Prince Andrew’s recent interview with BBC’s Newsnight was a late entry, but the discussion about his involvement with Jeffrey Epstein became a PR disaster, and the full interview currently has more than 1.3m YouTube views.


  1. Winter game
  2. Bogans Married at First Sight
  3. Australia masters Lego
  4. Things got stranger
  5. Fyre Festival lit up
  6. The Boys f*cked up superheroes
  7. People sung in masks
  8. Masterchefs left the kitchen
  9. Chernobyl blew up (again)
  10. Q&A got silenced

Game of Thrones’ final season came in at #1, but free-to-air favourites also made the list.

Nine juggernauts Married at First Sight and Legomasters took out the #2 and #3 spots, while Ten’s The Masked Singer delivered a “career highlight” for Lindsay Lohan, Initiative decided, and the exit of all three Masterchef judges got the nation talking.

And a sspecial feminist episode of the ABC’s Q&A sparked controversy (and more than 250 complaints), causing the public broadcaster to pull the episode from catch-up.


  1. Area 51
  2. Take one for the team
  3. OK boomer
  4. #Birdbox
  5. Yeehaw
  6. #EggGang
  7. 30-50 feral hogs
  8. #HariboChallenge
  9. Rise n shine
  10. Respect the drip Karen

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