How did Lady Gaga top Oprah on the Forbes Celebrity 100 List?

When you look at the 2011 Forbes Celebrity 100 List, the first thing that pops out at you is that Oprah isn’t on top . . . and that Lady Gaga is. A little closer look at what gave Gaga the win uncovers something very interesting about this year’s rankings.

Lady Gaga Born This Way Forbes Celebrity 100 List

If you look at salaries, Oprah’s $290 million dwarfs Gaga’s measly $90 million. And when you look at the television ranking, Oprah is still number one. So, what gave Gaga the edge?

Lady Gaga Born this Way Forbes Celebrity 100 List, Oprah, Justin Bieber

Lady Gaga has a more than respectable #3 TV/Radio ranking and #2 Press ranking, but that’s not what put her on top. The internet did. Gaga’s two #1 categories are web rank and social rank. The new rankings don’t just mean that Gaga beats Oprah, they also mean that the internet beat television. So, this win is for the little monsters: Gaga’s 32 million Facebook fans and 10 million Twitter followers.

Lady Gaga Forbes Celebrity 100 List Born this way

Just in case you still thought it was a man’s world, it is worth noting that the top “man” on the list is Justin Bieber, whose position was also solidified by the internet and social media categories. Apparently, when you have something on Youtube that’s been viewed 500 million times, Forbes takes note. The band, U2 sits collectively at #4, so you really have to go down to Elton John at #5 to find a Forbes Celebrity who has to shave.

It will be interesting to see if these trends continue, and we have no reason to think that they won’t. Oprah is still the queen of television, but TV ain’t what it used to be.

For more details on how the list is created, check out this piece at Forbes. com.

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