I'm going to pose an age-old question: Are pop stars just vocalists, or are they performers? Well, it depends. Some stars rely on pure entertainment value — Britney Spears, we're looking at you. Others opt for a plain park and bark. These entertainers stand on the stage and sing. (Adele, we're looking at you.) It seems, though, that pop stars are less dance-focused than they used to be. Once upon a time, Destiny's Child, *NSYNC, and TLC rocked the synchronized movements. These days, it's SelGo, The Weeknd, and Katy Perry, who excel at, well, standing and singing, which is totally — to borrow a phrase from Lady Britney — their prerogative.
Of course, as with all things, there's a spectrum. On one end of the pop-star skills spectrum, you've got Beyoncé. There is no one who can wield her starpower like Lady Bey. Then, on the other end, you've got Cher, who has a preference for the stationary performance. Ahead, we've ranked the world's biggest pop stars in order of dancing ability. The rankings are utterly subjective and based on my personal opinion.There are singers, and then there are performers. We'll start at the lowest-ranked — those that just sing — and move into those that can really cut a rug.
No. 17: Mariah Carey
As much as we love Mimi, know this: She doesn't dance. Mariah Carey has long succeeded on the pure power of her vocals, and we cannot fault her for that.
Photo: Gregory Pace/REX/Shutterstock, More
No. 16: Taylor Swift
Like Mimi, Taylor has never pretended to be much of dancer. Instead, she prefers to strut around the stage and give sultry looks. The only reason she's not number 15 is because some have argued that her "awkward dancing" is adorable. (Why is everyone looking at me?)
No. 15: Demi Lovato
Demi, we love you. We love your vocals. We love that you've taught us there's nothing wrong with being confident. We love that when you perform you just chew that mic and furrow your brow. (No dancing required.)
Photo: PJP photos/REX/Shutterstock. More Read More
No. 14: Adele
In case you've never seen Adele perform, know this: She's not a dancer and she doesn't pretend to be.
Photo: Richard Isaac/REX/Shutterstock. More
No. 13: Miley Cyrus
Miley Cyrus performs with shock value more than anything else. This is the gal that rode a hot dog during her Bangerz tour. Does she dance? Well, at least she tries.
No. 10: Katy Perry
The last of the true non-dancers, Perry gets points for being an active performer. She performed at the Super Bowl next to
an adorably sloppy shark, and that counts for something. Photo: RMV/REX/Shutterstock. More
No. 9: Ariana Grande
Grande rode a bicycle onstage during
the 2017 VMAs, which proves to us that she can really ride a bike. But I'd still place Grande with Mariah Carey and the rest of the stationary singers. (In general, the better the voice, the more likely they're just gonna park it.) Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images. More
No. 8: Bruno Mars
Part of Bruno's charm is his old-school performance style. He's a good dancer — probably among one of the few man pop stars that can really cut a rug — and a flair for a fabulous tune. That being said, he's no Beyoncé.
No. 7: Lady Gaga
noted yoga devotée, and, hey, she actually joins her backup dancers while they work up a sweat. At the 2017 Super Bowl, the New York native stunned with a pretty athletic performance. For that, Gaga, we award points. Photo: Sean Ryan/IPS/REX/Shutterstock. More
No. 6: Fifth Harmony
Ah, Fifth Harmony. It seemed like the pop group might revive the girl group style. (Arguably, they have.) And a girl group isn't a girl group if they don't dance in formation. The "Work From Home" performers got a place on this list solely for
the music video for their most famous song. For those who haven't seen it, there are some serious moves performed at a construction site. Photo: MediaPunch/REX/Shutterstock. More
No. 5: Britney Spears
Look at this photo and tell me that woman isn't a performer. Is she an incredible dancer? That's up for debate. Is she an incredible singer? Also up for debate. (I'm being diplomatic here.) Britney, the "princess of pop," gets a place on this list because during her heydey, dancing was sort of her thing. Don't believe me? I invite you to re-watch her performance at the 2000
MTV Music Awards. Photo: Broadimage/REX/Shutterstock. More
No. 4: Rihanna
Rihanna's wish-I-cared presentation has always made it seem as if she's not much of a dancer. (One gets the impression she'd rather light a joint and take a nap than a dance class.) But her blasé attitude belies her skills. The Barbados native is a slinky dancing beast as well as a slinky singing beast.
Photo: MediaPunch/REX/Shutterstock. More
No. 3: Shakira
Ah, the lady whose hips don't lie. Arguably, Shakira is more dancer than singer. The performer has a background in belly dancing — hence her truth-telling hips — and probably could have pursued a career as a dancer.
Photo: Willi Schneider/REX/Shutterstock. More
No. 2: Ciara
Ciara is an obvious win, here. Yes, the woman who sings the "1,2, Step" is a good dancer — nay, an incredible dancer. The only reason she's not number one is, well, she's not Beyoncé.
Photo: Amy Harris/REX/Shutterstock More
No. 1: Beyoncé
Did you think it would be anyone else? Lady Bey is the consummate performer. She sings, she dances, and, best yet, she manages to seamlessly blend the two. How does she pull this off? Well, rumor has it that Bey sings on the treadmill to make sure she has the lung capacity to pull this off. Being a pop star takes work, y'all.
Photo: Michael Buckner/Variety/REX/Shutterstock. More
Like this post? There's more. Get tons of celebrity news, fun takes on pop culture, and trending stories on the
Refinery29 Entertainment Facebook page. Like us on Facebook — we'll see you there! More Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here? Happy Songs That Will Instantly Put You In A Good Mood You Need To Hear The Song Carrie Fisher Wrote With Sean Lennon Before Her Death Princess Nokia Is One Of NYC's Boldest Female Rappers