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If you have a teen, chances are you’ve heard plenty about Harry
Styles, Selena Gomez and Cody Simpson. You may have read about who Taylor Swift is
dating, or listened to your girls sing along to Ariana Grande, but how much do
you really know about these pop stars who occupy 78.5 percent* of your teen’s daily
You may not think this is important knowledge to possess, but
someday you’re going to be at a dinner party and the talk will turn from
foreign affairs and mutual funds to the Teen Choice Awards, and trust me—you don’t want to be the only one asking if
Justin Bieber is the lead singer of One Direction.
Justin Bieber is probably one of the most sought-after pop stars
on the planet right now, as witnessed by these girls in Mexico losing it when
his concert sold out before they could get tickets. Just imagine how you would
feel if you got to Costco and they had just run out of rotisserie chickens:
He’s super popular with the girls, and was popular with the
parents, too—until recently when he started appearing shirtless too often and
peeing in buckets in public. In other words, he’s starting to act like a
teenager and parents don’t like it one bit.
These boys were brought together while auditioning separately
for The X Factor. And don’t lie—you’ve sung along to "That’s What Makes You
Beautiful" at least once while driving carpool. Who could resist the catchy
melodies sung by Harry Styles,
Zayn Malik, Niall Horan, Liam Payne and Louis Tomlinson? (Tuck those names away
and casually drop them in conversation sometime. I guarantee you’re going to
impress the hell out of someone in Pinkberry.)
Hit Song You’ve Probably Heard: "That’s
What Makes You Beautiful"
3. Taylor Swift
It’s true that Taylor has dated John
Mayer, Joe Jonas, Jake Gyllenhaal, Harry Styles and at least one Kennedy and
then wrote revealing songs about their breakups. But as my daughter says, “Everybody
writes songs about their relationships, but it’s only an issue because she’s a
girl.” She’s right, you know—you don’t see anyone giving Weezy grief when he
sings about “Knocking Hoes down like Laila Ali.” (Weezy is the nickname
for Lil' Wayne, by the way. This will be covered in my next post, Rappers
Nicknames: A Primer.)
Hit Song You’ve Probably Heard: "I
Knew You Were Trouble"
4. Cody Simpson
Three years ago this Australian
16-year-old was singing cover songs in his bedroom and posting them on YouTube,
and now he’s on tour with Justin Bieber and headlining concerts on his own.
That just goes to show you the power of the Internet—and an adorable Aussie
accent. Also of note: This kid has biceps completely unnatural and slightly
disturbing on someone who is barely old enough to drive.
Hit Song You’ve Probably Heard: "Pretty Brown Eyes"
5. Selena Gomez
Would this 21-year-old be as popular
as she is today if she hadn’t dated Justin Bieber? Hard to say. Although she
did star in a hit Disney show, The Wizards of Weatherly Place, her career as a singer seemed to really take off after
she started dating the Biebs. (Carly "Call Me Maybe" Rae Jepsen’s career was
launched by Justin, too. He’s like a regular snapback wearing, bucket-peeing,
Hit Song You’ve Probably Heard: "I
Love You Like A Love Song"
6. Demi Lovato
Demi got her start in the Disney
machine as well, first starring in the TV movie Camp Rock along with the Jonas Brothers and later in her series Sonny With A Chance. She had a recent
brief stay in rehab but bounced back with a hit album, and now she’s a judge on The X Factor. Her single "Give Your Heart a Break" was recently voted "Song
Your Mom Will Most Likely Start Singing Along to Even Though She Doesn’t Know
Hit Song You’ve Probably Heard: "Give Your Heart a Break" (Get the lyrics here before you embarrass yourself.)
In the battle of the current
boybands, Big Time Rush would definitely lose out to One Direction, but that
doesn’t mean that Kendall Schmidt, James
Maslow, Carlos Pena, Jr. and Logan Henderson can’t
carry a tune and whip the girls into a frenzy. (Or was that "carry a girl and
whip the tunes into a frenzy"?) Like One Direction, they were also sprung from
the loins of a TV show—their own Nickelodeon series titled, Big Time Rush, about a boy band. Hey, if
you want originality go listen to one of your fancy shows on NPR.
Hit Song You’ve Probably Heard: "Boyfriend" (not to be confused with Justin Bieber’s "Boyfriend")
8. Ariana Grande
One of the newest entries to the
popstar circuit, Ariana Grande comes from—surprise—a TV show, and recently
hit it big with her first single, "The Way," which became a top 40 hit. She currently
stars in the Nickelodeon series Sam &
Cat along with Jennette McCurdy (who is also a country singer) and
previously starred in Victorious
along with Victoria Justice, who is also a singer and is now touring with Big
Time Rush. (My God, make it stop!)
Hit Song You’ve Probably Heard: "The Way"
*Not an actual scientific statistic. This number was pulled out of thin air because it sounded impressive.