12 Pop Stars Who Tried To Launch Acting Careers

Mariah Carey Glitter


Last week, inspired by Lucy Hale’s new album, we gave you a list of other TV actresses who decided to step off the screen and behind a microphone… to varying degrees of success. Today, it’s time to look at the flip side of that — pop stars who set out try their hand at acting. Some of them fared better than others.

So obviously it just makes sense to rank them from “Yeah, you can totally do both. What a multi-talented performer you are” to “Please never be in anything ever again, thank you very much.”

1. Cher

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(Photo: WENN)

You know who’s a great singer and a fabulous performer? Cher. You know who’s also a great actress who’s been in classics like Moonstruck, Silkwood and Mask? Cher. You know who won an Oscar? Cher.

2. Jennifer Hudson

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(Photo: WENN)

Another Oscar winner who can belt it out and then go turn in an emotional performance. In Dreamgirls, the belting and the emotion went hand in hand. And the fact that she didn’t even win her season of American Idol makes it even cooler.

3. Mandy Moore

mandy moore(Photo: WENN)

I think the sign of a singer who’s successfully transitioned into acting is when I see them and think about them as equal parts singer and actor. That’s what I think when I see Mandy Moore. I love her music, and I also think she’s a natural actress. Even if A Walk to Remember was cheesy.

4. Madonna


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Before she was sporting grills and showing off her armpit hair, Madonna was in some pretty big movies. There was A League of Their Own, Desperately Seeking Susan, and of course Evita, for which she took home a Golden Globe. Not too shabby.

5. Justin Timberlake

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(Photo: WENN)

Justin’s another example where I typically think of him as both a singer and an actor. In addition to some great SNL hosting gigs, he’s tried his hand at a variety of genres, from romantic comedy to drama to action. He’s not always that great at it, though, and we’ve seen so much of him you have to wonder if it’s time to focus on just one thing for a while.

6. Beyonce


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Other than Dreamgirls, the movies Beyonce’s been in haven’t always been high quality. Anyone else remember Obsessed? Cringe. Still, you gotta give her credit for the good stuff.

6. Britney Spears

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(Photo: WENN)

Oh, Britney. Britney, Britney, Britney. Crossroads was… interesting. She had some pretty entertaining turns on sitcoms like Will & Grace after that, but she should probably keep her day job. And by that I mean lip-syncing. (I know, I know, leave Britney alone.)

8. Christina Aguilera

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(Photo: Getty)

Aside from a role as herself in Get Him to the Greek, Christina’s only appeared in Burlesque. And that got less than positive reviews, to put it nicely. It’s okay, Christina, you’ve still got that incredible voice.

9. Jessica Simpson

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(Photo: Getty)

If that whole “chicken or tuna” dumb blonde thing on her reality show was for sure an act, I might have to put her higher. But based on her movie career alone, it doesn’t look like Jess has a very bright future on that front. Anyone remember Employee of the Month?

10. Taylor Swift

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(Photo: WENN)

She made out with Taylor Lautner in Valentine’s Day, gave an over-the-top, super short performance on New Girl, and now she’s going to be in The Giver, one of the most highly anticipated YA adaptations of the year. Maybe she’ll prove us wrong and earn a higher spot on this list. We shall see.

11. Mariah Carey

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 (Photo: WENN)

At least Mariah more recently starred in the critically acclaimed Precious, although it was a small role. But then there’s Glitter. She won the Razzie for Worst Actress, and her cleavage was nominated for Worst Couple. Oh, and then years later she was nominated for Worst Actress of the Decade.

12. Rihanna


(Photo: Getty)

I don’t know about you, but I forgot Battleship was even a movie (I think I blocked it out), let alone that Rihanna starred in it. And that’s probably for the best.

You can reach this post's author, Jill O’Rourke, on twitter.
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    • M_G

      Kind of surprised about several people not on this list on one end or the other….like Jennifer Lopez, Whitney Houston, Elvis (although now we’re going a bit far back)….but there are a LOT of crossover attempts, so…….

      • Jem

        I think Jennifer Lopez was a dancer first, THEN an actress (Selena), THEN a singer.

    • Olivia Wilson

      “At least you can wear clothes nicely.” – What I imagine the director of Battleship said to Rihanna on the last day of filming.

    • TJ

      I recently watched Moonstruck, the movie that won Cher an Oscar, and I have to be honest. It was super bizarre. And I didn’t really think it was very good. So I don’t know what I’m missing there but I am not a fan of Cher’s acting… Maybe my opinion was colored though from having watched Burlesque first. That was truly atrocious.

    • Ananya Subramani

      Was Jared Leto an actor first? If not, I think he’s one of the most successful crossovers. His movies have been great and I have a soft spot for ‘Requiem for a dream.’

      • Jem

        Jordan Catalano!!!!

    • Elizabeth Aspen

      Mariah’s actually not that bad. Glitter was laughable but she was in something called ‘Wisegirls’ and was pretty good in it, and some indie cowboy movie with Chris O’Donnell.

    • Jenny

      Can’t believe you put Taylor Swift below Bey and Britney. She did this perfect ditzy-cute-silly girl thing in Valentine’s Day; Obsessed was horrifyingly painful :P
      (Am I the only one who still goes ‘Walk it off, babe. Just walk it off. You’re still hot, baby, you’re still hot!’ ? Okay, then….)

    • LauranGraziano

      These Actress are trying to make a good singing in the show,

    • parisc

      No lies, I was just arguing back and forth about JT with my cousin a few days ago! I think Alpha Dog is what really killed it for me (and him).

    • ivory

      Did you notice though between mariah Carey, Britney spears, Christina aguilera, mandy moore and Jessica, that Jessica Simpson was the one that had major roles regardless of feedback or critics reviews? The dukes of hazard with Johnny Knoxville and Sean William Scott, and employee of the month with Dane Cook and Dax Shepherd. In my opinion she did better than the rest of them, her acting is not terrible, id watch her in anything she acts in big role or small role.

      Also yes Jared leto should’ve been on this list as well he’s amazing!

      • cassidy

        Jared Leto was an actor before he became a singer, so he would be on the list of actors who became singers not vice versa. His acting career began in the early 90s, 30 Seconds to Mars wasn’t started until 98