ByTommy DePaoli, writer at
Follow @TommyLikesStuff
Tommy DePaoli

By now, everyone and their momager knows about Nicki Minaj's extremely public diss directed at Miley Cyrus during this year's VMAs. They were the "shots fired" heard 'round the world, and we're still waiting on Miley to really tell us what's good.

Despite the constant coverage and elaborate parodies, the feud between Nicki and Miley is far from the most memorable in pop music. Truth be told, some of the veterans of the charts have also been battling a war of words with their various rivals. Here's a collection of the shadiest spats in pop music history that prove these divas are not to be messed with.

Spoiler alert: there's a lot of Mariah Carey on this list.

1. Nicki Minaj vs. Mariah Carey

Reigning Queen of Shade Mariah Carey has no time for those who don't respect her, and when she found out that she wasn't going to be the only female judge on American Idol's twelfth season, she took that as a major slight. Once the season got underway, Mariah and Nicki were constantly throwing barbs at each other, leading to the ongoing resentment you see in the clip above.

Aside from the constant shade-throwing, Mariah also has no qualms about describing her experience in the clearest terms possible.

Hard to believe these two actually had a song and music video together back in 2009.

2. Britney Spears vs. Christina Aguilera

If the headlines from the Britney vs. Christina era are to be believed, this was the most contentious battle in pop during the '90s and early '00s. I do think much of this feud was overblown, but Christina clearly had some ill will toward Brit in a couple segments. Even though it seems like she doesn't want to talk about her contemporary here, she was much more vocal in an interview with Us Weekly:

"I can’t believe that girl [Britney] bought her own engagement ring! I’ve seen it, up close. It looks like she got it on QVC."

C'mon, Christina, that's just low.

3. Mariah Carey vs. Madonna

Whether she's calling out Madonna's faux-British accent, her supposed lack of relevancy or her icy cold demeanor, Mariah Carey has never held back when it comes to taking Madge down a few pegs.

4. Avril Lavigne vs. Hilary Duff

This one goes out to all my fellow twentysomethings who viewed this as one of the most brutal fights of our young lives. Now, we can look back at this as a simpler time before social media when way too many pop stars spoke their minds in interviews and inspired spats between even the Disney-est of Disney stars.

I also love that this whole exchange revolves around slime.

5. Janet Jackson vs. Madonna

In most interviews, Janet just can't win. When she's not being asked about performing in the shadow of her more famous brother, she's being directly compared to Madonna, an artist she clearly has little fondness for. Even when trying to be respectful, she can't help but get in a little dig:

"It's dance music, I'll say that, which is very similar. How do I put this? I think that what I do has class to it. I'll say that."

In classic Madonna fashion, she plays coy when asked about the diss and says the whole thing was "rather transparent."

6. Mariah Carey vs. Christina Aguilera

For some reason, I don't remember this feud getting that much attention in the press, but it's clear that these two pop divas really have issues with each other. First, Christina blasts Mariah's supposedly rude behavior at a party and references her very public breakdown, a low blow even for these shady ladies.

Then, Mariah released a statement saying Christina was never invited to the party and was dropping her name for more promotion. Yikes.

But have they patched things up? Well, if this more recent video is any indicator, the answer is a resounding "no."

7. Cher vs. Madonna

Both these provocative performers have always spoken their minds, so when Cher gets asked about her thoughts on Madonna, you better believe she's going to spout off her honest opinion.

"I think she's unbelievably my day, I was pretty good at doing the same thing that she's doing, but she does it so much better. But, I mean, she's unbelievably creative because she's not unbelievably talented, she's not beautiful, but she's kind of rude."

The best part of this is that it starts with a compliment and the lands on probably the most insulting takedown on this list.

8. Miley Cyrus vs. Sinead O'Connor


Miley may have rubbed Nicki Minaj the wrong way, but the rapper certainly wasn't the first person to take issue with the young star. Sinead O'Connor published an open letter directed specifically to Miley Cyrus about how easy it is to be exploited in the music industry.

While it was pretty condescending, Miley's response was uncalled for. She took to Twitter to insult Sinead's battles with mental illness to try to discredit her character, linking to a recent mental breakdown and likening her to Amanda Bynes. Sinead demanded an apology and proclaimed:

"Have you any idea how stupid and dangerous it is to mock people for suffering illness?"

Miley replied saying she would resolve the matter in person, but it doesn't sound like a reconciliation is happening any time soon.

9. Mariah Carey vs. Jennifer Lopez

In one of the most iconic moments of mainstream shade ever recorded, Mariah Carey is asked about her thoughts on Jennifer Lopez right after heaping tons of praise on Beyoncé. What was Mariah's response?

"I don't know her." [Smirks]

Just to be clear, Mariah absolutely did know of JLo at this point in time. Claiming that she didn't is pretty much saying that Lopez is so low on her radar that she pretty much doesn't exist. Rough stuff.

10. Taylor Swift vs. Katy Perry

Though officially "unconfirmed," there's some strong evidence out there that places Katy Perry and Taylor Swift in a bitter feud. The claws starting coming out when Taylor made the following inciting comments to Rolling Stone magazine:

"For years, I was never sure if we were friends or not. She would come up to me at awards shows and say something and walk away and I would think, 'Are we friends, or did she just give me the harshest insult of my life?'"

After speculation on just who this person was ran wild, it didn't take long for Katy Perry to post this damning Tweet.

More recently, during the short-lived Twitter spat between Nicki Minaj and Taylor Swift, Katy Perry threw her opinion into the ring (and Taylor Swift under the bus).

After this acknowledgment, pretty much all pop fans believe that Taylor's "Bad Blood" is about Katy, and now it's just a matter of time before this really reaches a boiling point.

11. Aretha Franklin vs. Everyone


The Queen of Soul has also been quietly coming for Mariah's crown as Queen of Shade, but while Mariah's feuds are well-publicized, Aretha's been sparring with other pop divas for years.

In this video, after paying some sweet, industry-related compliments about to Adele and Alicia Keys, the interviewer asks her about Taylor Swift. Without missing a beat, Aretha answers with hilarious candor:

"Okay...Great gowns. Beautiful gowns."

It may be even worse when they get to Nicki Minaj, who Aretha sums up with a brutal "hmm....I'm gonna pass on that one." Aretha's true gift for outshining her rivals is clear in an amazing Gawker article by Rich Juzwiak, which sums up the unlucky singers caught under Aretha's shade. These include Natalie Cole, Celine Dion, Whitney Houston, and Patti Labelle (who Aretha is ignoring in the animation above). In short, don't cross Aretha because she will demand R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

At the end of the day, even if these feuds make our jaws drop, they also get us gabbing about all of these performers. In that sense, maybe celebrity rivalries are the fastest way to free publicity, and you certainly can't fault public figures for wanting that.


Latest from our Creators