In honor of Girl Group Week at Billboard – which we kicked off with our list of the 100 Greatest Girl Group Songs of All Time – five staffers sat down for a Girl Group Fantasy League, where we went through a list of iconic and up-and-coming female pop stars to draft our ultimate Girl Group Supergroups. (We didn’t allow anyone to choose deceased artists or artists primarily known as girl group members; major solo stars who started in girl groups were included). After we each chose four from a master list of artists, all five of us rounded out our Girl Group Supergroups with a wild card pick, which could either be taken from the remaining names on the list or at random.
Check out our Girl Group Fantasy League Draft below, and vote for which Girl Group Supergroup you think is the best.
First Round Draft Picks
Lyndsey Havens: Rihanna. Who better than badgalriri to front what might possibly be the best musical group of kick-ass women? Right. No one. Her versatile style — both in the studio and on the streets — not to mention the lengthy list of collaborations she already has under her belt, make her a clear No. 1 seed and assures she would work well in a group of women who are just as empowering as her.
Andrew Unterberger: I’m taking Ariana first to essentially be my girl group’s franchise player. She has about everything you’d want in a frontwoman: Pipes, personality, and just the right amount of prickliness. She’s a team player, she still has untapped artistic upside, and she can nail the Wow Moment or two every girl group classic needs to have, with a casual ponytail flip.
Taylor Weatherby: Selena Gomez. Her most recent singles, “Bad Liar” and “Fetish,” have shown a fearless side of Gomez we hadn’t seen with her previous releases. Yet, her Selena Gomez & The Scene hits like “Love You Like a Love Song” and empowering solo album Revival show Gomez has the perfect voice and style to be a girl group member. And as Instagram’s powerhouse, she’d instantly shoot the band to the top.
Jason Lipshutz: So, uh, how is Queen Bey still on the board at pick No. 4? I’m not here to question the dubious choices of my fellow drafters, but with the fourth pick, I figured snagging Beyonce — a seasoned girl group leader and the most multi-faceted music superstar on the planet — was a pipe dream. This is the equivalent of the “best player available” approach: who cares about my previous strategy when I can start things off with Beyonce? The rest of the pieces will fall into place, no matter what they are.
Joe Lynch: Britney Spears. You might not think of her as a team player, but on “Me Against the Music” with Madonna and “Scream & Shout” with will.i.am, Britney demonstrated that she can tap into previously unheard parts of her voice and persona when paired with the right vocalist.
Second Round Draft Picks
Lyndsey: Alicia Keys’ vocal range is astounding, as is her pure-at-heart kindness. To decidedly strip down her image and style at age 35 proves she’s ever-evolving; plus, seeing her work as a coach on The Voice spotlighted her ability to produce a track, too, while also uplifting everyone around her.
Andrew: P!nk circa 2008. Ariana may be my girl group’s star, but P!nk is the anchor. She lends my group soul, credibility, and just enough edge, without ever endangering our top 40 potential. Plus, she might not always be out in front, but she can be always be relied on to steal the show at the end, as she has throughout pop history.
Taylor: Taylor Swift. With more than 27 million records sold in the U.S. alone, Swift knows a thing or two about how to build a massive career. Most importantly, though, you can’t beat the girl power that she and bestie Gomez have when they’re together — or Swift’s masterful songwriting skills.
Jason: Christina Aguilera. I hesitated about adding another huge voice and personality to a group that already includes Beyonce, but I live my life one “Lady Marmalade” at a time, and I have zero doubt that Xtina can stride into a girl group and nail the major belts regardless of the circumstances. The star wattage here is undeniable, and it’s worth remembering that Aguilera is such a skilled vocalist that she can nail much more than the high notes.
Joe: Kesha. Kesha’s already written for Britney, so we know their styles mesh well, and she’s one of our most versatile pop stars. She can deliver the glitter party pop, the soul-baring honestly or the sleazy Iggy Pop sneer depending on her mood.
Third Round Draft Picks
Lyndsey: SZA. The soulful singer’s vulnerability, heard on her raw and relatable lyricism, is an easy sell. After struggling to release her debut, Ctrl, due to a series of label setbacks, her persistence and follow-through speaks volumes to the loyalty and commitment she would bring to a group dynamic.
Andrew: Paula Abdul circa 1989. Not only was Paula one of the most subsequently underrated triple-threat superstars of the MTV era — back in ’89, she was on the same plane as Michael, Janet, Madonna and Prince — and an obvious girl group musical acolyte, she’s invaluable as my group’s built-in choreographer. You can’t be a successful girl group in 2017 without the right moves, and Paula’s both a video icon and a friggin’ Emmy winner for her stylings; if anyone can get these girls kicking in unison, it’s her.
Taylor: Tinashe. Not only would she be able to provide a slight R&B feel (and some sex appeal), but the 24-year-old also seriously knows how to dance, so the girls would have a built-in choreographer. And have you heard the power notes she can hit?
Jason: Robyn. What does a group that already includes Beyonce and Christina Aguilera really need? Not much… but it does need some indie cred. Robyn is the thinking hipster’s pop star and a tremendous songwriter; she also adds a more nuanced vocal delivery to the crew, because a girl group song cannot solely be rafter-rattling notes. Best of all? Robyn is more of an international quantity. This girl group is going global!
Joe: Katy Perry. I would die for a swaggering party banger where Katy Perry and Kesha trade one-liners and vocals run, with Britney holding down the chorus. Plus, Perry has the stylistic vision to keep a potentially disparate bunch on the same fashion page.
Fourth Round Draft Picks
Lyndsey: Miley Cyrus. A loose — albeit always entertaining — cannon is always a welcome addition to stir things up. Though Miley insists her party girl past is behind her so that she can return to her country girl roots, it’s clear she knows how to have a good time. The fact that she can hit every note whether she’s twerking or riding on a wrecking ball is an added bonus.
Andrew: Julia Michaels. My group already has just about everything it needs vocally, so I may as well get the last thing we need to not be reliant on the outside whims of the pop machine: Songwriting. Julia Michaels has co-penned hits for Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez and (indeed) Fifth Harmony, so she’s clearly up to the task of being my girl group’s primary scribe. And she’s a pretty dope singer too — one that can take or cede the spotlight as warranted, a necessary role player on this team of Alpha Dogs.
Taylor: Hailee Steinfeld. She doesn’t even have a full album to her name yet, and this girl already has three Billboard Hot 100 hits and more than 611 million views on YouTube. Between the confidence she’s established with “Love Myself” and the vocal prowess she’s proven on all of her releases so far — not to mention her honorary spot in Swift’s squad — she’s the perfect fit.
Jason: Ciara. Choreo, choreo, choreo. Aside from her long-running R&B career, Ciara is a marvelous dancer and will whip her fellow members into shape. And in terms of harmonizing, the sensuality in Ciara’s voice works well alongside Beyonce, Christina Aguilera and Robyn. Sure, this girl group will have pop anthems, but they should also be able to whip out a “Body Party” when called upon.
Joe: Brandy. Katy and Kesha can hit the big notes when they need to, but Brandy can get there every time. Her vocals never falter and she can hold down a sensuous groove for hours. Plus, her fairy godmother is Whitney Houston.
Fifth Round Draft Picks: The Wild Card Round
Lyndsey: Stevie Nicks circa 1980. Having lived through a lifetime of success — and drama — Stevie remains the most mystical woman in music. With decades of experience navigating the turmoil that comes from being in a successful music group, she can act as the glue that will hold everything together, which makes her an ideal wild card pick.
Andrew: Nicki Minaj circa 2011. One word: Versatility. Nicki can serve as my group’s Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes for certain songs, effortlessly killing the third verse with bars that kids will be quoting well into adulthood, and can also both nail the occasional solo and blend into five-way harmonies with similar ease. She’ll be the fan favorite, without clashing with the group’s leader — her chemistry with Ariana already well-established.
Taylor: Zara Larsson. At just 19 years old, Larsson is the prime age for molding her into a bonafide superstar diva. Except she needs no help: The first three singles from her sophomore LP So Good have garnered more than 1.2 billion Spotify streams (total), all three going No. 1 in her home country of Sweden. Clearly she’s got one country on board, and once you mix her power vocals with her bandmates’, it’ll be no time before she blows up everywhere.
Jason: Fergie. A five-tool player. Need a rap breakdown? Fergie’s your girl. A rock-solid chorus? Behold the reason the Black Eyed Peas blew up last decade. Some stellar balladry? Look no further than the woman behind “Big Girls Don’t Cry.” Fergie’s a total steal in the final round, and the perfect puzzle piece to complete this masterwork
Joe: Janet Jackson from Rhythm Nation era can serve as the group’s de facto guide. She’s a militant dance leader with a message, and although she’s a superstar, she takes her time – she’s clearly not afraid to let others bask in the spotlight, because she knows when she returns, it’s all hers. Plus, a Britney/Janet duet/dance-off is the stuff dreams are made of.
Lyndsey’s Case for Her Group
Not only are Rihanna, Alicia Keys, SZA, Miley Cyrus and Stevie Nicks all incredibly talented artists, from their vocal prowess and songwriting skills to their stylish swagger — they’re bad ass. Aside from their talents in the studio, they’re all also activists who speak up for causes big and small, from supporting LGBTQ communities as Miley so strongly does to inspiring young girls to desire a natural look like Alicia has. But, since this is a girl group after all (even if only fictional), the mind-blowing pipes on each of these artists can’t be ignored. If these five females were to join forces, not only would they likely deliver an intensely captivating live show — each artist has an inclination to take stylistic risks in one direction or another — but the fusion of their pop, soul and southern influences would create a sound unlike anything else.
Andrew’s Case for His Group
Final Thoughts: My group has the star power, versatility and talent to both win now and grow for the future. It’s a group that should like playing with each other, too, and be able to make each other better. You don’t wanna see my starting five on the court this summer, for damn sure.
Taylor’s Case for Her Group
While three of these girls may still qualify as up-and-comers, they have two of the biggest pop stars (and social media powerhouses) of the 21st century to help them shape their artistry. And because there’s still room for Tinashe, Larsson and Steinfeld to grow, there likely wouldn’t be any stepping on toes if they formed a group — they can work together to highlight their individual strengths, as opposed to coming into the group headstrong. Plus, Swift and Gomez are best friends, so their love for one another could easily rub off on the other gals in the band. This girl group would definitely appeal to more of a younger crowd, but for the most part that’s the market that really makes girl groups and boy bands thrive. Combining the two most-followed Instagrammers with some of the most vocally talented newcomers, and topping it off with a built-in rabid fan base? This would be one unstoppable quintet.
Jason’s Case for His Group
My lineup is a wrecking crew of talent, star power and overall magnificence. The others can have the nuanced choices — I’ve got five leading ladies who appear to mesh well and have no weakest links among them. Picture a song with Robyn and Ciara trading soothing verses, Beyoncé dropping the hammer on the chorus, Fergie with the rap breakdown and Xtina crushing the post-bridge high notes. This hypothetical song… would be the greatest piece of girl group music ever recorded.
Joe’s Case for His Group
I’m not sure if my five would make a great album per se, but I have no doubt that putting Britney, Kesha, Katy, Brandy and Janet into a Spice World-esque musical film would be the most insane, entertaining musical movie since, well, Spice World. Or just have them do a five-part reworking of “The Boy Is Mine” and I’ll die happy.