Before 2021 comes to a close, Billboard wants to know which pop star dominated this year.
As part of Billboard‘s ongoing Greatest Pop Star by Year project, we’ve ranked the best pop stars of each year dating back to 1981, when MTV and the modern pop era were born. For 2021, Taylor Swift took the throne after she won album of the year at the 63rd annual Grammy Awards with Folklore and released two out of her six planned re-recorded albums this year — Fearless (Taylor’s Version) and Red (Taylor’s Version) — which both returned to their original albums’ position at No. 1 on the Billboard 200. Not to mention, the 10-minute version of “All Too Well (Taylor’s Version)” from the latter re-recorded LP broke Don McLean’s half-century record and became the longest-ever No. 1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100.
Coming in at No. 2 is Lil Nas X, who proved he was never going down in history as a one-hit wonder after the record-shattering success of “Old Town Road” by notching two more Hot 100 chart-topping juggernauts, “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)” and “Industry Baby,” featuring Jack Harlow, following his “genius” marketing strategy on social media, especially on Twitter and TikTok.
Rounding out the top three is Adele, an industry titan who raced against the clock and still clocked the best-selling album of 2021 after just a few days of releasing her latest studio album 30, which started with 839,000 equivalent album units earned in the U.S. that first week – and sold a full million in less than three weeks. 30 debuted atop the Billboard 200 and has held firm at No. 1 for five consecutive weeks (so far).
So who do you believe was the top pop star of 2021? Vote below!