As the bell rings on 2019 (and on another decade), we've got a new crop of breakout stars to crown! It was the year we celebrated "Hot Girl Summer," fawned over Baby Yoda, and took a ride down the "Old Town Road." In celebration of those memories and more, take a look at the "freshman class" of 2019, comprised of the scene-stealers and chart-toppers who made this year one for the books. These are the fresh faces you'll be seeing more of in 2020 and beyond...
Lil Nas X: Most Outgoing
Breakout song: The TikTok sensation-turned-cultural phenomenon, "Old Town Road"
How he ruled 2019: You already know. Lil Nas X rewrote the history books with his meteoric country-trap oddity, which spawned four remixes, became the longest-reigning Hot 100 hit of all time, and sparked passionate debates about what genre actually means. But his breakout wasn't just a fluke — Nas X's debut EP, 7, gave us his follow-up single "Panini," which he performed at the VMAs after winning a pair of Moon Person awards. All the while, the Georgia rapper stayed true to himself by coming out as gay over the summer and constantly wowing us with his seemingly endless collection of cowboy glam ensembles. What a ride it's been.
What's next: The 2020 Grammys, where he's nominated for six awards, including Best New Artist and Album of the Year; a new album that he's reportedly working on with Pharrell
Hunter Schafer: Best Dressed
Breakout role: As the magnetic new kid in town, Jules, in HBO's provocative teen drama Euphoria
How she ruled 2019: Schafer was a revelation in her first-ever acting role, starring opposite Zendaya and a stacked cast of fellow newcomers. Together, the cast of Euphoria tackled issues like drug addiction, sexuality, and mental health in candid style, and it was particularly personal for Schafer — the model and actress worked with show creator Sam Levinson to make sure details of Jules's story mirrored her own experience as a trans teen.
What's next: More glittery eye makeup action in the second season of Euphoria, expected in 2020
Rosalía: Biggest Flirt
Breakout song: "Con Altura," an homage to classic reggaeton featuring J Balvin
How she ruled 2019: It's tough for an artist who sings predominantly in Spanish to cross over into mainstream attention in the United States, but Rosalía is doing exactly that. Spain's breakout flamenco pop star dominated the Latin Grammys with five wins, including Album of the Year for 2018's El Mal Querer (which made her the first woman to win the award since Shakira in 2006). Prime performances at the VMAs, Coachella, and Lollapalooza helped boost her profile, and along the way, she never stopped releasing new music, like "Aute Cuture," "Millionária," and the Ozuna-assisted "Yo x Ti, Tu x Mi." She and J Balvin also took home the VMA for Best Latin for "Con Altura," which became the No. 2 most-viewed music video of the year, and one of only two videos from 2019 to reach the Billion Views Club.
What's next: Her hotly anticipated third album; hopefully her oft-teased collaboration with Billie Eilish
Florence Pugh: Most Outspoken
Breakout role: As traumatized college student Dani in Midsommar; as headstrong artist Amy March in Little Women
How she ruled 2019: Pugh scored big with three (very different) films this year, beginning with her role as pro wrestler Paige in Fighting With My Family. From there, she continued showcasing her versatility in the modern horror classic Midsommar, and then stole scenes as the littlest but most popular sister in Greta Gerwig's adaptation of Little Women.
What's next: Making her Marvel debut alongside Scarlett Johansson in 2020's Black Widow
BLACKPINK: Best Dancers
Ages: 22 (Lisa and Rosé), 23 (Jennie), 24 (Jisoo)
Breakout song: The deliciously maximalist "Ddu-Du Ddu-Du"; the explosive "Kill This Love"
How they ruled 2019: The K-pop queens released their five-track Kill This Love EP this year, embarked on their first North American arena tour, and made history at Coachella by becoming the first Korean girl group to perform at the festival. All the while, the quartet continued churning out explosive visuals, with "Ddu-Du Ddu-Du" becoming the most-viewed K-pop group music video in YouTube's history, as well as the highest-charting single by a Korean girl group on the Hot 100. If you're not a Blink yet, what are you waiting for?
What's next: The final dates of their Japan Dome Tour; a new project reportedly slated for early 2020
Megan Thee Stallion: Life of the Party
Breakout song: "Cash Shit" with fellow breakout rapper DaBaby
How she ruled 2019: She's the only breakout star on this list who owned an entire season; no big deal. Meg turned her viral "Hot Girl Summer" meme into a lifestyle, then a bona fide banger featuring Nicki Minaj and Ty Dolla $ign. But that was just the beginning for the Texan star, who also released her debut album Fever, collaborated with Chance the Rapper, and earned a spot on XXL's Freshman Class. Oh, and she achieved all that while continuing to study health administration at Texas Southern University.
What's next: A collaboration with Normani for the Harley Quinn flick Birds of Prey
Maya Hawke: Undercover Rockstar
Breakout role: As the feisty, ice cream-scooping Robin in Stranger Things
How she ruled 2019: It's not easy for a new character to stand out among the beloved Stranger Things gang, but Hawke's Robin managed to do just that. Along with helping to save Hawkins from scary creatures and evil Russians, Steve Harrington's partner in crime also became the series' first LGBTQ+ character. Hawke followed that performance with a small but memorable role in Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and then kicked off her music career with her first two singles, "Stay Open" and "To Love a Boy."
What's next: A starring role opposite Andrew Garfield in Gia Coppola's Mainstream, a drama about a love triangle; her impending debut album
DaBaby: Best Smile
Breakout song: The brazenly confident "Suge"
How he ruled 2019: The Charlotte native's second album of the year, KIRK — released just six months after Baby on Baby — shot to No. 1 on the charts and established him as the most fun breakout rapper of the year. His super-sized personality was a blast to watch on Saturday Night Live, earning him a coveted co-sign from Drake and stealing the show on his collaborations with Lizzo, Camila Cabello, Post Malone, Megan Thee Stallion, and Chance the Rapper. He also notched the most Hot 100 hits of any artist (regardless of genre) this year.
What's next: More tour dates beginning in February, along with a few European festivals; hopefully more of his wildly creative videos
Naomi Scott: Teacher's Pet
Breakout role: As Princess Jasmine in Disney's billion-dollar blockbuster Aladdin
How she ruled 2019: Scott's empowered take on the classic Disney princess clearly struck a chord with audiences this year — so much so that her big ballad from the movie, "Speechless," has been shortlisted for an Oscar. After that, the British-Indian actress starred alongside Kristen Stewart and Ella Balinska in the modernized Charlie's Angels reboot.
What's next: Scott hasn't officially announced any upcoming projects, but here's hoping there's more girl power action in her future!
Lewis Capaldi: Class Clown
Breakout song: The ugly-cry ballad of the year, "Someone You Loved"
How he ruled 2019: The ginger-haired Scot's signature bleeding-heart hit topped the U.K. charts back in March, and then caught fire in the U.S., where it reigned on the Hot 100 for seven weeks. As the world cried its eyes out, Capaldi dropped his debut album, Divinely Uninspired to a Hellish Extent, and released more tales of burning heartbreak, including "Before You Go" and "Bruises." Throughout his rapid rise to the top, he's become a social media sensation, filling his feed with sarcastic, hilarious, wisecracking humor; basically the exact opposite of his tortured-romantic persona. This guy's got #layers.
What's next: Joining his best buddy Niall Horan on the Nice to Meet Ya Tour, which kicks off in North America in April; vying for the Song of the Year award at the 2020 Grammys
Kaitlyn Dever: Miss Congeniality
Breakout role: As Amy in the coming-of-age comedy Booksmart; as sexual assault survivor Marie in Unbelievable
How she ruled 2019: Dever and Beanie Feldstein were a movie dream team (and total BFF goals) in Booksmart, Olivia Wilde's critically adored directorial debut. Not one to be typecast, the actress then showed audiences a different side of herself in the Netflix series Unbelievable, playing a girl accused of lying about being raped. The gut-wrenching performance recently earned her a Golden Globe nomination.
What's next: Her first Globes appearance and presumably more big-screen (or silver screen) projects on the way
Lizzo: Most Popular
Breakout song: The two-year-old smash "Truth Hurts;" the twerk-friendly "Juice"
How she ruled 2019: The Detroit-born, Houston-raised singer, rapper, and flutist has been "100 percent that bitch" for a few years now, but the world finally caught up with her grind this year. After her 2017 anthem "Truth Hurts" caught fire and topped the charts for nearly two consecutive months, it was all Lizzo, all day. She released her debut major label album, Cuz I Love You, in the spring, set fire to nearly every awards show stage, collaborated with the likes of Ariana Grande and Charli XCX, and expanded the idea of what a pop icon looks and sounds like.
What's next: Leading the pack of the 2020 Grammy nominees with eight nods to her name
Ali Wong: Best Laugh
Breakout role: As celebrity chef Sasha in the laugh-out-loud Netflix rom-com Always Be My Maybe
How she ruled 2019: Wong was doing just fine before her unofficial Netflix takeover this year — her breakout stand-up specials Baby Cobra and Hard Knock Wife established her as a budding comedy superstar long ago. But Always Be My Maybe was the feature-length vehicle that really showed off her chops. Wong wrote, produced, and starred in the comedy, about a chef and her childhood best friend who reconnect many years later, despite Keanu Reeves's best attempts to come between them. Also on the Netflix front, Wong costarred with Tiffany Haddish in the adult animated comedy Tuca & Bertie and lent her voice to the hilarious Big Mouth.
What's next: Playing the hard-drinking Gotham detective Renee Montoya in the Harley Quinn movie Birds of Prey; a voice role in Pixar's Onward; a book of essays titled Dear Girls written for her two daughters
Maggie Rogers: Most School Spirit
Breakout song: It's still "Alaska," which made waves when a video of her playing it to Pharrell at NYU went viral in 2016
How she ruled 2019: "Alaska" is Rogers's signature song and an essential piece of her origin story, but in 2019, she proved she's so much more than that. Her debut album Heard It in a Past Life, which she wrote and co-produced, arrived in January to nearly universal acclaim, spawning indie-radio hits like "Light On" and "Burning." Shortly after, she embarked on a yearlong tour, played Coachella, attended the Met Gala, and even guested with Dead & Company at Madison Square Garden — all while dazzling crowds with her stellar rotation of capes and jumpsuits.
What's next: Vying for the Best New Artist award at the 2020 Grammys
Isabela Merced: Most Changed Since Freshman Year
Breakout role: As everyone's favorite explorer in the adventure-packed Dora and the Lost City of Gold
How she ruled 2019: The triple-threat was a true joy to watch in the big-screen adaptation of Dora the Explorer, and she followed it up with the charming Netflix holiday rom-com Let It Snow. But Merced doesn't just shine onscreen — she released her sassy debut single "Papi" in October, alongside a video packed with nods to her Peruvian heritage.
What's next: Playing Jason Momoa's daughter in the revenge thriller Sweet Girl
Taron Egerton: Class Heartthrob
Breakout role: As flamboyant musical icon Elton John in Rocketman
How he ruled 2019: Before this year, the British actor had already made big cinematic splashes in Kingsman: The Golden Circle and Robin Hood. But 2019 was really his year, thanks to his no-holds-barred performance in the biggest musical biopic since Bohemian Rhapsody. Impressively, Egerton even performed John's songs in Rocketman and joined the musician on a duet written for the film's end credits. Beat that, Rami Malek!
What's next: Reprising his role as Johnny Gorilla in Sing 2, the sequel to the 2016 animated film; plenty of awards show fun — he's already earned Golden Globe and SAG nominations, and there will likely be more to come
Summer Walker: Most Creative
Breakout song: "Girls Need Love," a candid slow jam about a woman's right to voice her sexual needs
How she ruled 2019: Walker's breakout year has seen high highs and low lows. Amid an onslaught of public scrutiny and her own mental health struggles, the R&B singer decided to cut her The First & Last Tour short, claiming that her intensive schedule "doesn't really coexist with my social anxiety and my introverted personality." Despite that tough decision, 2019 was certainly kind to Walker, who released her fantastic debut album Over It, won Best New Artist at the BET Soul Train Awards, and scored a feature from Drake for the "Girls Need Love" remix.
What's next: It's unclear, but hopefully Walker will continue to do whatever makes her happy!
Kristine Froseth: Class Heartbreaker
Breakout role: As enigmatic Alaska Young in Looking for Alaska
How she ruled 2019: After turning heads as villain-cum-BFF Veronica in Sierra Burgess Is a Loser, Froseth landed roles in two of the year's buzziest YA shows: Netflix's The Society and Hulu's Looking For Alaska. The latter project was one of the most fiercely anticipated — it's based on a mega-popular John Green novel, after all — and fans were impressed by the Norwegian-born actress and model's take on the beloved literary character.
What's next: Season 2 of The Society, expected to debut in 2020; the upcoming drama The Assistant, starring Julia Garner
FINNEAS: Best Hair
Breakout song: Billie Eilish's No. 1 hit "Bad Guy," which he co-wrote and produced
How he ruled 2019: Eilish made our list last year, and now it's her brother and right-hand man's turn. Along with producing his sis's debut album and performing with her around the world, Finneas also found time to release his debut EP. Blood Harmony features quirky, catchy tracks like "Shelter" and "I Lost a Friend," and really came alive on his own sold-out North American tour. Additional production credits on Selena Gomez's "Lose You to Love Me" and Camila Cabello's Romance album proved Finneas certainly knows his way around a pop hit — so expect to hear more from him next year.
What's next: Eilish's massive 2020 tour around the world; his first full-length album; a collaboration with Tove Lo; plenty of chances to win at the Grammys, where he's up for three awards alongside Billie and two awards on his own, including Producer of the Year
Jharrel Jerome: Most Likely to Succeed
Breakout role: As Korey Wise, one of the Central Park Five who was wrongfully convicted of rape in 1989, in When They See Us
How he ruled 2019: Jerome first caught our attention with his affecting performance in the 2016 Oscar winner Moonlight, but this year was his biggest yet. After starring in Ava DuVernay's heralded Netflix miniseries, he made history in the fall by becoming the first Afro-Latino actor to win an Emmy.
What's next: Concrete Cowboys, a film about an urban horseback riding club, opposite Idris Elba and Stranger Things star Caleb McLaughlin
Baby Yoda: Most Likely to be President
Age: A very young 50
Breakout role: As himself in the first-ever live-action Star Wars series, The Mandalorian
How he ruled 2019: The Disney+ series only premiered in November, but Baby Yoda is already the biggest breakout, um, force of the year. The internet can't get enough of the nonverbal (as of yet, at least) toddler, who's become a literal life-saver for his travel buddy, Mando. The always-helmeted bounty hunter is all brooding and tough on the outside, but even he isn't immune to Baby Yoda's charms — and neither is anyone else.
What's next: An onslaught of new merch and toys featuring his green-skinned, big-eared likeness (just in time for the holidays); more being cute and snacking on space frogs in The Mandalorian