I’m a big fan of declaring winners and losers, almost to a fault. I can be involved in a random discussion about something, whether it be an argument in class or a simple get-together with friends, and all of a sudden feel like I need to win, or at least that other person definitely needs to leave the room feeling like they lost. Aaron Eckhart’s character in Thank You For Smoking, who lives by the maxim that you don’t need to be right as long as you can make the other person seem wrong, brings a smile to my face every time I think of it. The fact you can debate college football’s champion – and that each year, there can be multiple “winners" – drives me insane.
That’s why I wanted to take the time to declare Christina Aguilera winner of the Turn of the Century Pop Princess Battle. It was a battle waged primarily between Aguilera and Britney Spears, with Jessica Simpson, Mya, Pink (she was originally pop, whether she wanted to be or not) and Mandy Moore throwing their hats into the ring for brief periods of time, but I think it’s safe to say we have a clear winner now. In fact, if you want to make this declaration across the entire vast region of 1999 into 21st century pop music, the only person X-Tina is second to is Justin Timberlake, with every other boy band member falling into near-extinction, with their only saving grace being reality shows (Dancing with the Stars, Newlyweds).
At the beginning of the rivalry, Britney led by what seemed like a mile. She had the hot videos, and even after she lost the Best New Artist Grammy to Christina (as if the Grammys are that important anyway) maintained momentum up through their performance with Madonna, where it was Britney who got all the coverage for her extended kiss with the true queen of pop, while Christina’s peck was barely touched on by the media. People thought Christina went crazy with all of her hair color changes and the entire “Dirty” phase – highlighted by Sarah Michelle Gellar’s great parody on Saturday Night Live – but she pulled out of it nicely, probably during her 2004 Grammy performance when she performed completely clothed despite her trashy image at the time.
When you look at it, the competition was never really that fair, considering Christina was the only one who could actually sing. I wrote this about our two fair princess two and a half years ago:
3. Christina Aguilera
Probably the best set of pipes on the list. For some reason decided that she wanted to be the total opposite of her clean-cut image, and I think a lot of people forgot the fact that she has an amazing voice in that transition. If you want to see her at her respectable best, look no further than this year’s awkwardly nervous Grammy performance, where she had so many clothes on you just knew she was going to strip…
….and she never did, just simply nailing the song as well as anyone could. What would be perfect is her going nuts with the Stripped stuff for forty-five minutes, then taking an intermission and just doing a sit-down acoustic session for like two hours. That would be fun.
It’s amazing how far Britney Spears has really fallen. I mean, she never really could sing, but her standing as Sexiest Pop Diva was never questioned. And it’s not like “Toxic” was that bad, but now she blew out her knee, cancelled her tour and got engaged to some guy who has his second kid on the way. Britney Spears as a Stepmom? How’s that going to work out?
The one positive to this whole thing is the fact she’s reached the “Career Getting So Low Need A Spread in Playboy To Revive It” stage of her career, so that’s good for everybody.
That was in July 2004 and Britney was already slipping off of the map, “Toxic” being her only saving grace (and only Grammy winner, for that matter). When “Toxic” is all you have going on, you know there’s issues. I thought perhaps the overwhelming victories of Britney’s earlier career would give her the cumulative victory, but not so. Here’s their disographies, via Wikipedia, and a handy dandy chart to help see the sheer disparity in their numbers:
- One of Christina’s Grammy’s is a Latin Grammy, while you can subtract one from each of the “hit” categories if you wish because it was “Lady Marmalade”, but that might better serve to show how far she elevated above the others involved with that track.
That’s a rather wide margin when you consider their current position of Christina with a new album, looking amazing and on the cover of Maxim while Britney just shaved her head, went into rehab and has left a marriage with the guy who sang “Popo Zao” leaving him looking like the sane one. Is it even possible for Britney to bounce back? The voice was never there, and considering she got by on her hotness, that’s a long, long way away. Plus, now that Christina’s made the transition from “Genie in a Bottle” to “Dirty” slut to total, sorta-classy hot, I’m not sure there’s anyway Britney can surpass her.
So congrats to you, Christina Aguilera, for winning the pop diva battle by an incredibly large margin. Jessica Simpson never really could sing – I originally thought she had, but I heard her single where she just combined “Heartbreaker” and “Jack and Diane” the other day, and that was just as airy as her more recent stuff – and has turned into a punchline the caliber of Paris Hilton or Nicole Richie as opposed to an artist. Mandy
So your winner, by a landslide, is Ms. Christina Aguilera, who’s married to the luckiest man in the world. The only step left for you is to leave said husband, hook up with Justin and make a “Cry Me A River”-type video totally eviscerating Britney. Some people frown upon kicking others when they’re down, but I’m a big believer in “To the winners go the spoils”. J-Tim and X-Tina are certainly the winners.