Christina Aguilera has been a leader in the pop world since she entered the scene way back at the turn of the century. She’s got a jaw-dropping voice, seven albums, and four Grammy awards to her name, but it doesn’t stop there. Aguilera is a major pop player and to celebrate her 34th birthday we’ve got 15 reasons why. Read on to find out all the ways Xtina is truly a badass b*tch.
Christina’s hit “Beautiful” came out 12 — that’s right, 12 — years ago, but it continues to play on the radio, in movies — such as Mean Girls, and in our hearts. Watch her perform the 2002 hit on VH1 Storytellers in the clip below.
1. She’s a part of the Mickey Mouse Club power team.
Alongside Justin Timberlake, Ryan Gosling, and Britney Spears, Aguilera was a part of The All New Mickey Mouse Club from 1993 to 1995. The club, famously a precursor to the success of many of its members, was where Christina debuted her talent — and her signature sing-growl. At just thirteen years old, she was doing justice to the likes of Whitney Houston and Aretha Franklin. Watch her perform Aretha’s “Think” in the video below.
2. She’s a judge on NBC’s The Voice.
She was a judge on the first three seasons, and now it looks like Christina will be back for Season 8 of The Voice. She took off a total of three seasons of the show to focus on her own singing career as well as to dedicate more time to being a mommy (see number 9). Shakira stepped in for Seasons 4 and 6, and Gwen Stefani took over in Season 7, but when Season 8 rolls around, the original female judge will be back to resume her role.
3. She can riff like no other.
Christina isn’t shy about showing off her vocal acrobatics, but if you had her voice, wouldn’t you do the same? She does tend to take it to the extreme at times, either blowing out her voice or turning off some of her audience members with too many riffs and runs, but Christina’s vocal prowess is what’s gotten her so far. Love them or hate them, the riffs are a part of who she is as a performer.
4. Her breakout self-titled album helped define the early 2000’s.
Four words: “Genie In A Bottle.” This one goes out to all those preteens in the late ’90s and early 2000’s who sang along innocently to the song, only to discover all of its hidden sexual meanings later on in life. Let’s not forget the other gems that came with it: “What A Girl Wants,” “I Turn To You,” and “Come On Over (All I Want Is You).” Go on, now. Sing along to “Genie In A Bottle” once more, fully knowing that it’s actually about sexual frustration, and admire Christina’s glorious abs in the music video.
5. She’s gone through at least five phases and has rocked each look to the core.
The various fashion phases Christina has gone through are each pegged to one of her albums. There’s the “girl next door” belly-bearing phase tied to her 1999 debut album Christina Aguilera. The more scantily clad era came about with Stripped — think “Dirrty” and “Can’t Hold Us Down.” Back to Basics marked her ode to ’20s flappers and ’40s pinup girls, and along with the future-pop sound of Bionic came Christina’s forward-thinking fashion phase. Now, the singer rocks a more polished look, usually with a red lip and curls. Her experimental phases seem to have helped her settle upon a signature style that incorporates elements from her earlier eras.
6. She put out a successful Spanish album and she didn’t even know how to speak Spanish.
Around the time she released her debut album, Latin pop was gaining momentum with acts such as Ricky Martin and Enrique Iglesias. Capitalizing off the trend made sense for the singer, whose father is Ecuadorian, so Christina hit the studio to record Mi Reflejo, which came out in 2002. The album was a chart-climber, but the real success story is that Christina didn’t even speak Spanish at the time she recorded it. She learned the songs by sound, as many of them were Spanish-speaking versions of songs from her first album.
7. She IS Lady Marmalade.
It could have been the riffs. Or maybe it was her wild, crimped hair. Or those red platform boots. Whatever it was, Christina owned her Lady Marmalade verse, stamping it with her inimitable growl-and-riff combination.
8. She’s a philanthropist…
Christina has been channeling her celebrity for good since she became a spokesperson in 2009 for Yum! Brands’ World Hunger Relief. In August, she launched a “Pass the Red Cup“ challenge to help raise awareness of the global hunger crisis, as well as to raise money to feed school children in impoverished areas worldwide. She even wrote a piece for The Huffington Post outlining the cause she stands for as well as her time spent in Rwanda and Haiti serving children and mothers.
9. …And a mother.
Christina seems to effortlessly do it all. Not only is she a Grammy award-winning artist, judge on The Voice, and volunteer for Yum!, she’s also a mother. In August, Christina gave birth to daughter Summer Rain Rutler, by fiancé Matthew Rutler. Max, her son by ex-husband Jordan Bratman, is now six years old, and very protective of his younger sister.
10. She was singing with Tony Bennett long before Lady Gaga.
Christina’s first duet with jazz singer Tony Bennett was on his 2006 album An American Classic. The duo sang a rendition of “Steppin’ Out,” and performed the song for an NBC special and the 2007 Emmy Awards. Aguilera was singing with Bennett before he and Lady Gaga put out Cheek to Cheek. Not that there’s any competition, as Gaga and Christina make for a great duet, and even performed “Do What U Want” on The Voice together last year. Watch Tony and Christina sing “Steppin’ Out” at hte 2007 Emmy Awards in the video below.
11. Her fans are as fierce as she is.
Christina’s fans are a loyal and protective bunch. There are numerous fan sites, such as Xtina Web, completely devoted to news, updates, and events surrounding the pop star, as well as various Twitter handles dedicated to the same cause. The fierceness of her fandom is testament to Christina’s impact on the pop world.
12. Justin Timberlake predicted she’d still be making music today. And she is.
Fellow Mickey Mouse Club member Justin Timberlake invited Christina to tour with him for a Justified and Stripped tour in the summer of 2003. When news originally broke of the two touring together, Timberlake had nothing but kind words to say of Aguilera. “She’s got one of the most amazing voices I’ve ever heard,” he said. “She’s bad. That’s the Christina that I met on the TV show that we did, and that’s the Christina that will be around 10 years from now.” And he’s right! Ten years later, Christina is still making waves in the entertainment industry.
13. She’s on the soundtrack for at least five movies.
Remember “Reflection” for Mulan? This may have been the first soundtrack Christina was on, but it wasn’t the last. The singer composed and sang a song for Pokemon: The First Movie. Not only did she star in 2010’s Burlesque, Christina sang the majority of the songs on the soundtrack. Of course, there’s “Lady Marmalade” from Moulin Rouge!, and “We Remain” from The Hunger Games: Catching Fire soundtrack.
14. And has appeared in two.
Christina appeared as herself in Get Him to the Greek in 2010, and that same year, she starred in Burlesque.
15. She supports her “rivals.” AKA she has no rivals.
Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears are often portrayed in the media as pop rivals, but is this really the case? In 2011, Christina told OK! Magazine that she is a “huge supporter” of Britney, and even referred to her as “an old friend” from their days together as Mickey Mouse Club members. Christina knows that the best way to slash a supposed rivalry is to show some support — and mean it.
[Photos: Getty Images]