Power Rankings have been rating sports teams mid-season for years, based on statistical analysis, momentum and gut feelings. But there's just as much strategy and move-making involved in the big leagues of pop.
So, we bring you HuffPost's Pop Power Rankings, our weekly roundup of who's on top (and who has fallen off) in the pop game.
1. Adele (Re-Entry)
As the dust settles on 2012, it's time for the music industry to look back on the year and realize one thing: Adele owns you. That album of hers came out more than a year ago and accolades are still rolling in. <em>21</em> was the top-selling album of 2012 on iTunes, she's been awarded Billboard's artist of the year, album of the year, and there's likely more to come. And music industry, if you're wondering how she did it? Her producer Paul Epworth claimed this week that she recorded her James Bond anthem "Skyfall" in about 10 minutes. Chew on that.
2. Justin Bieber (Last Week: 2)
When Justin made a joke on Instagram about boxer Manny Pacquiao's recent knock-out loss, he was just piling on a social media dismantling of a legend. But Justin isn't just some dude on Twitter, and his posts have drawn ire from Philippine Congress, who've threatened to ban him from the Philippines entirely for zinging their homeland hero. Bieber has bigger fish to fry, though. This week details emerged about his new gig as a TV producer. Bieber and his manager are developing an ABC sitcom about his family life before he was discovered. Members of the <em>Entourage </em>writing staff are hard at work on the script, so this looks to be more than your average ABC Family kids show.
3. Bruno Mars (Re-Entry)
Bruno Mars is the little pop star that could. In a climate where ladies rule the roost, Bruno's turned in the best year of his career. This past season he won at SNL, his song "Locked Out Of Heaven" moved steadily up the charts to finally land at #1 last week, and this week his album debuted at #2, selling 50,000 more copies than the label expected. Bruno, we didn't know you had it in you!
4. Taylor Swift (Last Week: 3)
We did know that Taylor Swift had it in her. It was another week at #1 for her album<em> Red </em>and another video. This time Taylor takes two already-similar videos from the past year and mixes them together to yield a million hits a day (so far, almost 7,000,000). Take the earnest poetry, bad boy story line, and bleached photography of Rihanna's "We Found Love" and mix it with the earnest poetry, bad boy story line, bleached photography (and actual same director) of Lana Del Rey's "Ride," mix them together and you've got "I Knew You Were Trouble."
5. Ke$ha (Re-Entry)
So you might have seen the dollar-signed-one in the news this week for having her song "Die Young" pulled off of the radio in the wake of the Newtown shooting. Or for tweeting that she was "FORCED" to sing the lyrics of the song (she <em>is</em> listed as a songwriter in the credits). But bear with us here — the single may have stopped receiving airplay, but it continued to sell so well that it held in the top five on the charts. And even though she put her <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/18/kesha-apologizes-die-young-newtown-shooting-forced-sing-song_n_2327027.html">foot in her mouth</a>, that's Ke$ha's whole M.O. She (somehow) did it with humility and humanity.
Pop Power Fail - Waka Flocka Flame
In the court of law, you're innocent until proven guilty. But in the court of Waka Flocka, you are committing-a-robbery until proven handing-a-demo-CD. This week a judge ordered Waka Flocka Flame's management to pay $501,000 in damages to a fan who approached the rapper looking to give him his demo and instead got shot in the shoulder by his security. He wasn't trying to rob you, Waka! Although apparently the man who won the case IS apparently in jail for an unrelated robbery.