Popular (Wicked song)

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Song by Kristin Chenoweth from the album Wicked
Released December 16, 2003
Recorded November 10, 2003
Genre Show tunes
Label Decca Broadway
Writer(s) Stephen Schwartz

"Popular" is a song from the Tony Award-winning musical Wicked. It is performed by the Broadway company's original Glinda, Kristin Chenoweth, on the original Broadway cast recording. The song is about a popular girl (Glinda) trying to help her unpopular roommate (Elphaba) become more popular.


"It's [the song] meant to be as shallow as possible. And I think that's why people enjoy it, because it's real funny in that way. But it's also political. Glinda refers to the fact that politicians and heads of state get by not because they're particularly smart, but because people like to hang out with them."[1]

—Stephen Schwartz talking about "Popular"

"Popular" was written by the composer Stephen Schwartz for the first act of the 2003 musical Wicked. It is sung by the character Glinda. While writing the song, Schwartz imagined one of "those cheerleaders" - "She was the most popular girl at school, and she always went out with the captain of the football team. She was always the homecoming queen, blonde with a perky nose - the whole thing." Schwartz has compared the song to the film Clueless.[1]

In "Popular", Glinda attempts to get Elphaba, the future Wicked Witch of the West, to conform to the accepted ideas of beauty and popularity. Schwartz described the lyrics as "empty calories" and shallow. The composition of the song is a more bubblegum sound than the rest of the musical, with Beatles influences. Glinda also yodels on the word "popular" because Schwartz was thinking of Oklahoman Kristin Chenoweth while writing the song.[1]

Critical reception[edit]

Laura Reineke of the blog Vulture ranked "Popular" as the second-best song from Wicked, calling it "bubbly and refreshingly self-aware" and praising it for showcasing Kristin Chenoweth's singing and comedic talent.[2]

Covers, samples, and alternate versions[edit]

"Popular" was sampled in the artist Mika's ft. Ariana Grande 'Popular Song' for his album The Origin of Love. It was also sampled by the producer Pheelz in his song "Popular" which features the artiste Vector for his "#A7" audio - visual album.

On July 31, 2013, Kristin Chenoweth performed a lyrically modified version of "Popular" on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, about New York politician Anthony Weiner. In it, she tells Weiner how to be "the right kind of popular," and also his wife to "take a page from Hillary and become independent of her hubby, while [Weiner sports] a chat room chubby." Some of the original lyrics are also present.[3]

In late 2014, Chenoweth included a multilingual version of the song in her live album Coming Home. This new rendition includes lyrics from the Japanese and German versions of the song.

In 2015, the song was covered in the sixth season of the TV series, Glee. It was sung by Lea Michele and Chris Colfer as Rachel Berry and Kurt Hummel in the episode "2009".


  1. ^ a b c David Cote (2005). Wicked: The Grimmerie. Hyperion. pp. 78–79. ISBN 1-4013-0820-1. 
  2. ^ Reineke, Laura (October 30, 2013). "Wicked at 10: Ranking the Broadway Hit's Songs". Vulture. New York. New York Media, LLC. Retrieved September 14, 2014. 
  3. ^ Lewis, Hilary (July 31, 2013). "Kristin Chenoweth Sings Anthony Weiner-Inspired 'Popular' Parody (Video)". The Hollywood Reporter. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved September 14, 2014.