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Is Harry Styles The Wettest Boy In Pop?

An investigation into the relative moisture of male pop stars

On the cover of his forthcoming debut album, Harry Styles is soaking wet. The image stands out in a pop culture landscape saturated with bone-dry boy singers. Since women are often pictured drenched as, like, a sexy thing — think car washes or Sports Illustrated's swimsuit edition — appearing damp in official promotional material can be read as a feminine look. But Harry isn't the first wet boy in pop music; he joins a long and proud lineage of boys who were willing to get completely soaking wet for their art.

Given the storied past of wet pop singers, one question comes to mind: Who is the wettest boy in pop? We've done some research on the matter, and here are our findings.

  • George Michael

    Released early in 1996, George Michael's "Fastlove" video might narrowly be the first entry in the wet boy genre. The singer briefly embraces some intense indoor rain in the futuristic video, getting wholly and thoroughly wet. Not the wettest ever, but 7/10 for history.

  • Michael Jackson

    MJ probably isn't the wettest ever pop star, either, but he did participate in an important tradition with the release of his 1996 video for "Stranger in Moscow," where he lets himself get soaked in a downpour. Given that this is the only instance of Michael getting really, truly wet, we'd say he's about 4/10 here: not that wet.

  • 5 Seconds of Summer

    The Aussie foursome filmed a quick video for the fans in a swimming pool back in 2013. The full submersion is a point in their favor (even their hair is wet), but a tweet from just a few months later shows Ashton staying dry inside while his fans line up in the rain behind him. Seems like someone isn't that committed to being wet. 2/10.

  • John Legend

    Not only does John Legend dive into a swimming pool for the "All of Me" video, he also gets caught in the rain for his verse in Meghan Trainor's "Like I'm Gonna Lose You" video. However, it's hard not to notice that John isn't venturing into the deep of his own accord; in both cases, women are the ones encouraging him to get wet. Not a true merman, but still: 6/10.

  • Justin Timberlake

    JT gets good and drenched in his "Cry Me a River" video, but he could have easily gotten wetter. There's a pool right there that he just ignores in favor of setting up some petty shit to get back at his ex-girlfriend. More wetness, less bitterness next time. 5/10.

  • The 1975

    The band splash around in a hot tub for their "Love Me" video, but Matty Healy doesn't seem to want to submerge his luscious curls. 3/10.

  • Shawn Mendes

    Wow, OK, Shawn Mendes — without any prompting — gets completely submerged in a sinking car in his "Mercy" video. He's truly a man of the water, and this is only the beginning. 8/10.

  • Backstreet Boys

    The "Quit Playing Games (With My Heart)" video is an iconic example of pop boy wetness. All five Backstreet Boys get totally drenched in a rainstorm, and because it perfectly reflects their tumultuous emotional states, they can't get enough of it. 9/10 — one point for each wet boy and four bonus points for acting.

  • Justin Bieber
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    Justin frequently gets soaked during his concerts, especially when he sings "Sorry." He also dives into the ocean in his "Company" video. However, he missed a big opportunity to film an underwater video for the song that's literally called "Cold Water," so he loses a couple of points. 7/10 could be wetter.

  • Harry Styles

    He's the whole reason we're doing this investigation. Not only is he wet on the cover of his debut album, he's wet on the cover for his single "Sign of the Times" and drowning in the trailer for Dunkirk. He even got rained on in One Direction's "Steal My Girl" video. 9/10 — very wet but we'll need to see his whole movie and hear his whole album before awarding him a perfect 10.

  • Sugar Ray

    The '90s pop rock band Sugar Ray love the water. There's a pool on the cover of their classic album 14:59, and they're completely submerged in the video for "Fly." In the "Someday" video, they splash around in the ocean, and singer Mark McGrath hangs out in a fountain in the video for "Falls Apart." No other pop act has committed so deeply to being wet. 10/10, wettest boys.

Sorry, Harry — looks like Mark McGrath is the prince of moisture. For now.


VMAs 2017