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Lady Gaga boots Oprah from top spot of Forbes celeb power list

Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga Photo Credit: Getty Images

Lady Gaga has officially conquered everything, even Oprah.

The pop queen has dethroned the queen of daytime talk as the most powerful entertainer on Forbes’ annual “Celebrity 100” list.

Oprah Winfrey, who ends her venerable talk show next Wednesday, earned $290 million last year, the magazine said Wednesday.

While Gaga made $200 million less than Oprah last year, what put her on the top was something even a media mogul’s money couldn’t buy: 32 million Facebook fans and 10 million Twitter followers.

“Anyone can have a Twitter account – someone like Julia Roberts has a Twitter account,” said Forbes staff writer Dorothy Pomerantz. “But Lady Gaga really tweets all the time. It’s an important part of who she is and why she’s so famous and so powerful.”

The social-media aspect of Lady Gaga’s popularity dwarfs even Oprah, whose Twitter following numbers nearly 5.9 million.

While Lady Gaga, 25, can rely on her music being played on radio and MTV, her social-media savvy is key to her success and building brand loyalty, said Joe Ciarallo, of Buddy Media, a Manhattan-based company that helped the songstress build a special web page for her charity endeavors this year.

“Lady Gaga is an example of one of the most successful artists in terms of using social media to connect with fans,” Ciarallo said. “She speaks to them. They’re what she calls her ‘Little Monsters,’ and she lets them know this song is for you. If you’re a fan, how awesome is that?”

Gaga was able to move up from No. 4 on the Forbes list in 2010. This year, the 100 celebrities collectively earned $4.5 billion.

Elayne Rapping, a professor of media studies at SUNY Buffalo, said the Internet has helped catapult people – talented or not – into overnight “viral” sensations. But their shelf life is another story.

“Lady Gaga is the new big thing, but I don’t know how long she will last. These types of people come and go,” Rapping said. “So while Oprah appeals to an aging demographic, she may be the last big superstar with staying power.”

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Top 10 of Forbes' 'Celebrity 100'

1. Lady Gaga
2. Oprah Winfrey
3. Justin Bieber
4. U2
5. Elton John
6. Tiger Woods
7. Taylor Swift
8. Bon Jovi
9. Simon Cowell
10. Lebron James

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