Introducing The New King of Pop – Part 6: The Top Seeds

We’re finally going to crown the new King of Pop.

Five contenders have fallen last week. And now we’re going to look at how the Fab Four of Bruno Mars, Justin Bieber, Justin Timberlake and Usher rank after compiling all the scores from success, popularity and quality.

Note: This analysis refers ONLY to the period spanning 2000-2013, from the new millennium to the time of writing. No, pre-2000 achievements are not counted here. That’s why it’s called King of Pop of the “new millennium”.

4. Usher (Total Point = 49)

Still an impressive feat, as no other contender has ever reached the height that Usher accomplished during his Confessions era. I’m a believer that an artist should be judged by their highest artistic achievement (much like how The Beach Boys will remain as an all-time great, regardless of how many forgettable surf-pop albums they followed up Pet Sounds with) so I’m not really bothered with the diminishing returns that has unfortunately knocked Usher down to #4. When the Top 3 is on their seventh album like Usher is, we’ll see if they can even do half as good as Usher right now.

3. Justin Timberlake (Total Point = 58)

Another deserving winner is off the game. Justin Timberlake is the poster boy for artistic growth, abandoning the bubblegum sound of ‘N Sync to revolutionize urban music together with Timbaland. JT is one of those artists that never fail to charm the general public and critics, still drawing huge success this year even though he’s been missing from the music industry for six years. This shows just how much JT is a true entertainer with longevity, not just a flavor-of-the-week.

2. Justin Bieber (Total Point = 63)

Let’s give the kid a credit: Biever Fever is this millennium’s Beatlemania. Sure, unlike the others, he has nothing timeless in his discography right now… but hey, everyone gotta start somewhere. His third album Believe showed signs that he’s trying and willing to improve (the keyword here is trying). Time will tell whether the quality of his works will ever catch up with his mammoth-sized popularity. Fun fact: Justin Bieber is one of the only two contenders who’s never had a #1 hit (David Guetta is the other). So even if we focus purely on the popularity, for someone who’s never reigned the chart, if he wants to be a King of anything he surely still has some proving to do.

1. Bruno Mars (Total Point = 75)

I’m not a fan, but I gotta admit that Bruno Mars is talented and he’s got serious star power. And his career is just starting, so he still has plenty of room to be even much bigger. His first album was a little generic and cheesy (tolerable due to absolutely eargasmic sense of melody), but Unorthodox Jukebox has removed these flaws so I’m not complaining. He makes an acceptable and reasonable King of Pop. It’ll be interesting to revisit this a few years from now and see whether Bruno Mars will reach his full potential.

Additional Notes:

Below is the ‘King of Pop’ index chart compiling total points as collated through the success, popularity and quality metrics. It’s interesting to see how well each artist did in comparison to their competitors.

King of Pop Index: Bruno Mars is the new King of Pop

Important to note is how Justin Timberlake and Usher are considered relatively ‘unpopular’ here, which is a technical error as the metrics are gathered from YouTube views. It’s clear that these two artists’ prime resided in pre-YouTube era, so their true popularity is not well-reflected here. Had we use a more robust measurement, there’s high chance that the overall ratings of both artists would have eclipsed Justin Bieber’s; though it’s unlikely that any of them would threaten Bruno Mars.

Upcoming Plan

So that’s the end of it. I am actually planning to do a similar series to crown the new Queen of Pop as well. I’ve collected data from 24 potential Queen of Pop contenders. I will probably start after posting a few blog entries on other stuff—I haven’t been writing about travel and marketing for quite some time!

Expect the rankings to be a little different from the Rolling Stones’ list—Rolling Stones measured data from 2009-2011 only, but I’m expanding it all the way to 2000 so the golden years of top divas (Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Beyoncé) and worthy underdogs (Avril Lavigne, Alicia Keys, Fergie) will actually count towards the total point as well.

Also, unlike the King of Pop ranking which is really just a four-way race, we’ll have a harder time predicting the winner this time. As many as seven of the contenders could potentially hold the #1 spot!

So what do you think about the whole ranking? What’s your opinion on the top four? And does Bruno Mars make a good King of Pop?

All Posts on the King of Pop and Queen of Pop series:

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