Wednesday, January 04, 2006

The torch has been passed: All hail Gwen Stefani


They were ousted for various reasons.
Some grew too old or too trashy for their teen/tween fan bases. Others just stopped putting out albums. But that's the way it goes: Every pop princess must eventually relinquish her crown.

So, who's out and who's in?
Out
Britney Spears: Since marrying Kevin Federline and giving birth to baby Sean Preston in September, Britney's career has slowed to a near halt. Her most recent endeavor, a UPN reality series featuring her and Federline - wait, is that still on?
In
Gwen Stefani: Five Grammy nominations, including record of the year ("Hollaback Girl") and album of the year ("Love. Angel. Music. Baby."). She was a musical juggernaut in '05, plus her marriage to former Bush frontman Gavin Rossdale hasn't turned her into a joke. As long as the pregnant Stefani doesn't televise the birth, she just might remain pop queen '06.
Out
Christina Aguilera: The soulful songstress was always too sexy for the tween crowd. (Aguilera doesn't seem to wear anything but bras and panties.) But now she's just too invisible. Can you even remember the last album she put out?
In
Ciara: Also sexy, yet more tasteful. She's also got a recent CD, "Goodies," which led to her nickname "The First Lady of 'Crunk & B.'" We don't know what that means yet, but we do know Ciara is on fire (she's up for a best new artist Grammy).
Out
The Simpsons: Jessica spent way more weeks in the tabloids in 2005 than she did in the Top 10 and probably needs time to recover from the split with Nick. Meanwhile, Ashlee's "I Am Me" - out Oct. 18 - is foundering on the album charts.
In
Kelly Clarkson: The original "American Idol" has proven she is more than a talent-show star. "Breakaway," which snagged a Grammy nomination for pop vocal album of the year, showcases Clarkson's powerful, un-enhanced vocals and catchy hooks.

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