Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2009

Taylor Swift

One of the best-selling musical artists of this year and last, Swift had already worked her way into America's collective heart by the time September's MTV Video Music Awards rolled around. Kanye West's jackassery — in which he crassly interrupted her acceptance speech to praise Beyoncé's "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)" as one of the "best videos of all time" — simply gave her permanent residence there. A crossover act (is she country? is she pop? she's both!) who offered a despondent nation some small measure of clean, good fun, Swift was rewarded with eight Grammy nominations, second only to Beyoncé (yes, yes, Kanye, we know). The girl's only 20. We'll be seeing her around for quite a while to come.

— Gilbert Cruz