Six months ago, we announced our second annual 25 Crushable Guys Under 25 list: The 25 guys under 25 who would be breaking through in 2012. While giving the ladies the same treatment with this week’s list, we had to go back and see how our predictions for the men stacked up against their careers for the past half-year. We were on the money with several of these guys—some rising to levels of popularity even we had only dreamed of.
Inarguably, the biggest breakouts of this list were Josh Hutcherson (#1) and One Direction (#21). When we published our list, both were still known only in niche communities—Josh in the Hunger Games fandom since this was right before the movie came out, and 1D by their loyal British fans from The X Factor as well as those Americans who had the inside scoop on these emerging superstars.
Now the boys command a millions-strong “Directioner” following, which can be both flattering and scarily powerful: They create GIFs and memes around the boys’ personas, but also ‘ship certain band members to the point where it makes them and their girlfriends uncomfortable. Still, this much attention and passion makes it clear that out of all the modern boy bands to try and follow in the steps of the Beatles, 1D has done it. And Josh is beloved by Hunger Games fans everywhere, even those who had initially railed against his casting. Having just turned 20 (!), he’s humble, funny, and supports LGBT rights without it seeming like a publicity stunt.
Speaking of LGBT, let’s talk about Frank Ocean (#2)! The R&B singer-songwriter came out over the summer through an incredibly heartfelt Tumblr post that brought applause from his fans as well as superstars like Beyonce. In an industry with a major homophobia problem, Frank showed that a) you could be a queer person who’s high-profile, collaborating with the likes of Jay-Z and Kanye West, and b) that young men don’t need to have just one way to act bisexual. Even before we knew that some of his songs were addressed to a man, they still made us catch our breath. Now, we admire his bravery even more. Last week, Pharrell Williams tweeted a photo of him, Frank, and Jay-Z all in the studio together.
Indie star Ezra Miller (#9) continues to be the best part of the admittedly ambitious films he attaches himself to. His performance as gay teen Patrick in The Perks of Being A Wallflower was so powerful that we bought it, hook line and sinker, just a few minutes into the movie. He pushes that same acceptance in real life, coming out as queer without it being a big deal at all.
There are also those Crushable 25 honorees who stay in the news for reasons unrelated to their work, that we never would’ve predicted. We included Chet Haze (#22) earlier this year for his raps making fun of his status as Tom Hanks‘ son, and just a week ago he accidentally revealed his Reddit account and embarrassing posts. Never change, Chet.
Was it any surprise that Nathan Adrian (#17) completely owned the 2012 summer Olympics in London? The American swimmer — who already had two records to his name when we included him on our list six months ago — took home gold medals in the 100-meter freestyle and 4×100 medley relay, and a silver for the 4×100 freestyle relay. We can’t wait to see him at the 2016 Games.
Aussie Liam Hemsworth (#3) has also become famous, though not for the reasons anyone might’ve expected. He was set up as Josh Hutcherson’s Hunger Games co-star and rival for Jennifer Lawrence’s affections, but it seems that more often he’s in the news as Miley Cyrus’ fiancé. With her antics like cutting off her hair and wearing bustiers as tops on the red carpet, Liam comes across as her more grounded half. We’re really excited to see him get a bigger part in Catching Fire, out next year, when Katniss realizes how much she needs Gale.
And of course, Daniel Radcliffe (#12) and Anton Yelchin (#6) continue to charm us in different ways: Dan when he does silly things like have a house party with Irish footballers, and Anton in the spooky, sexy vampire movie Fright Night and the upcoming Star Trek Into Darkness. We’ll be following all of these guys long into 2013.
Our list of 25 Crushable Girls Under 25 is now live! Check it out and see which girls we predicted will be huge in the next year.