Until last night I didn’t know anything about Justin Bieber except for his haircut. (Pro tip: Having a mop-top hairdo and starting your band name with a bee-sound will equal fan mania such as the world has never seen.)
I always get a sense of people rolling their eyes about the Biebs, I guess because he’s a teenybopper and so insanely popular.
As usual what gets lost is the music.
I wanted to know more about him, so I watched Never Say Never, a quasi-documentary about his career leading up to a landmark performance at Madison Square Garden that sold out in 22 minutes.
I was surprised at how gifted he is. He’s an amazing drummer and guitar player, and of course can sing and dance. He started out as a street performer and on YouTube, and you don’t get much more merit-based than that. No, I am not joking. You can dislike his music or his persona, but you can’t argue with them–they weren’t manufactured; they were elected by popular vote.
Bieber himself is extremely engaging and seems to have fairly decent people around him, although I was appalled by his vocal coach who said he sometimes whines about not being a normal 16-year-old. She basically tells him to can it, because “this is your normal.” Yikes, he’s just a kid. An incredibly rich and famous one, true, but everyone should be allowed whining time, especially a teenager.
I would have liked to see an actual bratty, age-appropriate meltdown (but with power and money) in the film, but sadly none was forthcoming since Never is nothing if not promotional.
That doesn’t stop people from looking for bratty behavior, though. According to the HuffPost:
Bieber made his fictional TV debut with a two-episode arc on “CSI” last year, and according to co-star Marg Helgenberger, the kid who played a troubled teen was, off-camera, a trouble-making teen.
“I shouldn’t be saying this but he was kind of a brat [on the set],” Helgenberger told French Magazine Le Grand Direct Des Medias.
“He was very nice to me,” she continued, “but he locked one of the producers in a closet.”
Bieber had this–very mature–response via twitter:
“it’s kinda lame when someone you met briefly and never worked with comments on you. I will continue to wish them luck and be kind.”
I give the kid a lot of leeway. I know adults whose behavior at work is much worse than locking people in the closet as a prank.