MTV's college channel has gone in two wildly different directions in naming Pope Francis and pop singer Lorde as its man and woman of the year.
MTVU said that both figures challenged their followers with unexpected stands.
Since becoming pope, Francis has urged the Catholic Church not to become obsessed with "small-minded rules" and to emphasise compassion over condemnation in dealing with touchy topics like abortion, gays and contraception.
The New Zealand teenager Lorde released a debut single, "Royals," that puts down a culture of conspicuous consumption, and distributed it first for free.
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Last year, MTVU honored Frank Ocean and Malala Yousafzai.