Billboard’s 21 Under 21: Obvious and Painstaking

Kat Taylor / October 5, 2011
photo from Binside TV

The Department of Making Lists is at it again. The internet music scene’s newest obnoxious click-through is proudly displayed on Billboard.com. Taking advantage of the casual web surfer’s voyeuristic nature thinly veiled by a superficial thirst for music knowledge, Billboard goes a step further and piques our interest with borderline pedophilia. It’s everything the internet was made for in a nice 22-page package of original impressions for the industry giant.

With Justin Bieber claiming the number one spot and his girlfriend Selena Gomez close behind him, the results were nothing short of obvious and painstaking. Should we be surprised the whole list is awful? Of course not. Here’s a breakdown of why:

21. Miley Cyrus: She’s barely an adult and her country has-been dad is finding ways to legally pimp her as much as possible. No one likes pity, so Billy Ray managed to eclipse the public sentiment toward him with an even stronger emotion: disgust.

20. Miguelito: The opening credits to his music video feature a solitary walk sporting stunna shades, and the video consists mostly of him tooling around on the beach with some chicks who are all a foot taller than him. Dude, he’s 12.

19. One Direction: What’s better than one Justin Bieber? Five Justin Biebers! Why stop there, let’s make them British! Let’s give them generic, empty songs to sing so by the time they’re old enough to drink in the US, their hollow souls will be begging for the sweet taste of booze to fill them! Yaaay!

18. Porter Robinson: My complaint here is less with the 19-year-old dubstep prodigy and more with the accompanying write-up. His style is hardly “A.D.D.” This is what dubstep sounds like. Actually, his is rather pallatable compared to his peers. Keep doin’ your thing, man.

17. HyunA: This is what prior pop lists have been sorely lacking all along: Asian jailbait! Being “too sexy” for Korean media outlets was surely a surprise to her and not totally calculated in attempt to garner more publicity in foreign markets. Unfortunately for her, we already saw the American version of this 10 years ago and we called it “Mandy Moore.”

16. Mindless Behavior: Well, it has finally happened. Akon made sweet, chocolately love to a vocoder and produced four happy, healthy, auto-tuned offspring. Congratulations to Akon and congratulations to the inanimate object that single-handedly destroyed pop music as we know it.

15. Greyson Chance: “Call him the thinking man’s Justin Bieber,” you say? I was about to call him a her. Besides, any man who will admit to listening to this crap clearly doesn’t think.

14. Willow Smith: Her dad is Will Smith. It would be more impressive if she didn’t get involved in the music industry as early as humanly possible. In fact, at 10, she’s already a veteran. Might as well retire now while you’re still too young to develop a drug habit or write an over-sensationalized book about it.

13. Cody Simpson: This plucky teen from down under may actually have talent. Although the video is rather stereotypical and contrived, he sounds good with minimal inorganic influences. (What, they can’t all be bad.)

12. Il Volo: Italy may be one of the globe’s most renown purveyors of fine wine, but with advent of this boyish trio, the country proves it is quickly closing in on the cheese market as well.

11. Lex Luger: His real name is Lexus, and he chose a stage name to match the ring name of a professional wrestler from the 80s. If only as much time and effort spent naming him had gone into sounding good.

10. Victoria Justice: This bouncy, wholesome teeny bopper of Footloose fame just wants you to like her. Surely, her flawless good looks and sprightly behavior leave her constantly passed over by the opposite sex, so her story of going to the ends of the earth to impress a guy are realistic and profound.

9. Rye Rye: Double the fiber! Ever since M.I.A. took the stylistically similar fledgeling under her wing, it has been all positive tweets for this young rapper. Despite her diet of regurgitated worms, she’s sounding a lot better than mama bird.

8. Nick Jonas: Why release pop albums with your brothers when you can release pop albums with some other dudes? His acting career looks more interesting than his singing career, even though he’s still a product.

7. Demi Lovato: She is recovering from an eating disorder. Although not uncommon for privileged teenage girls, the statute of limitations on making fun of her has not yet expired.

6. Mac Miller: The comparison to Eminem precedes him. He has a few catchy lines, but his voice is kind of flat and his sound is kind plain. He’s still a teenager though, maybe he’ll hit puberty soon. Things aren’t looking as hopeful for his buddies.

5. Jackie Evancho: How sad is the pop music industry when 90 percent of its beauty, sophistication, and class is supplied by an 11-year-old? She is clearly not human, and part of some long-term alien research project that will destroy humanity one still-beating heart at a time. I, for one, welcome our small, blond, organ-robbing overlord.

4. Scotty McCreery: Country music must know its heartthrobs are lacking, so they’re sending in the reinforcements. This American Idol contestant may be deserving of fame, but he sounds too much like his elders to be considered an artist.

3. Selena Gomez: Step one: Build respectable acting career. Step two: Sink your claws into a rising popstar and your face in all his pictures. Step three: Profit. She’s not a singer as much as she is a businesswoman. Her multiple ventures should serve her well when the world realizes she’s a dingbat and her fat cells are filling every pleated bump in a pair of mom jeans. It worked for Jessica Simpson.

2. Tyler, The Creator: I hear some rapping with a nice beat behind it, but what did this person create? If you’re going to modify your name with such a lofty, deistic title, at least give us something to point to like a sandcastle or a cookie recipe or a genetically enhanced goat or something.

1. Justin Bieber: No f***ing sh*t. Wake me when the aliens take over.

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