Will Katy Perry's role as Smurfette in "The Smurfs 2" make the pop hitmaker into a movie star? Perhaps not, but you couldn't blame her for trying. After all, plenty of pop singers have made the successful transition to screen actress. While being a cartoon heroine, in a role where no one can see your face, isn't the best way to go about it, others have done a lot worse.
Below, read our ranking of the top 25 singers-turned-actresses, and decide for yourself where the "Teenage Dream" singer might fit on the list.
Gallery | The Top 25 Singers-Turned-Actresses in Movies
- 25. Miley Cyrus
Okay, you probably didn't think much of the Disney Channel alumna in her dual role in the "Hannah Montana" concert movie, or in the lead in the romantic drama "The Last Song." Still, she showed surprising comic chops as a guest on "Two and a Half Men," and she's still a tween icon. Count her out at your peril.
- 24. Alicia Keys
The singer/pianist made her screen debut as a sultry assassin in 2006's "Smokin' Aces," then followed it up with a sweet best-friend role in 2007's "The Nanny Diaries" and a straight dramatic role as Queen Latifah's snooty sister in 2008's "The Secret Life of Bees." She's rumored to be playing Lena Horne in her next movie, and really, who could do better?
- 23. Mariah Carey
After a decade at the top of the music charts, Carey was widely ridiculed for her lead role in 2001's semi-autobiographical musical "Glitter," a movie that almost ended her showbiz career. But after her nearly unrecognizable, make-up-free, ego-free dramatic turn as a social worker in 2009's "Precious," movie audiences were ready to forgive her. She reteams with that film's director, Lee Daniels, in August's historical drama "The Butler."
- 22. Madonna
Madonna takes a lot of flak for her screen failures (most notoriously, "Swept Away," directed by then-husband Guy Ritchie), but she also deserves credit for her magnetic screen debut as a downtown New York hipster in "Desperately Seeking Susan," her wisecracking ballplayer in "A League of Their Own," and her emotional turn in the lead role of the musical "Evita." She's a performer who always seems to have at least one more comeback left in her, and now that she's turned to directing, maybe that next comeback will be on screen.
- 21. Olivia Newton-John
Soft-rocker/country crooner Newton-John was 30 when she played high-schooler Sandy in "Grease," but it's impossible to imagine the smash musical without her iconic pairing with John Travolta. Her attempts since to recapture the "Grease" magic -- as a campy muse in cult musical hit "Xanadu," or reteaming with Travolta in "Two of a Kind" -- didn't really work. Still, in recent years, whether on "Glee" or in the Australian big-screen comedy "A Few Best Men," she's shown she still has the sense of humor and winning smile that made her a screen sweetheart 35 years ago.
- 20. Diana Ross
The Supremes frontwoman's big-screen debut was a bombshell: a pull-out-all-the-stops performance as jazz singer Billie Holiday in 1972's "Lady Sings the Blues" that earned her a Best Actress Oscar nomination. Then came her vanity turn as a troubled model in "Mahogany," saved from total camp classic status by her haunting rendition of the theme song ("Do You Know Where You're Going To?"). She seemed an unlikely choice to play Dorothy in 1978's "The Wiz" (she was 33 at the time), but turning the character into a schoolteacher worked (as did her promise to bring Michael Jackson on board as the Scarecrow). She's not made a movie since, but even if she'd just made "Lady Sings the Blues," her big-screen reputation would be secure.
- 18. Aaliyah
The R&B singer proved a commanding presence on screen in the crime thriller "Romeo Must Die" and as a regal vampire in the Anne Rice adaptation "Queen of the Damned." She'd have co-starred as a heroine in the "Matrix" sequels if not for her tragic 2001 death in a plane crash at age 22.
- 17. Vanessa Williams
The "Save the Best for Last" singer has been better known in recent years for her comic roles on TV ("Ugly Betty," "Desperate Housewives") than movies, but she made an impact in such African-American ensemble pictures as "Soul Food" and "Johnson Family Vacation." This year, the still-striking 50-year-old former Miss America returned to the big screen in Tyler Perry's "Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor."
- 16. Tina Turner
The iconic soul singer made her screen debut in the 1975 film of The Who's rock opera "Tommy" as the Acid Queen, who corrupts poor Roger Daltrey over the course of a three-minute song. But her best-known screen role is as villainess Aunty Entity in "Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome." Not only does she take on Mel Gibson, but she gets to belt out the hit "We Don't Need Another Hero" on the soundtrack.
- 15. Deborah Harry
Before Madonna, Blondie's Deborah Harry was writing the roles for how to be a rock frontwoman and sex symbol. Her movie roles have been small but memorable, in such horror hits as "Videodrome" and "Tales from the Darkside" and quirky independent films like "Hairspray" (as snobby villainess Velma Von Tussle) and "Heavy." In the last decade, she's appeared in the acclaimed indie dramas "My Life Without Me" and "Elegy."
- 14. Janet Jackson
Before the youngest of the Jackson siblings inevitably turned to music, she was already well-known as a child actress, with regular TV roles on "Good Times" and "Diff'rent Strokes." Still, it wasn't until she'd become a huge pop star that the R&B singer made her movie debut in "Poetic Justice," John Singleton's drama about an inner-city poet who reluctantly strikes up a relationship with an amorous postman (fellow artist Tupac Shakur). She also held her own opposite multiple Eddie Murphys in "Nutty Professor II: The Klumps." Her nipple-shield incident at the 2004 Super Bowl may have derailed her music career, but she's since appeared in three Tyler Perry movies, including "Why Did I Get Married?" and "For Colored Girls."
- 13. Bjork
For her starring role in 2000's "Dancer in the Dark," the Icelandic singer shed all her usual elfin trappings to play Selma, a typically beleaguered Lars von Trier heroine, one who finds in Broadway musicals (particularly "The Sound of Music") a refuge from her dreary life of oppressive hardship. The experience of making "Dancer" was reportedly so traumatic that she hasn't made a fiction feature since (though she has appeared in work by her husband, experimental filmmaker Matthew Barney), but the result was an unforgettably intense, heartbreaking, unexpectedly joyful performance.
- 12. Lena Horne
Horne might have been a major screen star if she hadn't tried to break into movies in the 1940s, when black singers were usually relegated to musical numbers that could be snipped from prints shown in theaters in the segregated South. Still, she made an indelible impression in two 1943 movies with all-black casts, "Cabin in the Sky" and "Stormy Weather." After what should have been her breakthrough year, Hollywood had only incidental parts available for the sultry siren, and she gave up movies for many years until lured back for a dramatic part in 1969's "Death of a Gunfighter." She had one final hurrah, as Glinda the Good Witch in 1978's "The Wiz," directed by her son-in-law, Sidney Lumet. The movie wasn't great, but "Believe in Yourself" became a late-career standard for the cabaret legend.
- 11. Courtney Love
Love actually made her screen debut before she was (in)famous as the frontwoman of Hole and the widow of Kurt Cobain; she auditioned for the title role of punk princess Nancy Spungen in 1986's "Sid & Nancy" but landed just a walk-on as a punkette. Once she was famous, her landing the role of porn queen Althea Flynt in 1996's "The People vs. Larry Flynt" looked just as gimmicky, but she wowed critics with her raw, unflinching performance opposite Woody Harrelson. She reteamed with "Flynt" director Milos Forman for a surprisingly normal role as comedian Andy Kaufman's (Jim Carrey) love interest in "Man on the Moon." And she gave an underrated light-comic turn as a downtown New York scenester who falls for her best pal (Paul Rudd) in "200 Cigarettes." Her last major role was as a kidnapper in the 2002 thriller "Trapped," but who knows what else she could do on screen, if she ever gets her act together again.
- 10. Whitney Houston
Was Whitney Houston a good actress or just a charismatic, commanding screen presence? It didn't matter when the result was "The Bodyguard," her smash screen debut, with a role that fit her to a T (a gorgeous, proud pop diva) and one of the top-selling soundtrack albums of all time (thanks to her rafter-shaking rendition of Dolly Parton's ballad "I Will Always Love You"). Even without music, however, she shone as one of the four galpals in "Waiting to Exhale." And she and Denzel Washington proved perfectly regal substitutes for Loretta Young and Cary Grant in the remake "The Preacher's Wife." Alas, her demons kept her from appearing in multiplexes again until after her shocking death in 2012. Her posthumous role as a showbiz mom in the remake of "Sparkle" could have sparked a screen comeback, but we'll never know.
- 9. Jennifer Lopez
- 8. Beyonce
In her screen debut, as Foxxy Cleopatra in the third "Austin Powers" movie, the former Destiny's Child frontwoman held her own as a comic presence opposite Mike Myers. She went on to prove herself in dramas and musicals, notably, "Dreamgirls" (in a role modeled after Diana Ross) and "Cadillac Records" (as torchy blues belter Etta James). Her regal voice role as Queen Tara in this summer's animated feature "Epic" was the busy performer's first film in four years; clearly, the movies need her more than she needs the movies.
- 7. Jennifer Hudson
Like Barbra Streisand, the "American Idol" finalist would win an Oscar on her first try, in the role of Effie White in 2006's "Dreamgirls." Not only that, but she upstaged Beyoncé and Eddie Murphy, no mean feat. She went on to inject some much-needed youthful energy (and, let's face it, color) into the first "Sex and the City" movie, then gave a heartfelt dramatic performance in "The Secret Life of Bees." She's been seen more on the small screen lately, but she'll be back on the big-screen, angling for another Oscar, in the role of Winnie Mandela in September's "Winnie."
- 6. Dolly Parton
Dolly Parton can only play Dolly Parton, but she does it so well. From "9 to 5" to "Steel Magnolias," she spent the '80s lending her movies some much-needed Southern sass. She hasn't acted much in recent years, and some unfortunate plastic surgery has made her even more of a caricature than she used to be, but she did enjoy yet another tailor-made part as a gospel choir singer in last year's "Joyful Noise."
- 5. Mandy Moore
The teen pop princess has proved a fresh-faced young leading lady in such comedies as "License to Wed" and "Because I Said So," and she's also sent up that same image in spoofs like "American Dreamz" and edgy indie fare like "Saved!" She's also done well in cartoons, particularly as Rapunzel in Disney's hit "Tangled." If any pop singer has a shot at a diverse screen career, it's she.
- 4. Queen Latifah
Will Smith aside, the former Dana Owens has made the most consistently successful transition from hip-hop to movies. From crime dramas ("Set It Off") to musicals ("Chicago," which earned her an Oscar nomination; "Hairspray") to cartoons (the "Ice Age" movies) to broad comedies ("Bringing Down the House," "Last Holiday"), Latifah has shown incredible versatility and an everywoman appeal that makes her relatable to audiences
- 3. Cher
Few have fought harder to be taken seriously as an actress than the woman once best known for her bickering banter with her ex-husband on their TV variety show. Cher proved her dramatic chops in gritty, fierce roles in such films as "Silkwood," "Mask," and "Suspect," then went on to win a rare Best Actress Oscar for a comic role as a tempestuous Brooklyn accountant in "Moonstruck." Her film career foundered in the late 1990s, but every once in a while, she pops back up in something like "Stuck on You" or "Burlesque" to prove that she's still got it, and that she's an indestructible force of nature.
- 2. Bette Midler
Part Barbra Streisand, part Mae West, Midler carved a place for herself in film through sheer force of her brassy personality. Her debut, 1979's "The Rose," showed her capable of the rawest drama (she played a self-destructive, Janis Joplin-like rock star), but she went on to prove herself in a variety of genres, from raucous comedies ("Down and Out in Beverly Hills," "The First Wives Club") to sentimental weepies ("Beaches," "Stella"). Lately, she's transitioned to grandmotherly roles ("Parental Guidance"), but she can still deliver a wisecrack or break a heart.
- 1. Barbra Streisand
She'd already conquered records, Broadway, and TV by the time she made her boffo film debut in "Funny Girl" and won a Best Actress Oscar on her first try. Even though she's made just 19 films in the last 45 years, you really can't overstate the impact she had on cinema. She did nothing less than redefine how a movie's leading lady should look and what she should sound like. At 71, she still looks pretty great and has lost none of her comic touch. But if you liked her in last year's "The Guilt Trip" or as Ben Stiller's mom in the Fockers movies, you really should go back to her oldies -- from "What's Up, Doc" and "The Way We Were" to "Yentl" and "The Prince of Tides" -- to see the full range of her passionate, zany, intense, sexy screen presence.