Pop records have always been about creating a product, not about "who can sing best."
The only "talent" that matters in that case is the ability to craft a great single, no matter how it's done. I don't really think Wham! were somehow more pure than Katy Perry. They were using every trick in the bag to craft hit singles, just as she does.
We had a huge Monkees thread earlier, and the corporate approach to their singles resulted in some fucking brilliant records.