Billboard’s Greatest Pop Stars of 2023: No. 3 — Beyoncé

For this year’s update of our ongoing Greatest Pop Star by Year project, Billboard is counting down our staff picks for the top 10 pop stars of 2023 all this week. At No. 3, we remember the year in Beyoncé — who, 25 years into her superstardom, proved once again that whenever she puts her imprint on a year, she needs to be mentioned among the handful of greatest active pop stars.


With the groundbreaking 2022 she had, Beyoncé could have taken a year off, basking in the success of her Billboard 200 chart-topping album, Renaissance. However, a Queen never rests, and Bey continued her reign through 2023.

She kicked off the year with the growth of “Cuff It,” her second hit from Renaissance following “Break My Soul.” The song ultimately hit the top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 (peaking at No. 6 in February), boosted by a TikTok-viral dance, and received a “Wetter” remix (based on a viral mashup of the original “Cuff It” with Twista’s 2009 hit “Wetter”) with new vocals, which was also very well-received by fans.

Billboard’s Greatest Pop Stars of 2023:
Introduction & Honorable Mentions | Rookie of the Year: Peso Pluma | Comeback of the Year: Miley Cyrus | No. 10: Drake | No. 9: Doja Cat | No. 8: Bad Bunny | No. 7: Olivia Rodrigo | No. 6: Karol G | No. 5: Morgan Wallen | No. 4: Beyoncé

Within two months of 2023, Beyoncé made history. At the 65th annual Grammy Awards in February, while she controversially lost the top album of the year award to Harry Styles’ Harry’s House – meaning she’s still yet to take him the top prize at Music’s Biggest Night – she still ultimately took home four awards, two in the dance categories and two in the R&B categories. The victories brought her to 32 total for her career, and past composer Georg Solti for the all-time record of most Grammy wins.


“I’d like to thank the queer community for your love and for inventing [the dance/electronic] genre. God bless you,” she said in part during her historic acceptance speech – a powerful public display of allyship on a major award show, proving once more that Queen Bey’s kingdom includes everyone.

Just when fans thought Bey couldn’t “get no higher than this,” she raised the bar again. After releasing a celebratory, high-octane remix of “America Has a Problem” featuring Kendrick Lamar – which helped return the song to the Hot 100 at a new peak inside the top 40 – Beyoncé kicked off her long-awaited Renaissance World Tour stadium show in Stockholm, Sweden, in May, complete with dazzling costumes, a hit-filled setlist and jaw-dropping choreography. While many were unable to snag the prized tickets to the show, every detail of the tour flooded social media, allowing for fans at home worldwide to enjoy the glitz and glamor of the Renaissance shows.

The tour was a gift that kept on giving throughout 2023, with countless celebrities in attendance every night, including pop stars like Selena Gomez and Dua Lipa, rock legends like Paul McCartney and even Bey’s former Destiny’s Child groupmates Kelly Rowland, Michelle Williams, LaTavia Roberson and LeToya Luckett. The “mute challenge” became a prominent part of the set during “Energy”: When Bey sang, “Look around, everybody on mute,” the crowd would actually fall silent, a hilarious yet beautifully uniting moment of stillness – leading to even-funnier moments of fans failing the challenge and scolding each other for it.

Following in the footsteps of her mother, Blue Ivy Carter also had her time to shine throughout the 56-show run, becoming a fan-favorite part of the set, as she danced onstage during “My Power” and “Black Parade” night after night. The tour wrapped off just as impressively as it began, claiming the title of 2023’s top-grossing tour among those who reported numbers to Billboard Box Score, with $579.8 million and 2.8 million tickets sold.

A Queen also knows when to give her fellow Queens their roses, with Beyoncé setting the example for women everywhere with her constant support for Taylor Swift, who was also making waves throughout the year with her own Eras Tour. With the two pop superstars attending each other’s concert film premieres and posing happily with each other, before sharing public words of adoration, the world watched in real time as the powerhouses worked together to shift the culture of women being pit against each other to women lifting each other up – perhaps Bey’s most important accomplishment in 2023.

Speaking of concert documentaries, Renaissance: A Film by Beyoncé — which the superstar wrote, directed and produced —arrived in December to close out Bey’s history-making year strong. On its opening weekend, the film opened in first place with a whopping $21 million in North American ticket sales, sitting at an impressive 100% on Rotten Tomatoes and a coveted A+ CinemaScore from opening weekend audiences who were polled. Despite having a full album of hits freshly on her hands, Bey still snuck in a new song in 2023, the surprise “My House,” which arrived on the same day as the film.

Overall 2023 felt like a year of solidification for Beyoncé after more than two decades in the spotlight, re-confirming her status as one of music’s most important contemporary icons for many years to come. If we’ve learned anything from this year, Beyoncé is going to continue to show her power in 2024 – but she’s yet to reveal if that means her unveiling the next part of her Renaissance series, or dabble in a new genre, like with her long-rumored country album. Whatever she decides on next, the BeyHive has their Queen’s back.

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