2010: Breakout Stars of the YearBreakout Stars of 2010What a difference a year makes. A year ago, who would have thought we'd all be in a club whipping our hair to the sounds of one swagged-out nine-year-old named Willow Smith? And who could have expected that Nicki Minaj, an unknown female rapper once labeled "Lil Kim's clone," would become the second highest selling femcee of all time?
Trey Songz brought us passion, pain and lots of pleasure, while Jaden Smith karate-kicked his way to the top of the box office and R&B crooner Miguel sang his way into our hearts.
It's been a good year, especially for the newbies on our 2010 hot list. Forget about "next" and find out which 2010 breakout stars got NOW.Nicki MinajHate her or love her, but you must admit she's on your mind. Nicki Minaj has been the most talked about artist in 2010, making female rappers relevant in the mainstream again.Willow Smith"Two snaps and a W." What can we say about Willow Smith? She's a movement by herself. And being the celebrity spawn of Will and Jada Pinkett-Smith doesn't hurt either. The hair whipping sensation will be opening for Justin Bieber on his European tour come 2011. Not bad for someone who's still trying to get through her math homework.Trey SongzSome R&B fans never wavered, while others knew it was only a matter of time before Trey Songz hit mega-sex symbol status. Without a doubt 2010 was the year of Trey, and the word "swexy" was invented to specifically describe all that he is.KeKe PalmerKeke Palmer has been all over the place this year: from her hit Disney show "True Jackson VP" to starting up her music career with the debut of "The One You Call." With each passing year, Palmer pulls out another talent to amaze us. Don't be surprised if you see plenty of her in 2011.Bruno MarsBruno Mars has much to celebrate. He sang the hook on the smash hit "Nothing on You" and Travis McCoy's "Billionaire." Plus he co-wrote the Grammy-nominated song, "F*ck You" for Cee-Lo Green, and he's nominated for six other Grammy awards. Go Bruno!DrakeThis year wouldn't have been complete without Young Money's golden boy. Aubrey Graham has defied every rapper stereotype you can think of and still he's 2010's hip-hop MVP.Jaden SmithJaden had us at hello. We were believers after the adorable mini Will Smith stole the show from his dad in 2006's "The Pursuit of Happyness." But when he starred in the 2010 reincarnation of "The Karate Kid," he exceeded our expectations.Rutina WesleyIt may have taken some a while to get used to the idea of a town full of Southern vampires, but now that we are all officially hooked on HBO's "True Blood" we have Rutina Wesley to blame. The Julliard-trained actress who plays Tara Thornton is so pleasantly nave and beguiling that we just can't look away.V.V. Brown"Baby, there's a shark in the water," belts out the British singer songwriter. She's impossible to ignore. Her high energy and somewhat eccentric performances will leave you wanting more.
After releasing her debut album "Traveling Like the Light," earlier this year, we spotted V.V., tambourine in hand, performing at the 2010 Black Girls Rock! Awards. And she definitely rocked!Taio CruzThis year was certainly Taio Cruz's biggest year, but don't think of him as a stranger to the business. He's the super producer behind Rihanna's "Umbrella" and he's written songs for Usher, Mya and Britney Spears to name a few. He dominated the charts with "Dynamite" which reached the number one spot on the US Top 40 list. Be sure to look out for more of Cruz next year.MiguelHe already had the look. Then he opened up his mouth and told us "All I Want is You", and we were sold.The 23 year old cutie may be a newbee, but something in his velvet voice tells us he's been doing this for years. We look forward to hearing more from him in 2011.Tessa ThompsonShe's the freshest face on the cast of Tyler Perry's "For Colored Girls," but don't mistake her youth for inexperience. Tessa Thompson did more than hold her own alongside the all-star cast. She stole the show, if only for a moment. We predict a bright future ahead.Amber RileyAmber Riley has powerhouse pipes. And she knows just what she's doing while playing the role of the sassy-yet-sweet Mercedes Jones on our favorite Tuesday night addiction, "Glee." With a radiant smile that lights up the screen, Riley is a total scene stealer and a name we'll be hearing for a while.B.o.B.B.o.B. had a major year. This 19-year-old Atlanta native broke through with his hit "Nothing on You," featuring Bruno Mars. That's one tune we couldn't shake in 2010 as it reached the top spot on the Billboard charts.Omari HardwickThere's something about Omari Hardwick. The Georgia-bred cutie is all charm and confidence on screen.But there is something more that keeps us ever attentive as he plays the newlywed cop, Ty Hunter on "Dark Blue." Still it was his courageous portrayal in Tyler Perry's "For Colored Girls" that keeps him ever etched in our memories.