Welcome back to Pop Stars and Flop Stars, which, as I explained earlier, is a revitalized (and shortened) restructuring of the feature formerly called Pop Power Ranking. Here’s the drill: each week, I’ll name a Pop Star — someone who secured the lion’s share of No. 1s, trophies, and/or other cultural gold stars (both tangible and intangible) — and one Flop Star who… well, you get the idea. And that’s about all there is to say. Let’s get into it.
This Week’s Pop Star(s): The Chainsmokers and Halsey
Well, we now live in a world in which Halsey has a No. 1 single to her name, so I guess Trump is going to be our next president after all.
- Frank Ocean, who, after an eternity, released his epic, sprawling Endless/Blonde/Boys Don’t Cry project(s) last week to much joy and acclaim
- Britney Spears, who is set to release her best album in more than a decade this Friday
- Lady Gaga, who last week announced her first pop single in three years is coming and also confirmed she will star alongside Bradley Cooper in a new remake of A Star Is Born
This Week’s Flop Star: Blake Shelton
— Blake Shelton (@blakeshelton) August 17, 2016
The internet never forgets anything — except for all the times it was convenient to do so — and so it was only a matter of time before several old racist, homophobic, sexist, and otherwise offensive tweets by pop-country superstar (and boyfriend of Gwen Stefani) Blake Shelton resurfaced, which they did last week. Media coverage of those tweets gathered steam, forcing Shelton to issue the world’s worst, smuggest non-apology of all time (above), which is saying something in an age where terrible, smug non-apologies are a daily occurrence. (That said, I must thank Shelton for giving me the week’s biggest laugh with, “Everyone knows comedy has been a major part of my career…”.)
- Demi Lovato, who has been slapped with a lawsuit for infringing on the copyright of beloved indie rock band Sleigh Bells
- Katy Perry, whose “Rise” falls again on the Hot 100, landing this week at No. 39
- Britney Spears, whose “Make Me…,” like Perry’s “Rise,” takes a tumble on the Hot 100, charting at No. 51