As nearly everyone between the ages of 10 and 15 could probably tell you, Justin Bieber  brings his world tour to Louisville's KFC Yum Center next Wednesday, Nov. 10 at 7:00 p.m. The only solo artist in history to chart seven songs from a debut album, Bieber is a product of the power and reach of the Internet and social media. By the time he was discovered by an agent from his videos on Youtube , Bieber had already established a fan base that only needed a little professional nurturing to become a phenomenon that catapulted him into the pantheon of teen idols.
Bieber has two Platinum albums (his only two), has already performed on Saturday Night Live and co-starred with Tina Fey in a skit, appeared in television shows and movies, garnered awards, and been the subject of hoaxes, pranks, and oh-so-many-jokes. He is a sixteen-year-old kid from London, Ontario.
To begin to learn about Justin Bieber is to confront one's own mortality. First of all, I found myself thinking back to my own teen crushes. My first tweener dreamboat now has a Vegas show and probably has all his own teeth (a lot of them!). Do I really have to say it? Okay, Donny Osmond. I still know his favorite color is purple. Sure, there were later Cassidys and a passing fascination with Robby Benson, but Donny was THE GUY. That said, I would like to take a moment and thank one Mr. Harrison Ford for delivering me, once and for all, from the land of Tiger Beat to that of hairy, adult men (not to
mention nerdom) with his portrayal of Han Solo in 19-oh-whatever. It was the last century. Bieber's mom and pop, by the way, are in their mid-30's. I think I need an eye-lift.
But what do we really need to know to understand the Justin Bieber craze? I skipped the press releases and went straight to the source of Bieber-mania for some further insight – his fans. Only the girls were willing to speak candidly. It is much-whispered that some boys are fans of the Bieber, but as for their identities – it's a secret more closely guarded than that of Deep Throat (look it up, kids).
First of all, my sincere thanks to Sierra, Selena*, and Estefani – all from Louisville's middle schools – for putting up with my newbie questions. I asked them about favorite songs (“One Less Lonely Girl,” “Down to Earth,” and “One Time”) and why they were fans. But the most interesting responses were to the question, what are the three most important things people should know about Justin Bieber? It went something like this:
- He’s soooo cute.
- Tickets are sixty dollars, but I’m going!
- I’m so excited, I’m going to meet the love of my life.
- He met one of his fans, a little girl, and she started crying―he really cares about his fans.
- He sings good.
- He really sounds good live and a lot of artists don't.
- He writes his own songs.
- He can play a lot of instruments.
- I think he can dance really, really well on video and on stage, too.
- He’s really cute.
Fair enough. But I was a little unprepared for these next ones, and I'm pretty sure they are not among the “My World” Tour Fun Facts about Justin Bieber that I received in the press packet:
- He admitted that he’s gay―he’s bisexual.
- I don’t care if he’s bisexual, that’s his own choice.
- A lot of people say he's gay.
Just for the record, claims about Bieber's sexuality are completely unsubstantiated, and he never admitted anything on Oprah, or anywhere else as far as I can tell. I found myself wanting to shout, “He's only sixteen! He doesn't even have enough life experience to know if he prefers boxers to briefs or if he's a dog or a cat person.” My point being that in my own bygone days of heartthrobs and fantasy-land, such questions were non-existent and just seem kind of party-pooping now. Can we at least let kids advance into puberty before sticking a label on them? Especially one that is completely uninformed? After all, it has always been a hallmark of teen idols that they are, by their very nature and extreme youth, androgynous, non-threatening, cute and cuddly. But I guess that's the flip-side of being discovered on Youtube. The Internet giveth and it taketh away.
So, to sum up: Bieber sounds like a good kid who puts on a great show. One dollar from each ticket is donated to Pencils of Promise, a charity which works to build schools and increase educational opportunities in the developing world (more details at www.pencilsofpromise.org ). So in addition to creating squealing pandemonium in arenas around the globe, Bieber is also helping to fund the construction of schools for needy children, which ought to make you feel better about plunking down the cash for tickets.
Tickets are still available as of this writing ($36 - $56, reserved) from the KFC Yum Center  and Ticketmaster .
*If it was me, I would have at least changed my name, people.
Here's the official trailer from the upcoming Justin Bieber documentary film, Never Say Never, to be released Valentines Day 2011: