Tune-free pop and the new Katie Hopkins: our 2020 celebrity predictions

There are two ways to spend New Year’s Eve, as best as I can tell: you either dirty the floor of a house party and spend the smallest of the small hours running desperately out of drinkable alcohol until you realise it’s 7am and the sun is up and you just watched yourself pour Pepsi Max into half a cup of Bailey’s until they both curdled into a sort of vomitty pâté; or you watched Jools at home with a blanket over your legs, in bed with your teeth brushed by 10 past 12. You get absolutely zero points for guessing which one of the two I saw the new year in with. My body is still shaking.

Fair to say, too, that celebrities have yet to emerge blinkingly into the new decade. In the Christmas lull, the famous go into one of two modes of hibernation: either posting a succession of matching-pyjama family selfies in million-pound mansions that are identically decorated with plush beige carpets and tasteful but anonymous tonal greys; or going on holiday somewhere unthinkably lush and posting: “How’s the weather back home!” while sizzling in a hammock over aquamarine Maldivian waters. What I am saying is that there is no news, all right, and we can’t spend 1,200 words having a go at Cats again, so we simply have to preview the year 2020 and have a stab at guessing what the world of fame has for us. Is it a cop-out? Or is it actually quite a decent effort for someone who still has “brandy” in his system and who many doctors would advise shouldn’t be sitting upright at this still-early stage in his hangover? Well exactly. Let’s get on with it.

An Ungainly Move Towards a Music Career

Nothing says “too many people said ‘yes’ to me and I forgot what reality means any more” like a non-singing celebrity attempting a singing career, and in 2020 – with the advent of X Factor: Celebrity and The Masked Singer – we are perfectly primed for someone famous-for-one-thing making the leap into being-famous-for-another-thing. Previously, it’s either been newly departed but much-beloved soap actors (The Martine McCutcheon Principle) or long-running TV staples bizarrely outselling everyone in sight (Walshian Mechanics), but we forget that we’re living under an unprecedented influx of nü-fame Love Island graduates, and at least one of them is surely able enough to hold a tune. From last summer’s lot – soon to be eclipsed by the shiny new winter intake – my best guess is Tommy Fury, too impatient to work his way up the ranks of his boxing career, pivoting instead to earnest YouTube covers. He’ll pioneer a new genre that comes to be known as “thick rap”. By the end of 2021 he’s selling out European arena tours and is richer than God.

Unexpected Rightwing Rant Turns Into Extremely Lucrative Career Boost

Say what you want about Katie Hopkins – it’s not like she can afford another libel case – but she did prove that the American model of going full rightwing crank could be a lucrative one, and it’s strange that, in this tinderbox political moment, more celebrities haven’t yet followed suit. The shape of it is always the same: one This Morning appearance with a slightly-right-of-centre opinion about something innocuous (“All I’m saying is, why should my taxes pay for other people’s children to eat lunch? If you’re gonna have a hungry kid, don’t have a kid”), an unexpected boost in people tweeting you “Bravo” as a result, then you double-down harder and harder until LBC gives you a phone-in show and you release a book called Telling It Like It Is, where you pull a quizzical eyebrow and firmly fold your arms on the cover before getting a million new Twitter followers and an invite to the White House so Donald Trump can shake your hand. I think Mark Wright is in prime position to do this: he could shake off his nice-guy Matalan-model Heart-FM shtick and make good on being the shagger bastard early seasons of Towie always told us he could be. Seriously, can’t you see him turning an errant “how many flipping genders do we need?” comment on an episode of Loose Women into a million-dollar empire, breaking the States, appearing on Fox News in a suit with too many buttons on it and doing a lucrative red-state college tour that keeps getting shut down by protesters?

Realising the Environment Exists

Green awakening … Gemma Collins.
Green awakening … Gemma Collins. Photograph: ITV/PA

One of the best things celebrities do is read exactly one article about a massive social problem they were never previously aware of then immediately make it Their Thing, turning every media appearance, tweet and Instagram post into a reminder of society’s ills for about two-and-a-half months, then forgetting about it entirely when something else comes along. Gemma Collins is already quite good at this – she advocates for animal rights, veganism and high glam in one ongoing stream of consciousness on her Twitter feed – and I feel like she’ll add “the dying environment” to that list this year, tweeting direct @s to Boris Johnson about wind turbines (“Why arent there more of them bozza?”) before an undercover investigation into her own personal jet usage finds out she somehow flew to Scotland 12 times in two weeks to make a recurring personal appearance at a perfume event.

A Newer, Modern Form of Sex Tape

Here are two indisputable facts: it has been far, far too long since we had a viable celebrity sex tape; no social media platform has truly made it until someone has, accidentally or otherwise, put their dick on it. With the late-2019 popularity and as-yet-scandal-free existence of TikTok, this constitutes a perfect storm, and there’s surley only one man ready and able to take advantage of it: Wayne Lineker. The start of 2020’s summer season will be marked with him firmly performing doggy-style in the reflection of a hotel mirror while mouthing along to LMFAO’s Party Rock Anthem, then one billion views on Pornhub and O Beach Ibiza is sold out for years to come. “Best thing I ever did,” Lineker growls, when interviewed about it some months afterwards, “whatever her name was.”

Jessie J Will Pivot to K-Pop

Jessie J will pivot to K-Pop.

The Beginning of the End of Sponcon

If you think about what social media was at the start of the last decade (messy, direct, clatteringly shambolic way of celebrities expressing thoughts and feelings directly to fans without the middle-man of a heavily PR’d magazine feature) and what it has become now (endless scroll of dead-eyed people holding up a tube of charcoal toothpaste and joylessly saying how much it has changed their morning routine), it feels like we’ve lost a lot: some little piece of ourselves, some fragment of humanity, airbrushed away and given a 10% discount code for BoohooMAN. This is the year the revolution happens, and that we (the scum) finally fight back against celebrities turning our collective Instagram feeds into a curated series of personalised ads. Someone, sadly, is going to have to be the sacrificial lamb to that. And it’s going to be Antoni from Queer Eye. “I love this simple app for ForEx trading,” Antoni’s going to say, standing perfectly topless in a sauna and holding a big iPhone up towards a camera; and we’re all going to see right through it, through his abs and his subtle body sweat and his big distant goof idiot smile, and we’re going to riot. You don’t believe this powdered almond butter is the best powdered almond butter on the market, Antoni. You don’t really think this bottled water has the ability to “mega-hydrate”? No more booty tea 2K20. If you try to sell me a tooth-whitening pen then we’re going to war.