Nicki Minaj
The singer / rapper with as many alter-egos as she has wigs really started hitting the headlines in 2011. In January, she appeared on Saturday Night Live and the following week, her album Pink Friday had reached the number one spot on the Billboard chart. Since then, she's gone Top Ten in the UK, Australia and Canada and featured on David Guetta's Nothing But the Beat album. With a second album in the pipeline, Nicki Minaj's star is definitely in the ascendant.

The Vaccines
Formed in 2010, this West London band found fame in 2011, with the release of their debut album What Did You Expect from the Vaccines? Along with an endorsement from the Arctic Monkeys (The Vaccines supported them at the 10,000 capacity Don Valley Bowl gig), The Vaccines ended the summer of 2011 with victorious gigs at the Reading & Leeds festivals. Global domination has been postponed until 2012, whilst singer Justin Young recovers from vocal problems, which caused them to cancel their planned tours of Japan and the USA.

Tom Hardy
Although Tom Hardy has been honing his craft for many years, it was his appearance in 2010's Inception that really had casting directors training their eyes on him. And in 2011, his performance in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy earned him an award nomination for Best Supporting Actor at the British Independent Film Awards. And with the trailer for the latest Batman instalment (The Dark Knight Rises) released at the end of 2011, anticipation is reaching fever pitch amongst fans keen to see Hardy's portrayal of the new villain, Bane.

Andrew Garfield
Andrew Garfield's career has been warming up for some time; he appeared in Todd Haynes' acclaimed Lions for Lambs in 2007 and 2009's The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus. It wasn't until he featured in the cinematic re-telling of the story of Facebook (The Social Network) alongside Justin Timberlake that he truly became a household name. Having secured the lead role in the next two Spiderman films, Garfield will be one to watch for a few years to come.

Katy B
Causing hardcore dubstep fans to admit to having pop sensibilities and lending mainstream pop fans an element of cool, Katy B became the breakthrough crossover artist who helped to bring dubstep to a wider audience in 2011. In the summer of 2010, she started making waves with the slow-burning release of 'Katy on a Mission' and then in 2011, she followed it up with a hit album of the same name, which debuted at number 2 in the UK and was nominated for a slew of awards nominations, including Q magazine's Breakthrough Artist and Best Album / Best UK Act at the 2011 MOBO awards.

ODD FUTURE WOLFGANG KILL THEM ALL
A ramshackle hip-hop collective as famed for their misogynistic and homophobic lyrics as they are for their production skills, OFWKTA have as many rumours notched up next to their name as they do record sales. If there's one thing they've achieved in 2011, though, it's to get tongues wagging. They've waged online war with indie guru Steve Albini on their Twitter pages, they've been booted off the bill of the New Zealand Big Day Out festival dates and they've amused and horrified in equal measure with their drug-inspired videos. Whether or not Tyler the Creator and his crew can keep up the controversy, they have a UK tour in the offing that sold out in a matter of hours; their performances there should be the litmus test that will verify their longevity in the music business.

Noomi Rapace
This Swedish actress found fame in 2011 with the Scandinavian film adaptations of Stieg Larsson's The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo series of novels (known as 'The Millenium' series). She played the role of Lisbeth Salander and her performance has left her in demand in Hollywood, landing her a role in Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. It will be her first English-speaking film role and will see her sharing screen time with the likes of Robert Downey Jr and Jude Law. She has also been cast in Ridley Scott's upcoming Prometheus.

Rosie Huntington-Whiteley
With the beginnings of a successful modelling career, the well-to-do British darling landed the role of the female lead in 2011's Transformers: Dark of the Moon, replacing Megan Fox, who starred in the film's prequel. Her performance earned her the 'Female Star of Tomorrow' award at the CinemaCon award ceremony, even if the critical response to her acting wasn't always positive, across the board. Regardless of her acting prowess, Huntington-Whiteley is the face of the Burberry fragrance ad campaign, so her name will be on everyone's lips for some time to come.

LANA DEL REY
When her debut single 'Video Games' was released, music critics and fans alike were quickly whipped into a frenzy of adulation for the mysterious singer, with her David Lynch-like vocals and the nostalgic music video that accompanied the track. Controversy wasn't far behind the adulation, with bloggers and journalists speculating on her apparent cosmetic enhancements, and others decrying her 'authenticity' and desperately uncovering her privileged upbringing. With all the debate surrounding LANA DEL REY, it's easy to forget that she has only released one track, officially. Though, with the impending release of 'Born To Die', she has something to prove to her detractors.

Nicholas Hoult
Already known for his 'child actor' roles, in the Nick Hornby adaptation About a Boy and the TV show Skins, 2011 was the year that Nicholas Hoult broke through into the mainstream as a credible adult actor. He had already laid the foundations with his acclaimed appearance in A Single Man but in 2011, he stepped into Hollywood Blockbuster territory, featuring in X-Men: First Class alongside the likes of Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy and Kevin Bacon.

Skrillex
America's one-man answer to dubstep, Skrillex (aka Sonny John Moore), Skrillex is something of an unlikely electronic music hero, as he started out performing in the post-hardcore / emo band From First To Last. As a producer, he has worked his way to success by producing for the metal bands Korn Bring Me The Horizon. His own work - a mixture of dubstep, rock, glitch-house and techno - hit the big time in 2011, as he gradually crossed from the underground to the mainstream, with endorsements from the likes of Zane Lowe in the UK and live dates lined up with BENGA in New York in 2012.