The list of the top contenders currently contains a few controversial characters like Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi.
Time states that Morsi "and his party's electoral victory this summer heralded a new moment for the Arab world's most populous nation, so long kept underfoot by the Western-backed authoritarian regime of Hosni Mubarak. Democratically elected, Morsi and his Islamist allies are now changing the landscape of Middle Eastern politics."
North Korean ruler Kim Jong Un, the heir to the late Kim Jong Il, places second on the list. Malala Yousafzai, the inspirational young Pakistani woman who pushed through cultural barriers and danger both before and after being shot in the head, is fittingly in third place.
But not every name on the list brings such heavy matters to the table. Among the contenders are:
-- Gabby Douglas: The gymnast wowed us all during the London Olympics this summer with her two gold medal wins and becoming the first African-American gymnast to win the Olympic all-around title.
-- Rapper Jay-Z, who helped bring the Nets basketball team back to New York City, held his own musical festival and was "one of the highest-profile surrogates for President Obama's re-election campaign." The president, who's also on this year's list and was named 2008's Person of the Year, is currently ahead of the rapper by 41,458 votes.
-- Can you believe Psy, the man behind "Gangnam Style," has received more votes than Hov himself? The Korean rapper scored more than 820 million views on YouTube thanks to his catchy single and currently has nearly 54,500 votes on the Time site.
-- The Mars Rover, which impressed us all when the operation to land the rover safely on a planet 160 miles from Earth was a success, proves that you don't need to be human to be the most influential character of the year.
-- The Higgs Boson Particle is another piece of science on the list. The discovery of the elementary particle in July by the Large Hadron Collider "finally fully confirmed Einstein's general theory of relativity," Time states.
For the complete list of contenders and to vote for your favorite candidate, visitTime. Voting ends Dec. 12. The Person of the Year issue will hit newsstands on Dec. 21.
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(Photos from left: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images, AP Photo/Korean Central News Agency via Korea News Service, File, Justin Sullivan/Getty Images,Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images, Jay Nemeth/Red Bull via Getty Images)
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