Justin Bieber has plenty of critics. In fact, his cup runneth over. But, he does have a supportive friend in Carly Rae Jepsen.
Speaking to Billboard, Jepsen defended the 19-year-old over the controversies that continue to engulf her fellow Canadian.
Admitting that working on the follow up to her 2012 smash hit album Kiss has meant she isn't tracking every breathless report on Bieber's struggles, the 27-year-old songstress was, however, clear on which side of the public opinion divide she stands.
"I actually am so out of the loop on any of that, to be honest," Jepsen said. "People are constantly, like, 'Is Justin OK?' I've not really noticed any of that."
The "Call Me Maybe" star added:
"I feel like Justin's a guy who's working hard every day, and I think the media can sometimes be a little brutal with stuff and over-exaggerate things."
Jepsen may well know of what she speaks. She was signed as an artist to Scooter Braun's record label --- School Boy Records --- last year, after Bieber (also managed by Braun) recommended her.
Since then the "Boyfriend" singer has continued to actively promote Jepsen on his social media accounts, appeared in an alternative video for "Call Me Maybe" — one of the fastest and biggest selling singles of 2012 --- and has a stake in her deal.
Jepsen was also one of the support acts for Bieber on his Believe world tour and was around for some of the incidents that occurred, and have since prompted the current blood in the water media reporting that trails her former tour mate.
Some of those incidents included, a very late start at one of his London 02 Arena shows in March which triggered fury from parents and fans, a backstage collapse at another 02 show, a run-in with a British paparazzo, the seizure of the singer's former pet monkey at Munich's customs, a tour bus drug raid by Swedish police, an international firestorm post his guestbook entry at the Anne Frank museum, and various police investigations that include allegations of reckless driving and battery by the pop star, and assault by Bieber's bodyguards.
But, to Jepsen, the young man she knows is light years away from the 'bad boy' image --- which may, as the songstress suggests --- be either partly or entirely a media construct.
"I stand by him. I support him," Jepsen said firmly. "I think he's a good guy, and he's doing the best he can."
Some may disagree. But, unlike Bieber, they may not be dealing with paparazzi attention on a daily basis, often malicious media deconstruction, evidently false paternity lawsuits, accusations of 'race' changing, endless speculation about their personal life, alleged recreational drug use, or constant defamatory comments about such trivia as clothes.
But, going by a recent poll by Public Policy Polling which saw Bieber score the majority unfavorable percentage across party lines, Jepsen's view is a minority one.
The most recent voice of doom to offer up an unsolicited opinion on the "Baby" singer is Kid Rock.
During a visit to the The Howard Stern Show Wednesday, the 42-year-old Detroit rocker said:
"Tell me if this is wrong. Justin Bieber … is 100 percent like watching Vanilla Ice all over again," Rock said. "It's exactly the same. Well, as soon as Bieber has a hit, he'll be like Vanilla Ice."
"The kid's young. He's got some money. He's got the world in his hands," Rock continued. "It's just kind of sad to see him go down this trajectory. It's gonna be a very long ride down. We all know the story. I kind of feel for the kid, to be honest with you."
Coming from a man well known for his gargantuan drug and alcohol use, party lifestyle, witnessed anti-social behavior on a packed passenger flight, and profanity on his Rap Rock records, these are odd comments.
The gist of them echoes remarks Rock made to GQ's Drew Magary in a June interview given on his annual Redneck "Chillin' the Most Cruise," during which Magary observed a bucket of "warm vomit" in one of cabins amid excessive alcohol, marijuana and other substance consumption by those aboard. In that interview Rock declared:
"It's just a matter of time before someone puts a huge line of cocaine in front of Bieber, and he's going to be like, 'Yes! This is f--king awesome!"
From Rock's past and recent admissions on the cruise that he spent much of his time "s**tfaced," it does seem as if his opinions on Bieber are a case of projecting from his own playbook.
Bizarre observations that a pop phenom --- who's sold over 15 million albums, racked up dozens of industry awards, in 2009 became the first artist to have seven songs from a debut record chart on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, is the vocalist on the highest certified single in history, and will shortly return to a world tour that's played before millions --- even remotely compares to a one-hit wonder like Vanilla Ice demonstrably undermines Rock's reasoning, and may hint at more complex, racial undertones.
For now, though, and likely the foreseeable, views on the much-debated teen star will continue to be sharply polarized. Some resolutely fall into Jepsen's camp, while others agree with Rock.
Ultimately, perhaps what actually matters is Bieber's opinion of himself.
[Image via Teen Vogue]