Not too long ago, as some of you will recall, I wrote about the phenomenon of teen idols, and how my older daughter, like me, snubbed teen idols in the preteen and junior high years.  I wrote that if she was truly like me, she was due to fall for one “at any minute”, since I had my first teen idol crush in high school.  But I really wasn’t taking my prediction too seriously.  If I were a betting mom, I would have bet that Allison would never crush on any of the faces gracing the current or future covers of “Bop” magazine.  I would have bet that this strong-willed child would want to be different, and purposely hold her ground so as not be a rabid fan of anyone that she’s told by the media that she needs to like.  And I would have already lost that bet.  Because, thanks to her and her friends going to see the movie, “Justin Bieber: Never Say Never”, she is now a HUGE Justin Bieber fan.

It’s funny—whenever we used to be driving somewhere and a Bieber song would come on the radio, she would promptly turn it to something else.  Now, she’s constantly scanning through several channels to find him. She scrounged up $10 in loose change in her bedroom the other day in order to buy one of his “old” CDs at Target (“Mom, pleeese give me $10 so I don’t have to dump all those quarters on the checkstand!”), and now she’s saving to buy a $10 special edition magazine full of posters and facts about the swishy-haired Canadian.  She says her dream job is to be one of his backup singers. Huh? Did that movie have subliminal messages hidden among the special effects saying stuff like YOU WILL BECOME A HUGE FAN, YOU WILL GO CRAZY OVER THIS BOY…? Did they put something in the popcorn salt? I mean, I guess I should be glad it’s not some misogynist rapper or foul-mouthed headbanger, but, really, for my teen to go from zero to full throttle overnight had me mystified.

I decided to check it out for myself, and took my teen to see the movie again (along with her sister).  I love a good “behind the scenes” documentary and had heard the adult critics liked this, so I was ready to be impressed.  But, even with 3D glasses on, I thought it was hard to be “wowed”.  Yes, there is some compelling stuff– early home video footage of Justin, interviews with Scooter Braun, the man who discovered him on YouTube and became his manager, and comments from Justin’s mom about “getting the phone call” from Scooter and moving Justin to Atlanta to cut an album—but it lacks something that, in my opinion, is a HUGE omission—interviews with Justin himself.  Seriously, it seems like the viewer hears from everyone in his life, from one of his elementary school teachers to his grandparents to singing star Usher to even his former next door neighbor, but we rarely, if ever, hear from Justin, unless it’s singing. I would have loved to hear what he felt about living away from home for the first time, what it felt like to see the cover of his first CD, or where he was when he first heard himself on the radio.  Was it a “That Thing You Do” moment? What about his first television appearance? Or the first time he was recognized on the street, or mobbed by fans? The movie makers do give us an appreciation for his musical talent—this kid has sung and played drums, guitar, and piano quite well from an early age—but they really leave the discerning viewer wanting more.

Maybe that’s why they’ve just announced there’s a “limited engagement”, “new extended version” coming out, with “40 Minutes of Unseen Footage!!!” Maybe that’s when he’ll get to tell his story, instead of all the adults who surround him telling it for him.  If so, I guess that’s genious marketing.  But sadly, I doubt that is what’s included.  It will probably be more concert footage, more arms magically reaching out to touch the audience, more minutes of hair being flipped.  I do know that I’m not going to pay $11.75 to find out, and neither is my tween.  But my teen is willing to wash windows, cars, even dogs, to earn enough to go again.

1 thought on “Bieber Fever Has Hit My House– Should We Be Quarantined?

  1. Ah yes, leave it to Bieber to put a swoon into female teen awakenings. My poor son and his young teen gang all curse the Bieb. When a JB song comes on the radio, I hear the familiar Charlie Brown-esque *AAAUUUGGGHHH* from my poor kid and his friends, who all issue threats and disgust with everything Bieberish: hair, voice, swagger and flawless smile. I ask, “Are you guys jealous, or what?” They say, “No, he is just such a phony. Ick.Icky-slick. The girls fall for anything Bieber. They are so CLUELESS.”
    They banter together on how he avoids pimples and facial hair at “his age.” They seem to take great comfort in the revenge of his eventual voice change. “He’ll grow up one of these days! Then what’ll happen to all that ‘cutesy boy-stuff?'”
    I haven’t had the heart to point out that we females will continue to swoon for the croon well past teen heartthrobs. These young men are just getting used to their mustaches and occasional quacking voices.
    I think my son is catching on to the Bieber thing, though. For his 13th birthday, he asked for a guitar and lessons. I asked him if he planned on singing, and his reply was a typical coy teenage “Maybe…(smile)”. Oh yeah, that’s my guy!

    (and yes, I know I did confess to supporting REAL TIME, MASS TRANSMISSION technologies not associated with Steve Jobs or starting with “i”, for shame…)

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