Time announced the eight candidates for 2014’s Person of the Year and the list is definitely eclectic.
Of course, the person of the year isn’t always named because what they’re doing is right or commendable, which makes the announcement all the more suspenseful and controversial. At least, I think we can all agree, Kim Kardashian is thankfully out of the running.
Here are the finalists.
1. The Ferguson protestors
Ferguson has become this year’s spotlight on the state of the country. Police officer, Darren Wilson, shot Michael Brown, an unarmed black teen, inciting a flurry of protests when the incident occurred in August. Just a few weeks ago, the grand jury’s decision not to indict Wilson caused another mass of protests that are still continuing across the country.
2. The Ebola caregivers
After the biggest Ebola outbreak in history, caregivers rushed to help in West Africa where the virus has hit the hardest. They are clearly the world heroes this year, containing the deadly strain from spreading to an even worse worldwide epidemic.
3. Vladimir Putin
The Russian president has been controversial this year, to say the least. From his stance on gay athletes at the Sochi Winter Olympics to his country’s decision to annex Crimea, he is definitely someone the world has been talking about. We just don’t really think he deserves any sort of honor, but especially not Time‘s Person of the Year title, when his social platforms are so unstable.
4. Taylor Swift
The pop singer is probably our favorite for the title this year. Aside from the huge success of Swift‘s album, 1989, and her headline-making decision to withdraw her music from Spotify, Swift has, more importantly, made a name for herself supporting her young fans with a positive and encouraging message. We need more stars like Swift, who is a positive role model and not just an attention-grabbing star.
5. Jack Ma
You’ve probably been to the Alibaba website and not even realized it. And if you haven’t visited the site or can’t remember visiting, you should definitely check it out. Like, right now. With thousands of products at insanely good prices, the website took the internet by storm with Ma at the forefront as CEO. It debuted with a $25 billion IPO.
6. Tim Cook
If Swift doesn’t win, we’re rooting for Cook. Not just because he masterfully filled Steve Jobs’ shoes introducing the Apple iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, the Apple Watch and Apple Pay, but because he came out as the first openly gay Fortune 500 CEO, which paves the way for more progress than just the technology.
7. Masoud Barzani
Barzani definitely makes our list as a fascinating person, we just don’t know if we see him getting the Time title this year. As acting president of the Iraqi Kurdish region, Barzani has continued to push for independence while also fighting against ISIS. No small feat, but we think Slate’s point about Barzani’s inclusion in the list is spot-on. “… the magazine wants to somehow recognize the ISIS situation — one of the year’s biggest news stories — without having to declare ISIS chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi a candidate for person of the year.”
8. Roger Goodell
We’ll rank our liking of Goodell on this list right next to Putin. To be honest, we can’t decide which name we like seeing the least on this list. The National Football League commissioner has received a lot of well-deserved public scrutiny this year for the way he’s handled public incidents, particularly the Ray Rice incident. If the Ray Rice mess proved anything, it’s that the NFL could use some major overhauling.
Time‘s 2014 Person of the Year will be announced this Wednesday morning on Today.