Will Britney Spears dominate 2011 while putting Lady Gaga out of the pop music spotlight?
—Callie T., via the inbox
That spotlight you mention is bigger than you think. You can fit 20 Adeles in that pool of glory and still have room for Nicki Minaj's Don King bouffant. So even if Britney "dominates," as you so scarily put it, that doesn't mean that Lady Gaga will crawl off and live in obscurity for the rest of the year. Still, someone will likely win in the music sales department, and that person will likely be:
Either. Seriously. And that's not a cop out.
Insiders say it's impossible to predict sales this early in the year, pointing out that at this time in 2010, no one could see, say, Minaj coming.
Videos will also play a key part in sales this year, and we haven't even seen most of them yet. We've been treated to Britney shooting paint through her fingers—at least I hope that's paint—in the video for "Hold It Against Me." But Gaga's "Born This Way" video won't debut until Monday, and both acts have untold numbers of singles that could result in who-knows-how-many-more videos before 2011 is over.
"It's going to be really tight" between the two, says M. Tye Comer, editor of Billboard.com. "We're talking about two pop divas who have dominated the charts in the past, in their own way, and who each have rabid fan bases.
"They're both going to be at the top, and there's going to be a lot of back and forth through the year when it comes down to sales."
So far, the two appear to be neck-and-neck, though Gaga appears to be selling faster than Britney. According to Comer, Gaga's single has sold 957,000 downloads two weeks into sales, while Britney's single has had 963,000 downloads after six weeks.
Not that they won't have competition.
"Beyoncé is working on her new record," Comer adds. "She has not disclosed a release date, but we could be looking at a third or fourth quarter release from her, and she certainly can't be denied."
I mean, have you tried denying her? That's what I thought.