Jennifer Lopez, Rihanna Land Atop Forbes Celebrity 100 List

By John Mitchell

Forbes has released its annual Celebrity 100 list and Jennifer Lopez makes a surprising appearance at the #1 slot, while Rihanna pulls in at 4 on the list.

Lopez unseats Lady Gaga, who took top honors last year but falls to #5 in this year’s ranking; her visibility and earnings were lower in the last 12 months because she wasn’t touring, having wrapped her Monster Ball in May of last year and only recently launching her latest road show, theBorn This Way Ball.

Rihanna and Kim Kardashian debut on the list in grand fashion, coming in at 4 and 7, respectively. The two benefited from the inclusion of a “Social Rank” among the factors, which include money earned, TV/radio presence and level of press attention, used to formulate the listing, which aims to reflect the level of influence a celebrity has in the entertainment industry. With her millions of followers on Twitter and Facebook, Rihanna came in second in the Social Rank category.

Explaining Lopez’s position on the list, Forbes writes, “['American Idol'] gave her a platform to promote her music and turn her image around. It didn’t hurt that she also split from her husband, Marc Anthony. Suddenly a single mother, Lopez lapped up the media attention and scored lucrative endorsement deals with companies like L’Oreal and Gillette. She now has a line of clothing at Kohl’s, a top-selling fragrance and she was able to secure a nice bump — to $20 million — on her’ Idol’ salary for a second season. With 6.6 million followers on Twitter and 12 million fans on Facebook, she’s also proved a master of social media.”

Oprah Winfrey held on to the #2 spot on the list and was its top earner ($165 million) despite a tough year that saw her syndicated talk show come to a planned end after 25 years and her OWN cable network struggle in the ratings.

Justin Bieber also held onto the #3 position he debuted in last year. The “Boyfriend” pop star earned an impressive $55 million in the last 12 months and garnered top 10 rankings elsewhere across the board, coming in at #3 in the Social Rank and #4 in the TV/Radio Rank.

Her long list of chart-topping singles and the press attention around her divorce from Russell Brand, in addition to her strong Twitter presence and largely sold-out California Dreams world tour, were enough to push Katy Perry into the top 10 after debuting on the countdown last year at #12. She leaps six spots in this year’s ranking, placing at #6 with a not-too-shabby $45 million earned.

Looking at the list and the various artists’ rankings in the five categories used to determine their placement, there’s a sense that the actual positions are more arbitrary than usual. For example, Lopez is #1 despite not ranking inside the top 10 in any of the categories (and is as low as #30 in money, #22 in press rank and #19 in social), while both Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber earned top 10 placement in all of them except the Money Rank, the top tier of which is dominated by multimedia moguls like Winfrey, Steven Spielberg (#10 overall), Simon Cowell (#18), Dr. Dre (#26), Howard Stern (#30) and Michael Bay (#35).

And then there’s Adele, who despite having the top-selling album in six years, three #1 singles (including the year’s most ubiquitous song, “Rolling in the Deep”), six Grammy wins and mountains of positive press, ranks at only #24, behind Glenn Beck (#23) and Jennifer Aniston (#22) and one spot ahead of Bon Jovi.

Other notable entries on the Forbes Celebrity 100 include Taylor Swift at #11, Beyoncé at #16, Jay-Z at #38, Kristen Stewart at #43 and Kanye West at #45. Further down the power rankings are Lil Wayne (#69), Skrillex (#92) and Zooey Deschanel (#96).