In what seemed like a good idea until I started trawling through thousands and thousands of surveys, the GOLDEN BOP AWARDS are here to mark what has – generally speaking – been a very good year for pop music, amidst a very shit year for the world at large.
Once spammy duplicates and the like were filtered out, a total of 2,791 ballots were counted (yes, ballots, he’s fancy!), and the results are… *dramatic pause*… as follows.
Remember firstly that Single of the Year was technically a separate beast; more on that below. And remember secondly that all this is in aid of the LGBTQ+ housing and homelessness charity akt (the Albert Kennedy Trust). Over a thousand pounds has already been raised, so thanks so much – please do give here if you can.
All right, enough chat, here we go.
[Updated on December 28 to include the Singles of the Year results]
SINGLE OF THE YEAR
(NB: There was a separate survey and points system for this one – voters could give 3pts to their fave song of the year, 2pts to up to three others, and 1pt to up to six others. The voting was on a separate survey to the rest of the categories, and had 348 completed ballots.)
- Lady Gaga feat. Ariana Grande – Rain On Me (272 pts)
- Dua Lipa – Physical (235 pts)
- Little Mix – Sweet Melody (230 pts)
- Miley Cyrus – Midnight Sky (141 pts)
- Kylie Minogue – Say Something (133 pts)
- The Pussycat Dolls – React (112 pts)
- Kylie Minogue – Magic (109 pts)
- Cardi B feat. Megan Thee Stallion – WAP (95 pts)
- Steps – What The Future Holds (94 pts)
- Steps – Something In Your Eyes (87 pts)
You can see the full list of songs and points here. ~Interestingly this Top 3 is the same as my personal Top 3 – just in a different order.
ALBUM OF THE YEAR
- Kylie Minogue – DISCO (13.92%)
- Katy Perry – Smile (13.13%)
- 5 Seconds of Summer – CALM (7.52%)
- Lady Gaga – Chromatica (6.73%)
- Dua Lipa – Future Nostalgia (6.40%)
- Ariana Grande – positions (5.87%)
- Taylor Swift – folklore (5.67%)
- Little Mix – Confetti (4.88%)
- Selena Gomez – Rare (4.09%)
- Rina Sawayama – Sawayama (3.69%)
- Miley Cyrus – Plastic Hearts (3.10%)
- Tom Aspaul – Black Country Disco (2.77%)
- Jessie Ware – What’s Your Pleasure? (2.11%)
- Melanie C – Melanie C (1.91%)
- Beyonce – The Lion King: The Gift (Deluxe) (1.85%)
- Chloe x Halle – Ungodly Hour (1.65%)
- Megan Thee Stallion – Good News (1.19%)
- The Weeknd – After Hours (1.12%)
- Harry Styles – Fine Line (1.06%)
- Steps – What The Future Holds (0.99%)
All others – 10.36%
(83 entrants, 1516 votes)
Oddly this was the quietest category (Single of the Year aside), in terms of volume of votes – I assume because it’s the only one that wasn’t multiple choice. Kylie was on course for a landslide before some dedicated Katy Perry and 5SOS stans gave her a good scrap – and in the end there was less than 1% in it.
The Harry Styles album came out mid-December 2019, but because it only had two weeks of action in 2019 (and it wasn’t challenging for the top spot anyway so it’s kinda moot), I left it in.
BEST SOLO ARTIST
- Kylie Minogue (13.11%)
- Harry Styles (12.34%)
- Dua Lipa (12.10%)
- Selena Gomez (8.98%)
- Lady Gaga (8.94%)
- Taylor Swift (7.25%)
- Miley Cyrus (5.21%)
- Megan Thee Stallion (4.77%)
- Ariana Grande* (3.85%)
- Katy Perry* (3.81%)
All others – 19.64%
*Act was not on the given shortlist and was voted for via the ‘Other’ box
(65 entrants, 2495 votes)
Kylie’s win here may have been narrow, but Christ how brilliant that someone who’s been doing this for literally decades is still on such a hot streak?! For this one I gave voters a shortlist of 15 and added an ‘Other’ box at the bottom – Ariana and Katy both picked up enough support in said box to overtake many of the given nominees, and without them, The Weeknd and Rina Sawayama would have been in 9th and 10th place respectively.
- Little Mix (21.57%)
- BLACKPINK (20.93%)
- 5 Seconds of Summer (17.81%)
- Chloe x Halle (11.06%)
- BTS (6.36%)
- Steps (5.68%)
- The Pussycat Dolls (3.03%)
- HAIM (2.86%)
- Pet Shop Boys (2.78%)
- The 1975 (2.52%)
All others – 5.38%
(42 entrants, 2341 votes)
I expected a Little Mix landslide here, but BLACKPINK and 5SOS – who have both been on stellar form – put up a very good challenge. The X Factor’s greatest-ever exports have defined ‘it was the best of times, it was the blurst of times’ in 2020, but above all they’ve delivered their most exciting music for a few years, and shown that – after 9 years – there’s still plenty of fuel in the tank.
For what it’s worth: like the Solo category, I gave a shortlist of 15 and stuck an ‘Other’ box on the end, and the top-performing group from that was the inactive One Direction; polling 14th place with 0.34%.
BEST UK NUMBER ONE
- Lady Gaga feat. Ariana Grande – Rain On Me (27.31%)
- The Weeknd – Blinding Lights (23.26%)
- Cardi B feat. Megan Thee Stallion – WAP (18.25%)
- Ariana Grande – positions (18.04%)
- Billie Eilish – No Time To Die (6.83%)
- Joel Corry feat. MNEK – Head and Heart (6.32%)
Not to age myself by several decades, but there has been a lot of tosh atop the charts this year – and this category is a lovely reminder that some 10/10 stuff has ‘done the business’ as well.
BEST LEAD SINGLE
- Miley Cyrus – Midnight Sky (41.08%)
- Little Mix – Break Up Song (22.32%)
- Kylie Minogue – Say Something (17.83%)
- Chloe x Halle – Do It (14.60%)
- Jessie Ware – Spotlight (3.50%)
- Dagny – Come Over (0.67%)
A decisive win for Miley, who not only launched a successful new era but also – in my view – enjoyed her biggest commercial hot-streak since 2013’s chaotic Bangerz campaign. We stan a resurgence!! Very well played.
- Dua Lipa – Physical (34.01%)
- Lady Gaga feat. Ariana Grande – Rain On Me (29.64%)
- 5 Seconds of Summer – Wildflower (16.50%)
- Little Mix – Break Up Song (10.58%)
- BTS – Dynamite (8.10%)
- Kiesza – Crave (1.18%)
The SIZE of these choruses (chorii?)!! Any of them would have been a deserving champ (obviously, hence why they were picked), but Physical was the first track of the year to give us a proper power-pop burst of serotonin, and is rewarded accordingly.
- Harry Styles – Falling (51.18%)
- Sam Smith – To Die For (20.41%)
- Dolly Parton – When Life Is Good Again (11.75%)
- Hailee Steinfeld – Wrong Direction (10.64%)
- Grace Davies – Amsterdam (4.07%)
- Florrie – Hell or High Water (1.94%)
Falling had the biggest vote-count across the entire survey, with a rather large 1,106 people picking it. It was used at a particularly emotional moment in one of my Hollyoaks episodes, so I ain’t complaining.
- Dua Lipa – Physical (37.75%)
- Lady Gaga feat. Ariana Grande – Rain On Me (31.44%)
- Little Mix – Sweet Melody (22.81%)
- Joel Corry feat. MNEK – Head and Heart (3.53%)
- Aly and AJ – Joan Of Arc On The Dancefloor (3.09%)
- Becky Hill feat. Shift K3Y – Better Off Without You You (1.39%)
This is the category I saw the most tweets about, in terms of people finding it tough to pick. Rain On Me got a higher percentage than some of the actual winners in other fields, but there was no stopping Dula Peep in the end.
BEST DEBUT ALBUM
- Ava Max – Heaven and Hell (43.91%)
- Rina Sawayama – Sawayama (26.48%)
- Tom Aspaul – Black Country Disco (10.71%)
- Hayley Williams – Petals For Armor (10.66%)
- Sasha Sloan – Only Child (4.40%)
- Dagny – Strangers/Lovers (3.84%)
I’m not that surprised at Ava winning this one, but I am surprised at the fact she won soooo decisively. Heaven And Hell is good, obviously; but this is such a strong field of albums and I just expected it to be a lot closer. Maybe it’s ultimately because she’s currently the best-known, hits-wise…?
BEST EP, MINI-ALBUM OR MIXTAPE
- Troye Sivan – In A Dream (47.54%)
- Victoria Monét – Jaguar (21.80%)
- Raye – Euphoric Sad Songs (10.28%)
- Grace Davies – Friends With The Tragic (7.52%)
- Bree Runway – 2000and4Eva (6.49%)
- Lauren Aquilina – Ghost World (6.38%)
As with Ava, Troye likely got a huge vote share due to his relatively big star power, though In A Dream is a fucking great EP and a deserving winner of this PRESTIGIOUS award. I’m also glad to see Victoria Monét’s Jaguar getting so much love. In fact, I love all these releases so goddamn much.
BEST REINVENTION AND/OR COMEBACK
- Taylor Swift – stepping away from the bops (46.21%)
- Kylie Minogue – activating Disco mode (28.88%)
- The Pussycat Dolls – first single in 11 years (12.89%)
- Melanie C – pivot to dance bangers (6.30%)
- The Chicks – first album in 14 years (3.29%)
- Annie – first album in 11 years (2.43%)
When the voting first opened, Kylie and Taylor were pretty close in this one – but Taylor slowly but surely began taking a more decisive lead, and it’s a nigh-on landslide in the end. TWO albums in one year! TWO!!!!!
BEST MUSIC VIDEO
- Lady Gaga feat. Ariana Grande – Rain On Me (28.85%)
- Harry Styles – Watermelon Sugar (25.03%)
- Cardi B feat. Megan Thee Stallion – WAP (16.93%)
- Little Mix – Sweet Melody (15.57%)
- Beyonce, Shatta Wale and Major Lazer – Already (11.20%)
- Dadi Freyr – Think About Things (2.42%)
Watermelon Sugar was actually ahead here at one point, and WAP looked for a brief while like it might have challenged for a last-minute overtake. But in the end… the sheer force of Gaga x Ari was just too powerful.
- Agnes – Fingers Crossed (24.68%)
- The Mamas – Move (18.60%)
- Dagny – Somebody (17.58%)
- Dadi Freyr – Think About Things (14.99%)
- Torine – Make U Cry (14.39%)
- Erika Vikman – Cicciolina (9.75%)
This was the most-skipped of the multiple choice categories, but Agnes is a more than deserving winner; Fingers Crossed the kind of belter ABBA might have released if they were coming through now. And as someone who’s been cheerleading for the relatively unknown Torine throughout 2k20, I was happy to see her register any votes at all.
BEST UNDERRATED BOP
- Zara Larsson – Love Me Land (39.35%)
- Kelly Rowland – Crazy (23.05%)
- The Vamps – Married In Vegas (22.15%)
- Foxes – Friends In The Corner (7.96%)
- Romy – Lifetime (4.01%)
- Call Me Loop – Strike (3.48%)
The eligibility here was simply ‘did not chart in the UK Top 100’, and honestly, it still makes me mad that the nation slept on ALL OF THESE MASTERPIECES.
BEST LIVE PERFORMANCE
- Dua Lipa – Studio 2054 (32.24%)
- Jennifer Lopez and Shakira at the Super Bowl (23.45%)
- Kylie Minogue – Infinite Disco (17.99%)
- Chloe x Halle – Ungodly Hour at the VMAs (14.43%)
- Rina Sawayama – XS on Fallon (7.22%)
- Sophie Ellis-Bextor – Kitchen Disco (4.67%)
The AUDACITY of asking you to compare a multi-million-dollar Half Time show with Sophie E-B trying not to step on her children on a livestream!! In the end it was Dua who collected another win – not bad for a ticketed event.
BEST DEEP CUT
- Katy Perry – Cry About It Later (33.38%)
- Dua Lipa – Cool (18.95%)
- Taylor Swift – august (17.44%)
- Little Mix – Happiness (15.80%)
- Steps – To The Beat Of My Heart (7.72%)
- Victoria Monét – Jaguar (6.71%)
This was a five-horse race at one point (sorry, Victoria), but when the Katy Perry stans came a-knockin’, the excellent Cry About It Later had a surge the others just couldn’t keep up with. Imagine if it had been a lead single from the Smile era!! Imagine!!!!
- Lady Gaga feat. Ariana Grande – Rain On Me (47.73%)
- Megan Thee Stallion feat. Beyonce – Savage Remix (23.19%)
- Sam Smith feat. Demi Lovato – I’m Ready (16.33%)
- Rina Sawayama feat. Bree Runway – XS Remix (6.17%)
- Joel Corry feat. MNEK – Head and Heart (5.01%)
- Gabrielle Aplin feat. Nina Nesbitt – Miss You 2 (1.58%)
Another landslide win for Rain On Me here; though I have to say that the Savage Remix really was a goddamn MOMENT.
- Little Mix – Sweet Melody (34.49%)
- Taylor Swift – cardigan (23.97%)
- Beyonce – Black Parade (19.31%)
- Rina Sawayama – Bad Friend (9.40%)
- The 1975 – If You’re Too Shy (Let Me Know) (9.26%)
- Raye – Natalie Don’t (3.57%)
It’s ‘he would lie, he would cheat, over syncopated beats’, yes, but it’s not just that. The lyrics of Sweet Melody are fun from top to bottom; they’re fun to track across the whole song. The narrative of it, the little throwaway ‘anyways’ in Jade and Jesy’s verses, the ‘do-do-dodo-do-do’ earworm (and the way it cleverly ties in with what the song’s actually about)… playful, personality-packed pop at its best. Claps for Brian Garcia, Morten Ristorp, Robin Oliver Frid, Tayla Parx and MNEK.
- Dua Lipa – Physical (26.67%)
- Lady Gaga feat. Ariana Grande – Rain On Me (24.41%)
- Miley Cyrus – Midnight Sky (17.24%)
- Selena Gomez – Rare (16.97%)
- The Weeknd – Save Your Tears (10.24%)
- Victoria Monét feat. Khalid and SG Lewis – Experience (4.47%)
Only a couple of percentage-points between the two behemoths at the top, but this is yet another win for Physical (specifically Jason Evigan and Koz); and yet another case of ‘deserved better!’ for Victoria Monét.
BEST SAMPLE OR INTERPOLATION
- Miley Cyrus – Midnight Sky (Stevie Nicks, Edge of Seventeen) (28.15%)
- Dua Lipa – Break My Heart (INXS, Need You Tonight) (28.06%)
- Cardi B feat. Megan Thee Stallion – WAP (Frank Ski, Whores In This House) (17.50%)
- Ava Max – Kings and Queens (Bonnie Tyler, If You Were A Woman (And I Was A Man)) (11.90%)
- Hailee Steinfeld – I Love You’s (Annie Lennox, No More I Love You’s) (7.96%)
- Megan Thee Stallion feat. Normani – Diamonds (Marilyn Monroe, Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend) (6.44%)
More than 2,100 votes cast in this one, and yet only two (2!!!) separated first and second place. My personal favourite, if you’re interested, is the Hailee one – but there are no duds here, no ma’am.
- Miley Cyrus – Heart of Glass (Blondie) (56.32%)
- Rina Sawayama – Dance In The Dark (Lady Gaga) (13.21%)
- Sophie Ellis-Bextor – Crying At The Discotheque (Alcazar) (9.73%)
- Tove Lo – I’m Coming (Veronica Maggio) (9.42%)
- Steps – Something In Your Eyes (Jenny Silver) (9.32%)
- Arlo Parks – Creep (Radiohead) (2.00%)
Harry Styles’ Falling got the highest vote count of the entire survey (in Best Ballad), but here Heart Of Glass picks up the highest percentage share; easily outdoing the rest of the nominees combined and then some. It’s a fantastic live performance that really did help drive Miley’s incredible resurgence over the second half of the year.
BEST SONG FROM A MOVIE
- Will Ferrell & My Marianne – Husavik (My Hometown) (from Eurovision: Story of Fire Saga) (33.57%)
- Billie Eilish – No Time To Die (from No Time To Die) (18.87%)
- Megan Thee Stallion feat. Normani – Diamonds (from Birds of Prey) (18.31%)
- Demi Lovato – In The Mirror (from Eurovision: Story of Fire Saga) (10.34%)
- Marina – About Love (from To All The Boys: PS I Still Love You) (9.63%)
- SZA & Justin Timberlake – The Other Side (from TROLLS World Tour) (9.28%)
I wondered if the two songs from Eurovision would lead to an unfortunate split-vote, but… they did not! Husavik is held back a little by Will Ferrell Will Ferrelling over the second half, but it’s still a massive ballad with one hell of a money note. I was happy to see Diamonds doing well here, too.
- Dua Lipa feat. Missy Elliott and Madonna – Levitating (Blessed Madonna Remix) (33.45%)
- Little Mix – Holiday (MNEK Remix) (24.87%)
- Britney Spears – Mood Ring (By Demand) (Pride Remix) (19.15%)
- Jessie Ware – What’s Your Pleasure? (Georgia Remix) (10.27%)
- The Pussycat Dolls – React (Cash Cash Remix) (7.10%)
- Kesha feat. Karim Naas – Little Bit of Love ([Virtual] House Party Mix) (5.16%)
The Levitating Remix is fucking GREAT but I would also strongly urge anyone who hasn’t heard the Georgia take on the Jessie Ware track to do so immediately.
BEST NEW FESTIVE BOP
- Mariah Carey feat. Ariana Grande and Jennifer Hudson – Oh Santa! (47.47%)
- Lil Nas X – Holiday (19.87%)
- Kelly Clarkson – All I Want For Christmas Is You (18.54%)
- Beverley Knight – A Christmas Wish (5.06%)
- Delta Goodrem – Only Santa Knows (4.90%)
- Tegan and Sara – Make You Mine This Season (4.16%)
Was there any question? And yes I know Holiday lyrically has very little to do with the ~festive ~season, but the video is pretty wintery, so it counts.
QUEER ARTIST OF THE YEAR
- Rina Sawayama (17.54%)
- Sam Smith (14.69%)
- Troye Sivan (12.98%)
- Halsey (9.76%)
- Lil Nas X (7.00%)
- Tom Aspaul (6.03%)
- MNEK (5.85%)
- Kim Petras (4.97%)
- Victoria Monét (4.65%)
- Kehlani (2.62%)
All others – 13.90%
(65 entrants, 2172 votes)
RINA! One of the defining popstars of 2020, and an extremely deserving winner on a list of extremely deserving candidates. I gave a list of 20 nominees and left an ‘Other’ box for voters to add their own – and while I will always maintain that sexuality is fluid and people’s own labels can change over time, I do want to give a special shout-out to the three people who voted for Louis Tomlinson(?!) and the two who voted for Lea Michele(?!?!).
So there you have it. Check back next week for the Singles of the Year results, and also my personal year-end lists.