21 Under 21: Music’s Hottest Minors 2012

18 09 2012

They’ve got hit records, millions of fans, and the kind of success most musicians only dream of — and they can’t even uncork a bottle of champagne to celebrate their success. Welcome to Billboard.com’s 2012 edition of 21 Under 21, our annual ranking of music’s most powerful minors.

From bubbly boy bands to hip-hop powerhouses, a sweet K-Pop princess to a trio of Mexican “tribal guarachero” pioneers, rising EDM superstars to international pop icons, these are the fresh faces whose careers will continue to pack the biggest punches over the next 12 months. Get used to them all, because they’re just getting started. As a 2012 bonus, we’ve also picked out 12 stars-to-be that could be hitting the 21 Under 21 radar (and the world’s ears) in the near future.

No. 18: Miley Cyrus

Last Year’s Rank: 21

Birthdate: November 23, 1992 (age 19)

Why She’s Hot: Miley Cyrus’ musical career has been quiet this year, but that’s looking to change in 2013. The former “Hannah Montana” actress recently passed her role in Adam Sandler’s animated “Hotel Transylvania” along to Selena Gomez so that she could spend time working on her follow-up to 2010’s “Can’t Be Tamed,” which debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard 200. (Cyrus tweeted that Pharrell Williams will be one of the album’s producers and that a single will be released by the end of the year). The 19-year-old star — who has been buzzing since debuting her platinum blonde pixie cut last month — also landed a role on the upcoming season of “Two and a Half Men,” premiering Sept. 27. Oh, and of course, she also has a wedding to plan, following her June engagement to “Hunger Games” actor Liam Hemsworth.

No. 3: Demi Lovato

Last Year’s Rank: 7

Birthdate: August 20, 1992 (Age 20)

Why She’s Hot: Far removed from the personal problems that threatened her career two years ago, Demi Lovato has used the support of her fans and some ubiquitous pop tunes to triumphantly rebound to the upper reaches of our 21 Under 21 list. The former Disney star’s 2011 album “Unbroken” yielded her first Top 10 hit on the Hot 100, “Skyscraper,” but follow-up single “Give Your Heart a Break” was even more of a hit and has spent nearly half a year on the chart. Meanwhile, Lovato scored a prime TV gig by joining the U.S. “X Factor,” where she can judge other aspiring vocalists alongside Simon Cowell, L.A. Reid and another pop princess, Britney Spears. Throw in an acclaimed summer tour with Hot Chelle Rae and a hosting gig at the Teen Choice Awards, and this year was one in which Lovato made the leap into the upper echelon of pop personalities.

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