In Defence Of: Xtina

As she drops her Lidl collaboration, we pick apart the wonders and woes of the pint-sized pop princess.

As I walk into a Lidl store ready to cop my first ever Christina Aguilera brush, a rush of wind catches my tresses as I stroll. Like a Phoenix rising from the ashes, I charge my way past the foreign meats with the smell of freshly baked pastries lingering in the air. I can see the collection; dozens of hair styling products all emblazoned with Christina’s beautiful, albeit photoshopped, face. I notice a fellow shopper point and smirk at the products before ploughing their hand into a bargain bucket of 90s CDs. It’s then that I’m hit by a realisation, how is it that Xtina came to this?  

The little girl with the big voice not only has 5 Grammy Awards, has sold over 70 million records worldwide and now, after collaborating with Lidl her very own hair styling range! After the collection was announced, social media instantly tore Xtina apart. Many questioned why Lidl? Why a hair styling range? Even I, a self-proclaimed Xtina stan, questioned whether or not Lidl even had a home in the US of A.

Regardless, fresh from the release of her sixth album Liberation (her first in six years) Xtina is officially back in the game – even if that may be with a box of hair-dryers. Her devoted fans, the fighters, have been biting their nails and tapping their toes as they sat impatiently waiting for new music. Her prior release, Lotus (2012), was a mediocre effort which saw her join forces with renowned pop producer and Ariana Grande collaborator, Max Martin. However, not even magnificent Max could get Christy a top ten hit with the sexually-driven lead single “Your Body” failing to make a mark on the top 40 charts.

But if we’re being totally honest, Xtina was already well-acquainted with a fall from the charts. Her album Bionic registered as the largest drop for a number one album, falling 28 places from number one to 28. The album also received mixed reviews, some complimented Xtina’s new electro direction while others labelled it “generic” and saw Xtina attempting to jump on the electro-pop bandwagon, hoping to rival then-newcomer Lady Gaga. Christina has since dismissed the negativity, claiming its a record that “only true music lovers will get.”

"Dirrty" by Xtina

Alongside the release of Bionic, Xtina followed in the footsteps of many flailing pop-stars and accepted a seat on the US version of The Voice. For seven seasons (seriously!), Xtina sat swivelling her chair hoping to find the next Leona Lewis or One Direction. She cemented the end of her time on the show by releasing a track called “Sick Of Sitting”… take from that what you will!

Despite a rough few years, there’s no denying that Queen Xtina is an absolute icon. British designer and fashion trailblazer Bobby Abley is a devoted Christina fan. His recent autumn/winter catwalk collection show at LFWM in January 2018, saw western style garms such as denim two-piece ensembles and leather jackets heavily influenced by the Dirrty’ singer. Millennial pop stars such as Miley Cyrus and Demi Lovato have also expressed their love for Xtina, and lets not forget Kylie Jenner’s 2016 Dirrty’ inspired halloween costume.

With 125 hours of Spotify playtime and 3 songs in my top 5, the pint-sized pop star has always been one of my favourite pop artists out there. I can vividly remember watching her strut around in a pair of leather chaps on MTV, and I, a mere flamboyant six-year old was loving it!

After being packaged as the perfect pop princess at the start of the noughties – a time where a speaky clean pop-star image was superior to vocal ability – Christina teamed up with Missy Elliott for a cover of Labelle’s Lady Marmalade (alongside other emerging pop divas Lil’ Kim, Maya and P!nk.) The sexualised and elaborate video enabled Ms X to push the envelope further when it came to making her sophomore record Stripped.

Regarded as her magnum opus, Stripped was an album for the underdog, for those who can’t and won’t, be defined by society. Even with the stimulated orgy scenes in her videos and the piercings she donned, she perpetuated empowerment and feminism and I’m pretty sure there’s a whole PornHub category inspired by her…

Don’t get me wrong Christina was not at all the first pop star to embrace and exude sexuality as a means of self-expression, to “burn their bra” so to speak. Pop culture legends such as Madonna and Janet Jackson did this with their – pretty much entire – back catalogue. However, Christina did definitely lead the way at the beginning of the noughties, influencing the next generation who perhaps were too young for Janet’s Velvet Rope and Madonna’s Erotica.

"Ain't No Other Man" by Xtina

A landmark moment in Xtina’s career was the release of Stripped’s second single; the poignant Linda Perry penned ballad “Beautiful”. An anthem for the abused and powerless, it went on to win a Grammy Award, topped the charts in six countries and resonated with a mass audience worldwide. The Jonas Arklund directed music video garnered a GLAAD Media Award for its positive portrayal of people who felt ostracized from society and UK LGBT rights charity Stonewall named Beautiful, as, “the most empowering song of the decade.”

With all these achievements, I am still unable to fathom the reason why people are being so harsh on her and her collaboration with Lidl – perhaps, she’s intent on being the new Vidal Sassoon, or maybe she’s just hoping to make a quick buck. Let’s face it, ever since marketing and PR came into fruition, endorsement deals are a perfect way for an artist to not only get a lifetime supply of a product, but to earn an extra bit of cash on the side, and with locks as icon as hers, she’ll want to keep them in ship-shape! Also, think back to X-Factor alumni boy band JLS who had their own range of condoms after partnering with Durex. (I may or may not have had Marvins…) With a back catalogue as impressive as hers, in my opinion, not even her very own Christina Aguilera endorsed hairdryer can blow away her iconic legacy…