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Regardless of what jaded industry types say, the mainstream pop machine will remain unstoppable as long as essentials like Madonna, Britney and Christina are around.

Christina Aguilera: "Genie In a Bottle" and "Dirrty"
Considered the best new female vocalist in the last five years, "Genie In A Bottle" is the tune that propelled Christina into the pop spotlight and helped her win the Best New Artist Grammy in '99. As evidenced by "Dirrty," she's also fearless when it comes to incorporating new sounds and a few shock-tactics into her act.

  "Genie In a Bottle"
  Bands A-Z: Christina Aguilera
Britney Spears: "Baby One More Time" and "I'm A Slave 4 U"
Walking a fine line between innocent girl-next-door and sultry sex kitten, Britney Spears sparked the female teen-pop craze of the late '90s dressed in the now infamous Catholic schoolgirl uniform for the "Baby One More Time" video. Then puberty hit and Brit's sexy, midriff-baring dance moves in the steamy Neptunes-produced single "I'm a Slave For You" proved she's much more than just a pop tart.

  "Baby One More Time"
  "I'm A Slave 4 U"
  Bands A-Z: Britney Spears
Justin Timberlake/*NSYNC: "Bye Bye Bye" and Justified
One of the biggest-selling pop acts of all time, *NSYNC--with charismatic frontman Justin Timberlake--dazzled millions with slick dance moves and harmonious vocals. "Bye Bye Bye" is a top of the pops tune that helped move an astounding 2.4 million copies of No Strings Attached in its first week. Justin emerged from the supergroup shadows to update his sound with R&B and funk for his acclaimed solo debut Justified.

  "Bye Bye Bye"
  Bands A-Z: *NSYNC
  Bands A-Z: Justin Timberlake
Avril Lavigne: "Complicated" and "Sk8er Boi"
This guitar-wielding rock 'n' roll skater chick provided a refreshing new punk-pop sound with edgy attitude, playful lyrics and infectious energy. Her first single, the catchy "Complicated," thrust her into the spotlight, and her follow-up "Sk8er Boi" made sure she stayed there. Both are off her debut album Let's Go, which peaked at #2 on the album chart and sold over 5 million copies.

  "Sk8er Boi"
  Bands A-Z: Avril Lavigne
Backstreet Boys: "I Want It That Way" and Millennium
The Backstreet Boys were responsible for giving mouth-to-mouth to an ailing teen pop scene and pretty much creating Total Request Live. Their bubblegum ballad "I Want It That Way" showed off their sweet voices and harmonizing skills, and had teen girls everywhere crying and screaming every time their name was mentioned. It all came to fruition on Millennium, the 1999 album that featured a slew of hit singles, debuted at #1 and spent 10 weeks there, selling over 12 million copies.

  "I Want It That Way"
  Bands A-Z: Backstreet Boys
Jennifer Lopez: "Love Don't Cost A Thing" and On The 6
Fly girl/actress/singer J. Lo capitalized on her bodacious booty and uptown homegirl appeal to become a megastar. The sultry Latina's "Love Don't Cost a Thing" video featured trademark dance moves, a catchy beat, and some skimpy beach shots. With 1999's polished On the 6--a mix of R&B, Latin soul and pop--J. Lo proved she has what it takes to entertain with mainstream pop appeal.

  "Love Don't Cost A Thing"
  Bands A-Z: Jennifer Lopez
Beyoncé/Destiny's Child: "Survivor" and "Say My Name"
This bootylicious trio, led by Beyoncé "Foxxy" Knowles, blended pop and R&B--along with glam outfits and sexy dance moves--to become the biggest girl group around. With plenty of attitude and a pounding chorus, "Survivor," the title track of their Grammy-winning album, delivered the message that they could withstand their much-publicized line-up changes and come out on top. Boasting a strong voice and stage presence, é branched off into solo projects; the group hit "Say My Name" perfectly showcases her sweet vocals.

  "Say My Name"
  Bands A-Z: Beyoncé
  Bands A-Z: Destiny's Child
TLC: "Unpretty and CrazySexyCool
One of the biggest-selling female R&B groups of all time, TLC rose to superstardom with their over-the-top wardrobes, personal dramas, and unique mix of urban soul, hip-hop and funk-pop. The hit "Unpretty," off their 1999 comeback album Fanmail, proved that despite group quibbles, bankruptcy, illness and criminal charges, the girls still had the necessary edge to crank out stellar pop cuts. The album was a fitting follow-up to the blockbuster CrazySexyCool, which won the 1995 Grammy for Best R&B album and featured strong, seductive singles that showed variety and maturity.

  Bands A-Z: TLC
Pink: "Get the Party Started" and M!ssundaztood
Pink has managed to break free from the teen bubblegum scene to create her own unique dance-pop, R&B, hard rock sound. Revealing her playful side, the catchy "Get The Party Started" is impossible to resist and has became her biggest hit to date. The song comes from her 4.7 million-selling second album M!ssundaztood, which has made Pink a household color.

  "Get the Party Started"
  Bands A-Z: Pink
Madonna: "American Life" and Like A Virgin
One of the biggest music icons of the past 20 years and still going strongÉMadonna has reinvented herself endlessly, manipulating her music, her image and the media with groundbreaking videos, overt sexuality, and pop tunes that you just can't dispute. Her latest single "American Life" is a departure from her previous work, expressing disillusionment with materialism. It's a far cry from 1984's bubbly Like A Virgin, the album that made Madonna an international celebrity and sold over 10 million. Both offer a well-rounded representation of a pop genius worthy of any essential summer list.

  "American Life"
  Bands A-Z: Madonna

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