I'm going to pose an age-old question: Are pop stars just vocalists, or are they performers? Well, it depends. Some stars rely on pure entertainment value — Britney Spears, we're looking at you. Others opt for a plain park and bark. These entertainers stand on the stage and sing. (Adele, we're looking at you.) It seems, though, that pop stars are less dance-focused than they used to be. Once upon a time, Destiny's Child, *NSYNC, and TLC rocked the synchronized movements. These days, it's SelGo, The Weeknd, and Katy Perry, who excel at, well, standing and singing, which is totally — to borrow a phrase from Lady Britney — their prerogative.
Of course, as with all things, there's a spectrum. On one end of the pop-star skills spectrum, you've got Beyoncé. There is no one who can wield her starpower like Lady Bey. Then, on the other end, you've got Cher, who has a preference for the stationary performance. Ahead, we've ranked the world's biggest pop stars in order of dancing ability. The rankings are utterly subjective and based on my personal opinion.There are singers, and then there are performers. We'll start at the lowest-ranked — those that just sing — and move into those that can really cut a rug.
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No. 17: Mariah Carey As much as we love Mimi, know this: She doesn't dance. Mariah Carey has long succeeded on the pure power of her vocals, and we cannot fault her for that.
No. 16: Taylor Swift Like Mimi, Taylor has never pretended to be much of dancer. Instead, she prefers to strut around the stage and give sultry looks. The only reason she's not number 15 is because some have argued that her "awkward dancing" is adorable. (Why is everyone looking at me?)
Photo: PJP photos/REX/Shutterstock.
No. 15: Demi Lovato Demi, we love you. We love your vocals. We love that you've taught us there's nothing wrong with being confident. We love that when you perform you just chew that mic and furrow your brow. (No dancing required.)
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No. 14: Adele In case you've never seen Adele perform, know this: She's not a dancer and she doesn't pretend to be.
No. 13: Miley Cyrus Miley Cyrus performs with shock value more than anything else. This is the gal that rode a hot dog during her Bangerz tour. Does she dance? Well, at least she tries.
No. 10: Katy Perry The last of the true non-dancers, Perry gets points for being an active performer. She performed at the Super Bowl next to an adorably sloppy shark, and that counts for something.
Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images.
No. 9: Ariana Grande Grande rode a bicycle onstage during the 2017 VMAs, which proves to us that she can really ride a bike. But I'd still place Grande with Mariah Carey and the rest of the stationary singers. (In general, the better the voice, the more likely they're just gonna park it.)
No. 8: Bruno Mars Part of Bruno's charm is his old-school performance style. He's a good dancer — probably among one of the few man pop stars that can really cut a rug — and a flair for a fabulous tune. That being said, he's no Beyoncé.
Photo: Sean Ryan/IPS/REX/Shutterstock.
No. 7: Lady Gaga Gaga's a noted yoga devotée, and, hey, she actually joins her backup dancers while they work up a sweat. At the 2017 Super Bowl, the New York native stunned with a pretty athletic performance. For that, Gaga, we award points.
No. 6: Fifth Harmony Ah, Fifth Harmony. It seemed like the pop group might revive the girl group style. (Arguably, they have.) And a girl group isn't a girl group if they don't dance in formation. The "Work From Home" performers got a place on this list solely for the music video for their most famous song. For those who haven't seen it, there are some serious moves performed at a construction site.
No. 5: Britney Spears Look at this photo and tell me that woman isn't a performer. Is she an incredible dancer? That's up for debate. Is she an incredible singer? Also up for debate. (I'm being diplomatic here.) Britney, the "princess of pop," gets a place on this list because during her heydey, dancing was sort of her thing. Don't believe me? I invite you to re-watch her performance at the 2000 MTV Music Awards.
No. 4: Rihanna Rihanna's wish-I-cared presentation has always made it seem as if she's not much of a dancer. (One gets the impression she'd rather light a joint and take a nap than a dance class.) But her blasé attitude belies her skills. The Barbados native is a slinky dancing beast as well as a slinky singing beast.
Photo: Willi Schneider/REX/Shutterstock.
No. 3: Shakira Ah, the lady whose hips don't lie. Arguably, Shakira is more dancer than singer. The performer has a background in belly dancing — hence her truth-telling hips — and probably could have pursued a career as a dancer.
Photo: Amy Harris/REX/Shutterstock
No. 2: Ciara Ciara is an obvious win, here. Yes, the woman who sings the "1,2, Step" is a good dancer — nay, an incredible dancer. The only reason she's not number one is, well, she's not Beyoncé.
Photo: Michael Buckner/Variety/REX/Shutterstock.
No. 1: Beyoncé Did you think it would be anyone else? Lady Bey is the consummate performer. She sings, she dances, and, best yet, she manages to seamlessly blend the two. How does she pull this off? Well, rumor has it that Bey sings on the treadmill to make sure she has the lung capacity to pull this off. Being a pop star takes work, y'all.
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