A handful of superstars brought me to the breaking point in 2011. I’ll address each offender directly.
Taylor Swift: Your stadium tour and nation of adoring child fans helped you dominate every major awards show. Yet you acted completely surprised at being given each successive accolade. The “What, little ol’ me?!?” thing has to go. I know you often sing/whine about how mean everyone else is, so I won’t get too nasty. But there’ve been moments during your overexposed year in which I’ve thought to myself, “Maybe Kanye shouldn’t have let her finish.”
Justin Bieber: I don’t care how good a mimic you are; stop trying to be a rapper. You’re already pushing the limits of what’s reasonable with your choreography-assisted pop songs. And let’s not even talk about the blasphemy bag you call a Christmas album. Did you really just pop in a Mariah Carey classic, sing over her voice and call it a “collaboration”? Go to your room, young man, and don’t come out until your voice has changed all the way.
Jennifer Lopez: I love you, I do. You’re easy on the eyes, a natural in front of the camera and a pretty terrific Fly Girl. But it’s so all-or-nothing with you. A bigger spotlight than the actual contestants on American Idol would’ve been enough for anyone else in your position. But you added a forgettable romantic comedy, a throwaway dance-pop album, and a series of Fiat commercials that I’m pretty sure made the Rangers lose the World Series (gotta blame someone, right?).
Adam Levine: Mick Jagger called and asked me to tell you that even though he recently whored himself out to Will.i.Am, he still doesn’t approve of the claim that your moves are similar to his. And while we’re on the subject of one-off singles recorded during commercial breaks for The Voice: If your heart’s indeed a stereo, it’s got to be a Soundesign.
Lady Gaga: I’m a worshipper of the pre-schoolmarm Madonna, so your bigger-than-life presence in pop has always made me happy. Like it or not, you’re the new her, with a better singing voice and refreshing boosts of bats–t. You went over the edge of glory, though, by unleashing that male alter-ego, Jo Calderone, on the unsuspecting public. A 10-minute improvised monologue is no way to open the VMAs, especially when you’re dressed like the Fonz. You do realize he was the original shark-jumper …
Extra shout-outs/dishonorable mentions: Foster the People, please retire permanently the song that must not be named. ‘Glee’ cast, consider an early fake-graduation. Sugarland lady, lose the guy with the hats and enunciate less. Demi Lovato, it’s “sky,” not “sky-eee.” Scotty McCreery, baby lock them doors and turn that schlock down low. Nickelback, a stadium crowd finally turned on you, so just stop. And ‘X Factor,’ not every number on the show should remind me of Las Vegas in a glitter storm. Eyes be huttin.
Go here for more year-end pop music highlights.