Avril and Pink gave pop a hard edge this year, leaving old-schoolers Britney and Christina in their pop dust

By Brian Hiatt
Updated December 20, 2002 at 05:00 AM EST
Credit: Avril Lavigne: Kevin Mazur/WireImage.com

Life got, um, complicated for pulchritudinous pop stars this year. With sk8er girl Avril Lavigne and reformed R&B diva Pink leading the charge toward a fully clothed, guitar-heavy brand of pop, Britney and Christina suddenly seemed so turn-of-the-century. In all, femme poppers had their ups and downs.

THE YEAR Explodes from obscurity with first single, ”Complicated.” Frustrates English teachers with ”Sk8er Boi.” Wins Best New Artist at VMAs. Inadvertently moons audience at the MuchMusic Video Awards.
THE RESULTS Quadruple-platinum debut CD ”Let Go” is the third-biggest seller of the year.

THE YEAR Loses virginity in movie debut, ”Crossroads.” Breaks up with Justin Timberlake and spends months denying it. Is booed in Mexico after cutting short a show.
THE RESULTS ”Crossroads” scores a so-so $37 million; her last single, ”Boys (Coed Remix),” tanks. Announces a six-month hiatus.

THE YEAR Disses Britney on ”Don’t Let Me Get Me.” Launches headlining tour. Wins Best Female Video at the VMAs; is ”too drunk” to accept the award. Shoots a cameo in ”Charlie’s Angels 2.”
THE RESULTS Quadruple-platinum CD ”M!ssundaztood” is in its 54th week on the Billboard 200 chart.

THE YEAR Renames herself Xtina. Releases parade-o’-perversions ”Dirrty” video. Brags of oh-so-private piercings. Declares preference for men with ”flava.”
THE RESULTS ”Dirrty” flops; ”Saturday Night Live” attacks. Album ”Stripped” hangs on in the top 10, but image problems persist.