Justin Bieber’s continuing efforts to reach out to his fans saw him host a Q&A session at his Purpose World Tour concert in Birmingham, England on Monday night.
The Canadian star brought interactive fun to his show by asking fans to throw questions at him onstage, which resulted in some good-natured hilarious moments and much screaming by fans.
Based on fans’ footage of the impromptu grilling, the over 15,000 concert-goers who packed out Birmingham’s Genting Arena relished the opportunity to ask Bieber questions. For his part, the pop prince looked like he had a laugh too.
“Do you have a question, lady with the glasses?” the 22-year-old said to one fan near the front row, who then asked what was his favorite hairstyle out of the many he’s rocked.
“I’d like to go with…I liked the dreads honestly,” Bieber replied, as high-pitched screams erupted from from fans. “The dreads were fun. It was different. It was unexpected.”
Those screams got even louder when another fan asked a question the Biebs has posed many times himself.
“Would you like to be my baby?” one girl asked, while giggling, no doubt because it’s the line the singer has used countless times live to introduce his 2010 teen signature hit “Baby.”
“Would I like to be…I would love to be your baby!” Bieber enthused, amid the audience’s screams. “I mean I would love to your baby, I would love, absolutely love!”
The superstar was also asked about his shoe size. “I am a size 9 U.S. which I’m not really sure what that is here? (sic),” was his response.
Q&A highlights? It’s a toss-up between the moment Justin was asked for a selfie and being asked why he was “so beautiful.”
Responding to one girl who inquired, “Can I have a picture, please?” the heartthrob replied with an audible intake of breath as a half smile-grimace spread across his face.
Meanwhile, the Birmingham audience were also reacting. The crowd uttered a collective “Oh!” with undertones of pantomine boos.
“Would you like another question? Do you have another question? Do you have another question?” Bieber then asked, adding, “Yes? No?”
It’s now well known that Bieber no longer takes photos with fans in his downtime because of the bombardment and chaos that typically ensues. Back in May, he explained via Instagram that the process of taking pics with fans had become so stressful to him that he “feel[s] like a zoo animal.”
After the selfie question, another fan asked the star, “Why are you so beautiful?”
“Well,” Bieber began light-heartedly, as fans screamed. I have a very beautiful mother and a very beautiful father and they came together one day. Late night, probably.”
“My mom slept over at dad’s house,” he added, smiling.”They got to making the loving and out came JB. That’s the science behind it.”
The singer was also asked to reveal his favorite animal. Jokingly, he replied, “My favourite animal? Out of all the questions she could have asked. I don’t know, a zebra…who doesn’t like zebras?”
Elaborating, the Biebs added,” Actually, I just saw a video. There’s a half a zebra half a donkey somewhere in Asia. I don’t know. I like that guy. That’s my favorite animal.”
As fans continued to scream, one asked the last — and arguably — most interesting question. Namely, which of his songs he is most emotionally attached to?
“Great question. Best question today!” Justin enthused.”Favorite song that I’ve written so far [would] probably be ‘Life Is Worth Living?” Seconds later, he said, “Shall we run it?”
The animal question can be seen below from 45 seconds on.
The Q&A went some way to allowing Bieber to connect with fans at his Purpose Tour shows, which is something the singer has repeatedly said he wants and is the reason behind his recent requests for fans not to scream “at the top of their lungs” when he is trying to speak onstage.
The issue of Bieber not feeling “heard” at his own concerts when he tries to address crowds is a recurring theme that he first brought up during recent tour stops in Copenhagen and Arnhem, the Netherlands.
While the pop star had no problems getting fans to interact happily during the virtually incident-free U.S. leg of his tour, he encountered less agreeable concert-goers and was booed during recent regional shows in the U.K last week. Things came to a head at the singer’s final Manchester show on Sunday after he told the audience that “the screaming during breaks has got to stop.”
His decree was greeted with boos from some in the crowd. Bieber offered, “I want to be able to say something and when you guys are screaming it’s hard.” That was met by more boos.
Cue the clearly frustrated singer’s mic drop as he vacated the stage. Watch the moment below.
A few minutes later Justin came back out to explain that the reason he would like “no screaming” when he talks onstage) is so that “when I’m looking at you [fans] in the eyes you can actually know that we’re having a moment and having a connection.”
He went on, “So it’s not me just trying to be an a**h**e. It simply just me wanting to have a moment.” He added that he would “quit talking…we’re just going to do the music and keep it pushing because obviously Manchester just can’t handle it.”
During his later apology (see above clip), a clearly emotional Bieber explained to the audience that he had walked off because he “was getting upset” as he had “traveled across the whole world to come here.”
“I dedicate my life to this,” he said. “I dedicate my life to performing, and I dedicate my life trying to bring smiles to people’s faces, and when I feel like people just aren’t giving me the same respect back, that just kind of…hurts me a little bit. That’s all, and I appreciate you guys coming out.”
— E! News (@enews) October 25, 2016
— E! News (@enews) October 25, 2016
Naturally, media outlets have had a field day with most unsympathetic coverage dragging or analysing Bieber’s walk-off. Most outlets ignored that he only walked offstage after he was booed, not because of fans’ screaming.
Notably, TMZ seems to have taken Bieber’s admission about feeling “disrespected” by boos (who wouldn’t?) out of context and built on that to claim the singer wants Adele-like respect and is attempting to “train” his fans by using deliberate walk-offs.
However, it’s likely TMZ’s specific mention of Adele and the “training” claim is clickbait. It is surely self-evident that artists deserve to be shown respect at their own concerts.
There’s no need to speculate why Bieber is keen for fans to dial down the screaming when he talks at shows. He clearly said at his last Manchester gig and at previous concerts that he wants to “connect” with fans. Given that most of the Purpose album and current tour is about inspiring people to find their purpose and the Biebs sharing his sometimes struggle with his own, his desire to express that is completely understandable.
couldn’t have said it any better pic.twitter.com/oZqtBKfzCd
— Purpose Tour Updates (@PurposeTourCom) October 26, 2016
[Featured Image via Kevin Mazur/Getty Images]