Both are successful in their own right, but they share one thing in common, both are considered the current Queens of Heartbreak Music. One was inflicted upon the music industry, the other was the people’s choice. This week it’s the battle of the scorned lovers as Pop Princess Taylor Swift goes head to head with America’s original Idol Kelly Clarkson.
Top of the Pops
With four studio albums under her belt, Taylor Swift has notched up three number ones in the space of six years. In an almost 12 year time frame, Kelly has released five studio albums, with another due for release later this year, but while all five have charted in the top three spots, only two have made it to the coveted number one position.
Round 1: Taylor Swift
Record Sales Success
With over a decade’s worth of experience and success under her belt, Kelly has amassed sales of over 20 million albums worldwide, making her the most successful Idol contestant ever. However, Taylor has managed to sell 23 million albums worldwide, as well as digital download sales of over 50 million in the space of six years. That’s impressive.
Round 2: Taylor Swift
Stacking Up The Awards
Taylor has snapped up 7 Grammys and countless CMAs, TCAs and Billboards to name just a few. Kelly has won 3 Grammys as well as numerous other awards from the Billboards, AMAs, PCAs and the TCAs, but not enough to catch up on Taylor.
Round 3: Taylor Swift
Taylor is many things, a talented songwriter, a skilled musician and a media magnet. However, her biggest flaw has always been her vocal ability, or lack thereof. While Swift could be considered a good singer, she will never be a great singer and while some critics have praised her for refusing to auto tune her vocals in the studio, others will feel differently when her live vocals are concerned. Kelly, on the other hand, is considered one of the best female vocalists currently doing the rounds and with a range that could hit the ceilings of the biggest arenas around no one can deny her talent.
Round 4: Kelly Clarkson
Hell Hath No Fury Like A Woman Scorned
Both Swift and Clarkson are renowned for their break up songs but just who brings the pain? While Taylor is more than capable of pushing out catchy pop songs, her lyrics usually end up reading like the diary of a 15 year old school girl who just got dumped at the local disco, which is probably why so many young girls buy into her music in the first place. Conversely, Kelly’s songs pack more of a punch, coming across more like a two fingered salute to a man who isn’t worth anymore of her time. While Taylor holds the Ace for writing all her own material, in a battle of lyrical empowerment, Clarkson holds the upper hand.
Round 5: Kelly Clarkson
In an odd swap of career direction, both Taylor and Kelly are trading in their musical roots (at least momentarily) for a change in sound. While Taylor is known worldwide as a country starlet, her latest album Red offered up a much more pop influenced sound. Banjos were traded in for synths and dubstep in "I Knew You Were Trouble" which was a far cry from earlier tracks like "Our Song." While Kelly has been spending more time working in Nashville creating music with Taylor’s traded-in banjo for a country flare that is a bit different to her usual pop rock sound. Current single "Tie It Up" isn’t exactly a pop anthem but it still shows off Clarkson’s stellar pipes. Ironically the change in sound is probably better suited to both girl’s native backgrounds. Country crooner Taylor is actually a Pennsylvanian girl at heart while Clarkson is a true Southern Belle hailing from Texas.
Round 6: Amount of material available dictates that Taylor wins this one.
This one was a bit of a no contest really, with a net worth of $80 million, Taylor easily trumps Kelly’s estimated fortune of $24 million. Swift has built up her fortune from record sales, ticket sales, merchandise and endorsement deals, while most of Kelly’s fortune comes from record sales and touring.
Round 7: Taylor Swift
Neither girl is immune to the power of the tabloids. Taylor is a constant news' headline for her inability to hold a man, or boy, down for more than five seconds. So entertaining is her love life that Taylor has outright refused to comment on who she has and has not actually dated, particularly when it comes to who her infamous songs are about. Clarkson has had her fair share of press with most of it being aimed at her fluctuating weight over the years. But while the tabloids have made a point to showcase her larger frame (she used to be a size eight in her early days), Kelly has shot down the criticism happy to embrace her curvier figure and declaring that she loves her food too much to care about what other people think. In an industry that is too often critical of a woman’s physical appearance, Clarkson is a role model to young girls everywhere.
Round 8: Kelly Clarkson
Poppin’ Personalities (Or Lack Thereof)
Taylor is regarded as America’s Sweetheart with her butter wouldn’t melt persona and wholesome image, although a recent attempt at stepping out with an edgier image and a "caught on camera" moment where she was allegedly bad mouthing ex-boyfriend Harry Styles at the MTV Awards, could see her crown begin to slip. Taylor has worked hard to sustain her good girl appeal, constantly hanging out with the famous Kennedy family, having girly sleepovers with her celebrity pals and going antique shopping rather than engaging in late night partying. Kelly, on the other hand, has endeared herself to fans with her bubbly self-deprecating sense of humour, and her love of a good drinking session, but she has also shown a feisty streak that she credits to her Greek-Irish roots. She infamously fired her guitarist live on stage when he pulled a stunt in an attempt to throw off the rest of her band during a live performance. She also recently took a swipe at Miley Cyrus’s catastrophic MTV appearance tweeting: “Just saw a couple of performances from the VMAs last night. 2 words… #pitchystrippers”. For this reason, and because nobody likes a goody two shoes, Kelly has a poppin’ personality.
Round 9: Kelly Clarkson
Although it pains me to say this, you can’t deny her track record. Taylor is the reigning Queen of Heartbreak. On behalf of Taylor she would like to thank Joe, Conor, Harry, Jake, John, Taylor.......... And both present and future lads behind her songs.