Our Panel of Judges
Enrique Iglesias, Latin Crossover King
Swizz Beatz, Studio Wizard
Jennifer Nettles, Sugarland Honey
Taio Cruz, Pop Chart Player
Single: ”Judas,” Lady Gaga
Iglesias: I think she’s really pushing boundaries in a lot of ways with this one. I like it when artists do that, and Gaga does it so well.
Swizz Beatz: It’s definitely a bold statement, which represents Gaga’s personality, and it’s controversial. That’s a great thing for a song: when it’s a conversation piece.
Nettles: Love! She brings dance music to a very unique place. I would love to be the Lady Gaga of country music. A machine-gun bra? A girl can dream.
Cruz: I like the repetition and I like the electro vibe; it’s very danceable. I personally probably wouldn’t write a song that’s so religious, but she gets away with it.
Single: ”Run the World (Girls),” Beyoncé
Iglesias: This is definitely different from everything else she’s done. But it stayed in my head all day!
Swizz Beatz: It’s hard for an artist like Beyoncé, because this beat has been out for a while already, and people are looking for the grand entrance, something new. But I think it’s cool.
Nettles: It kind of sounds like a marching-band rhythm, and you can’t not love that. Marching bands, babies, and puppies: Those are the three things people can’t say no to.
Cruz: Okay, I hated this song when I first heard it, because I love the Major Lazer beat and that’s two years old — I thought she would do something newer. But it does grow on you.
Single: ”I’m Into You,” Jennifer Lopez & Lil Wayne
Iglesias: I like this. I’ve done two songs now with Lil Wayne — he’s so talented and he always adds so much to the track.
Swizz Beatz: This is a great comeback. Finding her spot on Idol helped Jennifer get back into the public eye, and now she’s 100 percent on her A game. Wayne’s verse, as always, is amazing.
Nettles: She’s so sexy, and I love the credibility Lil Wayne brings as a rapper. I like that [Lopez] gets to play around with all the fun nonverbals in the song. This is great!
Single: ”Give Me Everything,” Pitbull
Iglesias: This is an awesome song — perfect for the car and in the clubs. Pitbull just knows how to crank it out.
Nettles: Fun! When I pull out my rap favorites, though, I go to Eminem, Kanye, Jay-Z, the Beastie Boys. This to me feels much more pop-driven.
Cruz: I didn’t like this so much. I like Pitbull, and I’m a fan of Ne-Yo. The idea is there, but it really doesn’t do much for me.
Single: ”Back Down South,” Kings of Leon
Iglesias: I’m really into the slide guitar on this track; it adds a nice country twist. I love this band in general. I hear they’re incredible live, but I haven’t seen them yet.
Swizz Beats: I’m a fan, so I might be biased. They make music that lasts for years, and I like the way they’re vibing on this track.
Nettles: I love the Kings. This is a campfire favorite for sure. It sounds like everyone has their drink in their hand and is swaying to the music and singing along.
Single: ”Party Rock Anthem,” LMFAO
Iglesias: The video for this is great! I think it’s a cool club mix; it has a nice kind of ’90s vibe.
Swizz Beatz: They stick to what they do best: keeping everyone moving. Whether you’re at a skateboard party or a hip-hop party, you can rock it.
Nettles: Hmm. If you want to go to a place to drink overpriced drinks and shout while you’re trying to pick someone up at a club, I think this one is for you.
Cruz: It’s awesome. It’s just fun and a summer anthem. And the video’s genius, with the shuffling.
Single: ”Next 2 You,” Chris Brown & Justin Bieber
Iglesias: It’s nice to hear him do a ballad! Justin’s a very talented kid.
Swizz Beatz: Oh, man. This is a no-brainer — unstoppable. Does 1 + 1 = 2? Yes. This collaboration was definitely a great move.
Nettles: We need those Tiger Beat pop icons in the music world! I would describe this as the teenage pool-party song of the summer; it transports me back to being 14.
Cruz: The chorus really pulls at girls’ heartstrings. I like songs that capture the emotion of what you’re trying to say really well.
Single: ”Pumped Up Kicks,” Foster the People
Iglesias: There’s a great groove on this song. Definitely an up-and-coming indie band.
Nettles: This is definitely one of my favorites. They craft the verse to be chill and relaxed and indie, and then it gets into that chorus, which is much more pop and shiny-sounding.
Single: ”(It) Feels So Good,” Steven Tyler
Nettles: Steven is most definitely still a rocker, but this is indicative of where he is right now — much more pointed in a pop direction. Kudos to him.
Cruz: This is right up my alley. It has all the classic elements that you crave from him: the voice you know so well, delivering an awesome feel-good — excuse the pun — record.