1. 1996: Dennis Rodman
This is a picture of Dennis Rodman in 1996. Back then, when he wasn’t playing basketball, he was hosting a short-lived show on MTV called “The Rodman World Tour” in which he did things like interview guests while lying in bed. Quirky? Yes. Fascinating enough to put him in the company of 1996’s other honorees like Elizabeth Dole and Benjamin Netanyahu? Not really.
2. 1997: Michael Flatley
Flatley is the guy who choreographed and starred in Riverdance. Irish step-dancing is great and all, but does that make Flatley truly fascinating? I’m not convinced.
3. 1998: Geri Halliwell
This was the year that Halliwell announced her departure from the Spice Girls. Apparently Babs thought that made her more, rather than less, fascinating. 14 years later, though, and Victoria Beckham is the only Spice Girl who still really captivates the public’s attention. Oops.
4. 1999: Johnathan Lee Iverson
Iverson became the first African-American ringmaster of Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey circus back in 1999. That’s cool and all, but really - is that enough to put him on the same plane as Monica Lewinsky and the King of Jordan, who were also chosen that year?
5. 2003: The Hosts of “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy”
Fun fact: This is the first year Babs allowed groups to count as the same “person” on her list. She had also begun to focus more on celebrities who had hit it big that year rather than movers and shakers in fields like politics and technology. Enter the “Queer Eye” guys. They were certainly interesting personalities, but at this point, it’s safe to say none of them have had the staying power of fellow 2003 honorees like Beyoncé and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
6. 2004: Paris Hilton
Fascinating for all the wrong reasons. One night in Paris was all it took for Hilton to launch herself into the elite company of 2004’s most fascinating people.
7. 2008: Thomas Beatie
“The Pregnant Man” is another example of someone who made it onto the list for all the wrong reasons. People were so caught up in questioning Beatie’s gender presentation that they didn’t realize he was actually just a pretty average guy. What was truly fascinating, though, was how many people had flawed understandings of what it means to be transgender.
8. 2009: Kate Gosselin
Gosselin’s claim to fame is allowing the meltdown of her marriage to be aired on the TLC show “Jon and Kate Plus Eight.” She is certainly a divisive personality, but let’s be real - her adorable kids are far more entertaining than she and Jon ever were.
9. 2011: Herman Cain
Cain is best known for loving pizza, quoting Pokemon, and (maybe) trolling the entire 2012 Republican primary field. He was basically the comic relief during the campaign season - a fun distraction, but not someone who’s going to have any kind of lasting impact.
10. 2011: The Kardashians
Actually, it is pretty fascinating to consider how the Kardashians have managed to build their family brand given all of the hatred that is thrown at them. This is the kind of pick, though, that leads people to question whether Walters’ list is even important anymore or if it’s slowly turning into a collection of that year’s over-hyped celebrities. Plus, seeing Bruce Jenner go from gold-medal winning Olympian to over-botoxed reality star is just sad.