Jennifer Lopez Tops The 2012 ‘Forbes’ List Of ‘Most Powerful Celebrities’

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Forbes magazine has released its annual list of the 100 Most Powerful Celebrities and this year, for the first time ever, actress/singer/etc. Jennifer Lopez tops the list. Having raked in an estimated $52 million dollars last year as well as numerous very lucrative endorsement deals, J. Lo is Forbes‘s pick for the most powerful celeb right now. Earlier today we learned that Lopez is suggesting that she “may” not return as judge of American Idol next year but I do not believe that for one second. Now that new X Factor judge Britney Spears is being paid more than she is, J. Lo wants a raise and is using the media to launch her renegotiation campaign. It sounds like homegirl wants to stay #1 on the Forbes list of Most Powerful Celebrities.

It used to be enough for a celebrity to act or sing or swing a bat really well. Now to be considered a real success, he or she needs to sell clothes, hawk fragrances–maybe even invest in technology startups. While she hasn’t stormed Silicon Valley just yet, Jennifer Lopez is a state-of-the-art celebrity success story. With $52 million in earnings over the last 12 months and a massive amount of fame, Lopez lands at No. 1 on our Celebrity 100 list for the first time. A few years ago it looked like Lopez was done. Her albums, like the all-Spanish Como Ama una Mujer, failed to find the broad audience she once enjoyed. Her movies, like El Cantante, flopped. Then in 2010 the singer landed a judge’s chair on American Idol. The job gave her a platform to promote her music and turn her image around. It didn’t hurt that she also split from her husband, Marc Anthony. Suddenly a single mother, Lopez lapped up the media attention and scored lucrative endorsement deals with companies like L’Oreal and Gillette. She now has a line of clothing at Kohl’s, a top-selling fragrance and she was able to secure a nice bump—to $20 million–on her Idol salary for a second season. With 6.6 million followers on Twitter and 12 million fans on Facebook, she’s also proved a master of social media. Lopez unseats Lady Gaga, who topped the list last year. The pop star slides to fifth place this time around with $52 million in earnings, down from $90 million last year (Gaga didn’t tour much in the last 12 months). Her new album, Born This Way, was still a smash hit, selling 1 million copies its first week out. In second place is Oprah Winfrey, whom Gaga unseated for No. 1 last year. Winfrey had a rough 12 months. Her 25-year syndication run ended in May but she still managed to earn more than anyone else on the list ($165 million) thanks to her empire of spin-off shows (Dr. Phil, Rachael Ray) her magazine and her radio deal with Sirius XM. Winfrey doesn’t earn any money from the struggling OWN cable network. The talk-show legend will now turn her full attention to trying to improve things at OWN. Ranking third: Justin Bieber. Only 18, Bieber is making his second appearance on our list. The star earned $55 million in the past year thanks to touring and record sales, but as he explains in our cover story, Bieber is more than just a pop star. He’s also a budding venture capitalist. Bieber has used his fame and fortune to invest in startup companies like Spotify, Tinychat and Enflick.

To clarify, the Forbes list of Most Powerful Celebrities isn’t really determined by money alone … a whole host of factors go into the decision to crown the most powerful celeb. Here is the criteria used by Forbes to compile this list:

This list–which includes film and television actors, TV personalities, models, athletes, authors, musicians and comedians–is based on money and fame. We define fame as media visibility in print, television, radio and online, plus social media power, which we measure by looking at each celebrity’s presence on Facebook and Twitter. The earnings consist of pretax income between May 1, 2011, and May 1, 2012. Management, agent and attorney fees are not deducted. Forbes has been publishing the list annually since 1999.

Without question, J. Lo‘s judging gig on American Idol not only revived her career but set her soaring to new heights of fame, wealth and power. She is in an excellent position to renegotiate her American Idol contract (and, honestly, I won’t be surprised if she ends up getting a more lucrative contract than Britney got from The X Factor) and, if she plays her cards right, will remain — at the very least — high on the Forbes Most Powerful Celebrities list. See, this is why I’m so excited for Britney‘s new X Factor gig … because the same can happen to her. Brit Brit is ranked #6 on this Most Powerful Celebrities list (see the full list HERE) but maybe next year she’ll rocket to #1. We’ll celebrate that accomplishment then … today, we congratulation Jennifer Lopez for achieving this feat for the first time ever. Congrats! I’d say that this achievement was well-earned. J. Lo made some smart decisions when the time was right and she is reaping the benefits now. She should be very proud.

As for this list, what do y’all think? Do you agree with Forbes’s list of Most Powerful Celebrities this year?

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  1. gorkem

    Britney was #1 on the list in 2002, next year i am sure that she will top the list again

  2. seems about right. lets face it, the past year was Jlo’s year, no one can deny that.
    im just glad it wasnt JB or rihanna (although both did make it in the top 5) – i gotta say after going through the list it kind of shocks me how high/low some people are rated.

  3. JCZ

    I take these lists with the biggest grain of salt.

    It’s all speculation and publicity.

  4. Brigitte S

    It makes me sad that these powerhouse celebrities endorse habits that are noted by impressionable people: in Jlo’s case, wearing fur and saying it’s “okay” to put pressure on critically endangered animal populations for fashion. I will never support Jennifer Lopez simply for her complete disregard for the impact her choices communicate on the vast amount of people who look up to her as an icon.

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