A pop-star impression is not to be considered lightly: It requires precision, an ear for accents and, in some cases, a mastery of the art of shade.
You’ve likely watched a drag queen cover Beyoncé, Gaga or Madonna. But what happens when a pop princess steps into the stilettos of another artist? It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, the result is usually magic (even if it’s in a so-bad-it’s-good way).
Below, we sing out about ten of our favorite pop stars covering pop stars.
1. Nicole Scherzinger as Britney Spears
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With all that time spent opening for Britney on her Circus tour, Scherzy Baby has a pretty good idea of how Brit Brit sounds. Her warbly, baby-voiced impression of the “Toxic” pop icon is an audience favorite.
2. Ariana Grande as Shakira, Britney, Nicki Minaj, Katy Perry, Jessie J and Judy Garland
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We knew Ariana had powerhouse pipes for days, but did you know she’s a veritable vocal shape-shifter? During a webcam sesh, a pre-Fame Grande proved that she can belt it out like Jessie J, breathily coo like Britney, yodel like Shakira and, most wonderfully, dazzle like the incomparable Judy.
3. Fifth Harmony as Beyonce, Shakira, Rihanna and Madonna
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For those not familiar with the X Factor-bred quintet known as Fifth Harmony, the teen sensations are no strangers to a little diva worship: One of the songs on their debut LP Reflection, “Brave Honest Beautiful”, specifically name-drops pop stars from Rihanna and Madonna.
At a recent MTV album-release party, the girls were tasked with channeling those icons in front of their adoring audience. Let’s just say… all hail Normani.
4. Christina Aguilera as Britney Spears, Shakira and Cher
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Xtina floored us when she did a pitch-perfect Britney impression (a popular choice on this list) on a recent episode of The Tonight Show. But when she gave us Shakira and Cher, we couldn’t even deal.
5. Katy Perry as Christina Aguilera
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On Saturday Night Live, Katy took on the impression master herself. Sadly, the “Teenage Dream” chanteuse was given only about 10 seconds to lampoon Christina’s endless vocal runs, when everyone knows those last for at least a half-minute.
6. Charice as Rihanna, Britney, Gaga and Justin Bieber
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The proudly out Filipina powerhouse showed off a hidden talent for impressions during a Z100 radio interview. Her RiRi and Brit Brit were solid, but her take on Gaga and The Biebs were eerily spot-on.
7. Nicki Minaj as Beyonce
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Nicki spoofed Queen Bey as the Virgin Mary on Saturday Night Live, complete with references to “Flawless” and “Drunk In Love.” It was all in good fun, though: anything nastier and the Beyhive would have been all up on her anaconda.
8. Lily Allen as Cheryl Cole, Nadine Coyle and Britney Spears
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A brief delight for British pop lovers: Outspoken Sheezus darling Lily Allen delivered a handful of international impressions on BBC’s Switch several years ago, alternating between Girls Aloud babes Cheryl (formerly Cole, now Fernandez-Versini) and the brilliantly talented and unintelligible Nadine Coyle, as well as a tiny moment of Britney’s Southern twang for good measure, y’all.
9. Kelly Clarkson as Cher, Linda Ronstadt, Pink And More
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While promoting Piece By Piece, the American Idol winner teamed up with Jimmy Fallon to take on covers of Sonny & Cher’s “I Got You Babe” and Pink & Nate Ruess’ “Just Give Me A Reason,” among others.
It’s half-karaoke, half-impersonation, but that Aaron Neville/Linda Ronstadt moment is perfection.
10. Celine Dion as Madonna
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And last, but certainly not least, there’s this true gem: The Canadian Voice Of Our Generation taking on The Queen Of Pop.
Honestly, is there anything better that exists on the Internet today than this vintage footage of a young Celine delivering a feisty, leg-happy rendition to “Papa Don’t Preach” in a platinum blonde True Blue wig?
Shantay, you stay.