Various Artists

Pop Princesses 2011

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The third volume since UMTV rebooted the preteen-friendly franchise, Pop Princesses 2011 is a 22-track compilation featuring the biggest and shiniest female-fronted hits of the previous 12 months, plus a couple of earlier modern classics like Christina Aguilera's wartime jazz-inspired "Candyman" and Lady Gaga's monster worldwide hit "Poker Face." Given her newfound status as the Nation's Sweetheart, it's no surprise that Cheryl Cole is only one of two artists who appear twice, both on her solo number one "Promise This" and Girls Aloud's trance-pop epic "Untouchable," alongside Nicole Scherzinger, who also features as a solo artist ("Poison") and with her girl band (Pussycat Dolls' Slumdog Millionaire theme "Jai Ho! [You Are My Destiny]"). Elsewhere, there are number ones from Rihanna ("What's My Name") and Pixie Lott ("Boys and Girls"), contributions from several X Factor alumni (Leona Lewis' "I Got You," Alexandra Burke's "Start Without You"), and songs catering to most young schoolgirls' tastes, from Hi-NRG Euro-dance (Inna's "Hot") to electro R&B (Keri Hilson's "I Like"), Disney pop (Miley Cyrus' "Party in the U.S.A."), and even acoustic folk (Must Be the Music winner Emma's Imagination's "This Day"). Highlights include Gabriella Cilmi's fun-filled '80s synth pop pastiche "On a Misson," Shontelle's epic power ballad "Impossible," and "Higher," the Saturdays' anthemic collaboration with Flo Rida, who alongside Laza Morgan, A.R. Rahman, and Drake is the only male presence on this celebration of girl power. But apart from Ellie Goulding's anodyne cover version of Elton John's "Your Song" and Sugababes' woefully generic "Wear My Kiss," there isn't really a dud on this well-chosen hit-laden collection, which will undoubtedly inspire hairbrush sing-alongs in every pink-colored bedroom across the country.

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