Read all the thrills and spills of 2009.

Most tragic exit: Michael jackson

If we’re honest, his music had already gone to pot around the time he released the aptly titled Bad. But with 50 shows lined up at the O2, some of us hoped that Micky J could maybe get his career and life back on track so he could put paid to all the weird shit (Jesus juice, chimps, baby-dangling) that had detracted from his musical genius in recent years. Sadly, it was not to be and now all we have is This Is It, a behind-the-scenes movie of a tour that never happened.

Best new falsetto: Dougy Mandagi

“Jimmy Sommerville – I don’t know who that is,” whined Dougy Mandagi to TNT earlier this year. “And I don’t know who Jake Shears is either – can you please shed some light?” Well yes Dougy, they are two singers who have beguiled pop audiences across the globe with their soaring falsettos, and as the high-pitched lead singer of Melbourne epic rockers The Temper Trap, whose tune Sweet Disposition cracked the UK top ten, you have joined their ranks.

Unlikeliest oz newcomer: Gurrumul

Australia’s hottest newcomer for 2009 wasn’t a swaggering rock god or an ex-Neighbours bimbette but a blind, 38-year-old Aboriginal singer/songwriter who shuns the media and sings in his native Yolngu dialect. Showcasing his sumptuous vocals and warm acoustic tracks, Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu’s self-titled debut cracked the UK top 50 album chart and saw the UK press anoint him “the next world-music celebrity”. Looks like they were right – Gurrumul has been more recently been spotted on French TV duetting with Sting on the tantric one’s Every Breath You Take.

Most attention-seeking, thunder-stealing moment: Kanye West

Seems like hip-hop’s biggest knobber can’t let an MTV Awards ceremony go past without making a giant tit of himself. This time Mr West snatched the mic out of 19-year-old Taylor Swift’s hand during her acceptance speech for winning Best Female Video before informing her that Beyoncé should have won. Cue mortification all round. Daniel Merriweather, who’d been sitting at the same table as Swift’s parents, said: “It was like watching a kitten being murdered”, or words to that effect. Kanye, can’t you just go back to denouncing homophobia in hip-hop or something?

Ginger invasion award: La roux and Florence and the machine

Once upon a time musically minded gingers had only Mick Hucknall of Simply Red to look up to. How very not cool. But 2009 saw the arrival of two uber-cool, red-tressed pop chicks: Elly Jackson of electro poppers La Roux, and foghorn-voiced Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine. Ya see, red hair doesn’t have to equate to bad soul music or general fugliness.

Best global-warming inspired song: Daniel Merriweather

The Aussie newcomer admitted that Change, first single of his album Love And War, was inspired by Australia’s epic drought. “I was sitting in a studio in New York and I looked down and there was this guy who’d come out every week and literally just stand in front of his building for 45 minutes to an hour hosing the pavement.” We could have also awarded the blue-eyed soul boy: “Biggest Dropper Of The Name Mark Ronson” Award. But that would have been cruel, like watching a kitten being murdered.

Thank fuck south africa is finally putting out some decent rock music award: Blk jks

Rather than following the usual Saffa trend of aping American bands, Joburg quartet Blk Jks wove a weft of traditional South African sounds through a warp of good old-fashioned psych-rock to create what they call “black rock ’n’ roll”, a sound so strange and wonderful that their debut album After Robots has made them the toast of tastemakers from London to New York.

Most bizarre royalties wrangle award: Larrikin Music vs Men at work

Larrikin Music, which owns the rights to Kookaburra, is suing Men At Work claiming their worldwide number-one hit Down Under ripped off the flute solo of the 1934 kiddies’ tune without permission. Hmm, there must be something it it because every time TNT Music hears Down Under it just makes us want to break into a chirpy rendition of: “Kookabura sits in the old gum tree”. Not.

Take over the world award: Josh Homme

It’s not enough that the ginger Elvis already presides over three bands (QoTSA, Eagles of Death Metal and now Them Crooked Vultures), his grubby little stoner rock fingerprints were also all over Arctic Monkeys’ latest album Humbug, and he provided some guitar action on Scottish band Biffy Clyro’s Only Revolutions. Just what will this Yank have designs on next: Russia? The Golan Heights?
The universe?

Most unusual collaboration: Winner: Jay-Z and Luke steele

After hearing Empire Of The Sun’s Standing On The Shore on cult comedy show Entourage, hip-hop giant Jay-Z sought out the band’s frontman Luke Steele to collaborate on the tune What We Talkin’ About for his new album Blueprint 3. Steele told TNT that the music mogul was mighty impressed with the end product and drawled down the phone to him: “You’re a genius, man.” Praise indeed.