Dangerously in Love

BeyoncÉ is shaping up to be 2003's "It" girl.

Beyoncé is shaping up to be 2003's "It" girl. The Destiny's Child frontwoman sparked enthusiastic water-cooler conversation after star-making turns on VH1's "Divas Duets" special and the Essence Awards. With this long-anticipated album—the final installment in the trio's solo rollout—she quells any questions about her talent quotient. Pulsating crossover hit "Crazy in Love"—a fresh synthesis of pop, dance, R&B and hip-hop—was the public's first introduction to a more sultry, sleek and saucy Beyoncé. Unlike Britney Spears, Beyoncé successfully treads the "I'm not a girl, not yet a woman" terrain without missing a beat or stretching credibility. Collaborations with Jay-Z, Missy Elliott and others reflect all the wonder, fun and angst of young womanhood. Whether invoking Donna Summer ("Naughty Girl") or turning introspective ("Me, Myself and I"), Beyoncé hints there's a lot more where this came from.—GM