There are many signposts that mark an artist’s arrival: a Grammy, an Oscar, multiplatinum albums, hit movies and TV shows and critical acclaim. The acts that made it onto Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World list have all of that and a little something else that sets them apart from the pack.
Which is why Jennifer Lawrence, Justin Timberlake, Lena Dunham, Jimmy Fallon, Beyoncé, Jay-Z and Christina Aguilera take their place on this year’s list alongside such politicians, fashion and technology titans as Michael Kors, Elon Musk (PayPal), President Obama, New Jersey governor Chris Christie and Pope Francis.
Here’s what the magazine’s celebrity profilers had to say about them.
“When all the work is done, she can step onto a stage and draw every single person in the audience into an intimate experience. No one has that voice, no one moves the way she moves, no one can hold an audience the way she does. And she keeps growing and evolving in the ways that she expresses herself as a singer, as a performer and now as a mother.” — director Baz Luhrmann
“Frank is brilliant. The day I started writing with him, it was clear that he has a very interesting mind and a distinctive way of expressing himself. He was fearless and innately creative. … I think Frank’s career will be defined by his fearlessness and his artistic freedom. He has the talent, the ability and the brilliance to have an impact for a long time. He will follow his muse wherever it goes — he’s not the kind of artist to adhere to everyone else’s schedule. That’s what makes him special.” — John Legend
“You’ll remember where you were when you first felt it, how you were stuck to one spot like a small animal considering its end. The Jennifer Lawrence Stare. It cuts a searing swath in your gut. A reckoning. I remember going to the cutting rooms of ’Winter’s Bone.’ I thought, Sure, this girl can act. But, man, this girl can also just be. All of those painful secrets in her face, the feeling that there’s some terrible past that’s left impossibly angled bone and weariness in its wake.” — Jodie Foster
“He’s a brilliant comedian. A talented musician. A spot-on impersonator. Jimmy has redefined and recharged late-night television with a genuine excitement and energy that gets under your skin.” — Justin Timberlake
“Lena’s power lies largely in her self-awareness and wit. Like all great comics, she has a joke ready to deflect any jeer. … Lena’s true power, though, lies in her transparency. She is unflinchingly, unnervingly honest. She exposes, beneath all that bare skin, a multitude of shortcomings: acute self-involvement, obsessive-compulsive behavior, overeating, oversharing … Lena’s unique lack of vanity or shame allows us to consider that we may also be able to accept and express ourselves fully.” — Claire Danes
“His star power comes from the fact that he sounds like he’s having fun when he makes music, and he can read a song — meaning as a singer or songwriter you can feel the emotion. You think, ’I can relate to that’ or ’I believe in that,’ and then the listener can feel it too. … I think it’s a great thing when you do the most you can with the time you have in life. Justin has accomplished a lot at a young age, taking advantage of all the possibilities, and yet he’s found time to give of himself too — he gets and gives back.” — Stevie Wonder
“When singer-songwriter-producer Miguel performed on ’Saturday Night Live,’ Mariah Carey sent an ebullient tweet: ’slam dunk. R&B is alive!’ That statement is not as simple as it might sound … what has nourished that tradition over the past 70 years, though — what has kept it not just alive but thriving — is what makes Miguel’s recent music so special: constant innovation, formal daring, unexpected sources of inspiration and emotional directness.” — Time music critic Douglas Wolk
“The first time I heard Christina Aguilera sing, I was totally blown away. I love the way she sings. Her tone is beautiful, and her voice has got so much power, yet so much sensitivity — and technically, I think, she’s flawless. … Without a doubt, she’s one of the most talented artists the world has ever seen and heard, and I think she’s going to continue to amaze us for many, many years to come.” — Celine Dion
What do you think of the Time 100 list this year? Sound off in the comments!