In 2010, Lady Gaga battled Taylor Swift for female pop domination, but in 2011, Gaga is going up against none other than career pop star Britney Spears. It should be a truly epic battle of the blondes, and it's made even more interesting because the two not only share sonic similarities, but also have very similar fanbases of loyal devotees waiting to hear new notes from the chart-topping lasses.
In 2008, both Gaga and Spears released new music (Gaga with The Fame and Britney with Circus), and the ladies each released compilation albums in 2009 (Gaga's The Fame Monster and Britney's second greatest-hits collection, The Singles Collection), but never have their releases really come face to face as they will this year.
Gaga is set to release her single in February, with her full album, Born This Way, to follow sometime after. Meanwhile, Britney will have her first single out very early in 2011, with the album set for release in March.
So, which bombshell will rise to the top of the heap? MTV News asked music critics to weigh in.
"I think the thing about Gaga is: Her persona is really experimental, but her music isn't, and I think she's gonna have to really come out with some different stuff to make it more interesting," writer Julianne Escobedo-Shepherd proposed. "I think her fanbase is so solid that she'll be fine no matter what she does."
New York Times writer Jon Caramanica noted that no one can guess what Gaga has up her sleeve for her next album, but it will be interesting.
"I see Gaga changing every six months," he said. "I think she's trying new ideas. Maybe they're not all hits or they're not all successful, but I think she's trying new things, so if you look at how Gaga's going to evolve, I don't think we can say where Gaga's gonna land," he explained, "but I think we can say reliably it's going to be really interesting."
How does a vet like Britney compete with a newbie? Escobedo-Shepherd explained that Spears is actually in a great place to do it.
"She's got a blank slate right now," she said. "People don't know what to expect from her. I think the fact that maybe she's being more experimental shows that she feels freer a little bit, and I think it's going to show in the music," she predicted. "In the music sphere, I think that Britney's gonna win, but Gaga's so on top you can't top her, even if you're Britney."
RapRadar.com's Elliot Wilson noted that right now, "It's Gaga's game to lose," and Complex's Noah Callahan said Spears' vet status could work in her favor.
"The thing with Britney Spears that makes it work for her is that she's been around for so long that people are invested in her narrative, and even when the records are so-so, they still have the desire to see her succeed as an individual," he said. "I don't really know what to expect from Lady Gaga in 2011. I do know that she will definitely throw us a curveball and do something that is unexpected."
Do you expect Gaga or Britney to rule 2011? Give us your prediction in the comments below!