[artist id="3061469"]Lady Gaga[/artist] has met the Queen of England, but the avant-pop star now finds herself in even more rarified company in the new issue of Time magazine. Lady G takes her place alongside such luminaries as President Obama, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Apple's Steve Jobs, "Avatar" director James Cameron, "American Idol" judge Simon Cowell and Oprah Winfrey in the new World's Most Influential People list.
"An artist's job is to take a snapshot — be it through words or sound, lyrics or song — that explains what it's like to be alive at that time. Lady Gaga's art captures the period we're in right now," wrote pal Cyndi Lauper in the issue, dubbing Gaga a performance artist (a sculpture, actually) more than just a pop singer. "Gaga's lyrics are incredibly literary. When 'Bad Romance' starts, the music grabs your ear immediately. Then she opens with the line 'I want your ugly/ I want your disease,' and all of a sudden you're listening. Most of the stuff on the radio is not very clever, but Gaga presents her ideas in a sophisticated manner. She has an incredible pop sensibility."
In addition to leaders and thinkers such as the president, Pandora founder Tim Westergren, electric car pioneer Elon Musk (feted by "Iron Man" director Jon Favreau) and Oscar winner Sandra Bullock (in an essay written by "The Proposal" co-star Betty White), the list contains a number of other young pop stars on the make.
[artist id="1071"]Fleetwood Mac's[/artist] Stevie Nicks says [artist id="2389485"]Taylor Swift[/artist] "reminds me of myself in her determination and childlike nature." The rock icon, who shared a microphone with the 20-year-old country pop sensation at the Grammys earlier this year, marvels at Swift's rare, special innocence and charm.
"This girl writes the songs that make the whole world sing, like Neil Diamond or Elton John," Nicks wrote. "She sings, she writes, she performs, she plays great guitar. Taylor can do ballads that could be considered pop or rock and then switch back into country. When I turned 20 years old, I had just made the serious decision to never be a dental assistant. Taylor just turned 20, and she's won four Grammys. ... Taylor is writing for the universal woman and for the man who wants to know her. ... It's women like her who are going to save the music business."
[movie id="369195"]"Twilight"[/movie] star [movieperson id="365131"]Robert Pattinson[/movieperson] also made the list, with [movie id="414921"]"New Moon"[/movie] director Chris Weitz applauding the fashion in which the 23-year-old British actor has handled the instant, crushing fame of the vampire movie franchise. "Though I am continually impressed by the aplomb with which he handles the hysteria, I occasionally think he would take it all back if given the chance," Weitz wrote of the "reserved, bookish" weirdo who would just as soon spend a quiet night in a corner table at a pub with friends. "We haven't seen a tenth of what he can do onscreen."
Also making the list is late-night survivor Conan O'Brien, the former comedy writer that new workmate George Lopez admits he was once skeptical about.
"When Conan O'Brien, 47, took over 'Late Night' in 1993, comics like me were skeptical," wrote Lopez, who will push his TBS show back one hour to make room for O'Brien's new talker later this year. "He wasn't a performer; he was a writer. But then I watched, and I recognized his unique perspective. He said things that made me laugh, and I started to feel him. He kept fighting — and I started to respect him. In the world of comedy, his was a Cinderella story in size-15 shoes. ... Doing a talk show is much harder than it looks. Some nights are great; others, you feel like you're up to your neck in quicksand. Conan's tenacity and wit have been an inspiration to me on my own late-night show. ... Welcome back to TV, Conan. I've got a good feeling about this. If there's anything people love more than a happy ending, it's a big comeback."
Do you think anyone is missing from Time's list? Share your own Influential People list in the comments.