ON THE CHARTS
WINNER: Jason Mraz
His blithe acoustic ditty ”I’m Yours” spent a record-busting 72 weeks (and counting) on the Hot 100, making it a hit for not one but two summers.
After peaking at No. 37 with ”Get On Your Boots,” they failed to crack the top 50 in recent months with singles ”Magnificent” and ”I’ll Go Crazy if I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight.”
WINNER: Britney Spears
The pop star’s triumphant Circus tour put her back in the game; head-shaving shenanigans were forgotten, replaced by healthy, happy Brit 2.0.
LOSER: Heidi Montag
The blond reality Beelzebub’s ”performance” at the televised Miss Universe pageant was a study in lame Britney imitation. We’ve seen drunken drag queens do it better.
WINNER: Kara DioGuardi
The Idol judge won points for co-penning seasonal hits like Cobra Starship’s ”Good Girls Go Bad” and Kelly Clarkson’s ”I Do Not Hook Up”…
LOSER: Kara DioGuardi
…and forfeited them for releasing her own version of her much-maligned Idol winner’s single ”No Boundaries” after it was unceremoniously dropped from the show’s summer tour.
WINNER: The Black Eyed Peas
They ”Boom Boom Pow”ed their way to new airwave-saturating heights, quieting doubters after a four-year absence.
LOSER: Lil Wayne
Repeated delays of his still-AWOL Rebirth made for a boom-boom-pssst letdown.
WINNER: Darius Rucker
Hootie who? The onetime head Blowfish shed his former skin to become a Nashville solo star. His Learn to Live delivered three country No. 1’s.
LOSER: Sugar Ray
Music for Cougars left most kitties cold.
PERSISTENT POP HOPEFUL
WINNER: Keri Hilson
The first two singles from her debut failed to ignite; the third, ”Turnin’ Me On,” cracked the top 15, and the fourth, ”Knock You Down,” became a bona fide smash.
LOSER: Brooke Hogan
Her third album, July’s The Redemption, was not so much redeeming as spleen-reaming.
WINNER: Michael Jackson
After his death, the King of Pop outsold every other artist for weeks. Alas, a technicality disallowing already-released albums from the Billboard 200 kept him stuck on the lesser-known catalog chart.
LOSER: Everyone else
Fabolous, Maxwell, and the NOW That’s What I Call Music! franchise, among others, all had No. 1 debuts that came with an asterisk, thanks to MJ.