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CRAIG JENKINS: British singer Charli XCX graduated from flanking Iggy Azalea on “Fancy” to a major label smash of her own this year with the cheerful, onomatopoetic “Boom Clap.” The drums swing low for Jason Derulo’s “Trumpets,” which succeeds where “Wiggle” and “Talk Dirty” did before, ceding a chunk of its chorus to a wordless instrumental lick. Too bad everything around it is unflatteringly silly. “Is it weird that your ass reminds me of a Kanye West song?” Yes, Jason. My Vote: "Boom Clap”
CAITLIN WHITE: The return of brass to mainstream pop has been a thing and Derulo capitalizes on both that trend and name-dropping practically every relevant singer he's heard of for the pro-hook-up anthem "Trumpets." But Charli XCX's bass-dropping "Boom Clap" snuffs his gleeful songs-as-body-parts narrative right out. To date, "Boom Clap" is Charli’s highest charting Billboard solo single -- which is funny considering she almost gave the track away! While Derulo attempts to soundtrack his romance with other people's music, Charli literally soundtracked the doomed romance of "The Fault In Our Stars" with a stomping, zealous romance that threatens to overcome even the confines of time, space and mortality. I doubt Charli has jammed out to "Trumpets," but let's be real, Jason probably already added "Boom Clap" to the playlist he puts on to seduce a new boo. My Vote: “Boom Clap”
JASON LIPSHUTZ: 2014 won’t be remembered as The Year of Jason Derulo, but with three idiosyncratic hits that every casual pop fan recognizes and which revived an uncertain career, Jason has earned the admiration of this Jason (without even having to sing his name anymore!). Like “Trumpets,” which followed “Talk Dirty” and “Wiggle,” “Boom Clap” was the cherry on top of a surreal year for Charli XCX, who earned her first No. 1 hit with “Fancy” and began gracing magazine covers after sharing the spotlight with Icona Pop and Iggy Azalea for two years. “Boom Clap” isn’t the best post-“True Romance” solo single of Charli’s — that’d be the impeccable “SuperLove,” and I even prefer the snotty “Break The Rules” — but it’s got enough gusto to sashay into the second round. My Vote: “Boom Clap”
JILLIAN MAPES: “Trumpets” is cute and sweet, and I’m a sucker for pop music references in pop lyrics (shout-out to O-Town’s “Liquid Dreams”). But “Boom Clap” is a force of nature that hasn’t yet ceased to amaze me. The longer you listen to “Boom Clap,” the more you realize how truly odd and sort of harsh its sonic makeup is: more snap, crackle, pop than… well, you know. My Vote: “Boom Clap”
JEREMY D. LARSON: I’m not worried about “Boom Clap” in this competition because that song is a jam and it will go to the finals. My only worry is that if we did somehow jettison every physical and digital copy of "Trumpets" off this gorgeous planet into the unfeeling void of outer space, an alien might accidentally listen to it and trace the metadata back to earth and destroy us all for some sort of capital galactic offense. That’s my only worry. My Vote: "Boom Clap"
HARLEY BROWN: Both of these songs actually have very similar chord progressions, but I'm going to have to go with "Boom Clap," even though I am opposed to The Fault in Our Stars on principle (wow, sorry, I'm starting to sound like a total curmudgeon). "Boom Clap" is just a classic: claps, booms, an anthemic, easily repetitive chorus ("on and on andonandonandonand"). You can't say no to Charli. " My Vote: "Boom Clap"
OVERALL WINNER: “Boom Clap"