What do the president of Syria, Pope Francis and Tea Party darling Ted Cruz have in common with Miley Cyrus and Edward Snowden, the American fugitive who leaked thousands of classified documents to the press?
They're all among the top 10 finalists for Time's Person of the Year, the magazine revealed Monday on TODAY.
The iconic title ultimately will go to the individual chosen by Time editors as someone who has, for better or worse, had the most impact on the world and the news for the past year.
This year's short list includes a wide variety of finalists, from heads of state to Cyrus, who ranked high in the weekly magazine's public poll.
“Power is not just political. It can be cultural, it can be spiritual,” said Nancy Gibbs, Time's managing editor. Cyrus “came in like a wrecking ball, literally” she said, referring to the entertainer's hit song and the risqué video that continued to keep her in the public spotlight. “At a time when you're living with an explosion of exhibitionism since we all now carry cameras with us at all times, she is a symbol of the way we live.”
Time will announce Wednesday who it selected as 2013 Person of the Year on TODAY.
Last year, the magazine selected President Obama as the Person of the Year after he won re-election to the White House with more than 50 percent of the popular vote. Obama also made it to the short list for the 2013 title. The other candidates are, in no significant order, as follows:
• Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who the United States declared was behind a chemical attack on Syrian residents;
• Sen. Ted Cruz, a Republican from Texas and member of the Tea Party movement;
• Hassan Rouhani, the president of Iran who recently agreed to an interim deal that would curb his nation's nuclear program;
• Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who fled to Russia after leaking top-secret U.S. documents that revealed widespread government surveillance programs;
• Pope Francis, who became pontiff after Pope Benedict abdicated in March;
• Edie Windsor, the marriage equality advocate whose Supreme Court victory struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act;
• Miley Cyrus, whose twerk-filled performance at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards set off a chain of memorable entertainment moments;
• Amazon.com founder and chief executive Jeff Bezos, who this year bought The Washington Post and recently announced that Amazon was exploring drone delivery;
• Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, the individual tasked with overseeing the launch of the Affordable Care Act and under fire for its botched rollout.