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Best artists in pop

  • #20. Jason Derulo

    Weaving samples of Imogen Heap’s 2005 single “Hide And Seek” with his own auto-tuned vocals, R&B singer Jason Derulo dropped “Whatcha Say” in 2010, and kicked off a chart-topping solo career. Derulo is a virtual prodigy who wrote his first song at just 8 years old. He was sought out by a slew of big-name talents for his skills as a producer and songwriter before snagging the spotlight for himself.

  • #19. Nickelback

    Love the music or hate it, Nickelback remains one of the most successful bands in the history of music with a slew of hit singles and albums. What’s more, the Canadian band is second only to The Beatles as the best-selling foreign act in the United States. Best known for songs like “Far Away” and “How You Remind Me," Nickelback culls from a variety of popular influences. The band's success hasn’t shielded it from serving as the Internet’s foremost punching bag.

  • #18. Beyoncé

    The closest thing America has to royalty is Queen Beyoncé Knowles. She rose to fame as part of Destiny’s Child, then broke away to cultivate a solo career that borders on mythical. Whether making history at Coachella, making history at the Super Bowl, or just plain making history, Beyoncé is the kind of pop culture juggernaut people will still be talking about 100 years from now. Her brilliance is tough to argue when you look at her catalog, which includes tracks like “Crazy in Love," “Halo," “Single Ladies," and “Formation."

  • #17. Flo Rida

    The most downloaded single of the 2000s comes from Florida-based rapper Flo Rida. Dubbed “Low," the breakout track pairs Southern style with an upbeat tempo for danceable perfection, and made its way onto the soundtrack for the 2008 movie’s “Step Up 2: The Streets." The rapper has delivered no shortage of hit singles in the time since “Low” took the country by storm, though he’s no longer the chart-topper he was in his heyday.

  • #16. Madonna

    Madonna is a true originator who burst onto the scene in 1982 and helped change the pop culture landscape forever. She was no stranger to shock value -- but it was her consistent knack for hit music that kept her at the forefront of the industry for decades. Like any pop star, Madonna’s reign could only last so long, though she still retains a firm place in the cultural sphere and knows how to put on a great show. On the recording front, it’s never too late for a comeback.  

  • #15. Janet Jackson

    Pop phenom Janet Jackson was an absolute force in the '80s and '90s. Far more than Michael Jackson’s younger sister, Janet first garnered massive attention in 1986 with the release of her third album, “Control." Featured on the album were edgy hit tracks like “Nasty” and “What Have You Done For Me Lately." She continued to rock the charts during the Billboard era with albums like “The Velvet Rope," “Janet," “All for You," “Discipline," and “Unbreakable," all of which debuted at #1. Jackson's influence remains palpable even decades after her earliest hits were released.

  • #14. Christina Aguilera

    Christina Aguilera touted some powerful vocal chops of her own long before she coached others to success on “The Voice." The Staten Island-born singer worked as a Mouseketeer from 1993 to 1995 before emerging as a somewhat more genuine alternative to Britney Spears in 1999. The singer launched to stardom with breakout hit “Genie In A Bottle." Eager to express herself any way she saw fit, Aguilera created an alter ego called Xtina for her album “Stripped," before going “Back to Basics” on a 2006 album of the same name. During the first season of “The Voice," Aguilera appeared on the Maroon 5 single “Moves Like Jagger," which peaked at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

  • #13. The Black Eyed Peas

    This hip-hop outfit struggled for years before bringing lead singer Fergie on board in 2003 after she recorded vocals group's hit track "Shut Up." She gave the group the socio-conscious style and discernible pop injection it needed. The result was “Where is the Love?," a veritable anthem that became a staple at parties and on pop charts alike. In other words, The Black Eyed Peas most definitely found the love (even if that’s technically not what the song is about).

  • #12. Lady Gaga

    Lady Gaga brought a jarring visual aesthetic to her relatively straightforward sound on videos for “Poker Face” and “Bad Romance." The formula -- which has been likened to a cross between Marilyn Manson and Madonna -- worked like a charm and generated a downright fervid following. As her career progressed, Lady Gaga adopted more traditional modes of expression. She even recorded an album with Tony Bennett. She’ll display her raw talent this October on big screens across America as the lead role in “A Star Is Born."

  • #11. Usher

    Usher Raymond IV -- or Usher, for short -- signed with LaFace Records at 14 years old. The natural-born performer released a self-titled debut album the following year that is laced with a surprising spectrum of adult themes. But it wouldn’t be until his next album, “My Way," that Usher became a household name. By 2004’s “Confessions," this smooth and stylish crooner was among the world’s best-selling artists and a fixture on the Billboard charts. It’s no surprise Billboard named Usher as the #2 Artist of the Decade in 2009.