Summer Songs Flashback: Before She Won ‘Dancing With The Stars,’ Nicole Scherzinger Owned 2005

All this week, MTV News will be going through the nominees for this year’s official summer jam. You’ll be able to vote all week on the official 2010 summer song poll for one of our five nominees, which include Usher’s “OMG,” Katy Perry’s “California Gurls,” B.o.B’s “Airplanes,” 3OH!3’s “First Kiss” and Lady Gaga’s “Alejandro.” You can also endorse your own pick for the official 2010 summer song on our poll.

In addition to the new songs, we’re going to take a look back at some classic summer songs from the past 10 years. Today’s flashback takes us to 2004 and 2005, when American somehow thought John Kerry could be President and everyone got angry at the end of the “Star Wars” prequels.

2004: For one reason or another, 2004 is kind of tricky. Rightfully so, the country was distracted by the extremely contentious election that played out over the summer, which didn’t leave a lot of time for partying (which is perhaps why dire ballads like Hoobastank’s “The Reason” managed to rule the radio for a bulk of the sunshine months). Entries from Usher’s Confessions scored a bunch of heat, though neither “Burn” nor “Confessions Part II” really work as a summer jam (“Burn” is too much of a ballad, while “Confessions Part II” is a little too smooth). (For the record, “Yeah!” peaked too early in the year.) Britney Spears had a huge hit in “Toxic,” but there’s something slightly cold about the production of that song that keeps it from being a true jam. The jam of 2004 comes down to a tie between Black Eyed Peas’ “Let’s Get Retarded” (which was known to the NBA-watching audience as “Let’s Get It Started”) and JoJo’s “Leave (Get Out)” (which actually borrows a lot of elements from Blu Cantrell’s “Hit ’Em Up Style (Oops!),” the official jam of 2001). But even those seem a little soft, as Black Eyed Peas had a much bigger summer jam in 2009, and it’s uncertain how sticky the JoJo song actually was. Thanks for bumming us out, 2004. Other Contenders: Maroon 5’s “This Love” or “She Will Be Loved” (too many guitars); Kelly Clarkson’s “Breakaway” (too emo); Nelly and Tim McGraw’s “Over and Over” (not “Hot In Herre” enough).

2005: With the election in the rearview mirror, everybody got back to the business of having fun in the sun. Whereas 2004 was a bit of a sleepy summer, 2005’s cup runneth over. Though Kelly Clarkson’s “Since U Been Gone” is just as intense as “Breakaway,” you can shout along to it as you’re driving down the highway. Gwen Stefani’s “Hollaback Girl” is perfect, because it has a great beat, a totally ridiculous chorus that you can chant along to and the spelling of the word “bananas.” Just about every song from 50 Cent’s The Massacre was a jam (especially “Candy Shop”). But the summer belonged to “Dancing With the Stars” champion Nicole Scherzinger and her Pussycat Dolls, whose “Don’t Cha” was absolutely killer. Other Contenders: Ludacris’ “Pimpin’ All Over the World” (peaked too late); Amerie’s “1 Thing” (peaked too early); the Killers’ “Mr. Brightside” (too Vegas-y).

What were your favorite summer jams from 2004 and 2005? Let us know in the comments!