Justin Bieber and something called “Bieber O’Clock” are coming to the small screen this weekend.
Yes, the 19-year-old who appears to be single-handedly keeping the entertainment news cycle afloat will address some of the most pressing questions of our time. Namely, as pop prince himself rattled off in MTV’s newly arrived teaser clip:
“Do I have a monkey? Do I not have a monkey? Do I spit off balconies? Do I not spit off balconies?Do I choose to wear my shirt in inappropriate places? Do I not choose to wear my shirt in appropriate places? inappropriate places? I don’t know, but you might know.”
Upping the ante, Bieber signed off, saying:
“The next 24 hours you might find out why I really do not like wearing shirts.”
I know what you’re thinking. When is this informational tsunami happening and how will you cope until then?
To the first question, Bieber O’Clock kicks off this Saturday, August 3 at 8 pm.
To the second; you don’t.
From that point on, on the hour, every hour, for the next 24 hours, Bieber, his buddies, some of his crew and “maybe some people that don’t even know me” will take over MTV. The marathon will end with the TV premiere of the 2011 movie-biopic Justin Bieber: Never Say Never, which airs Sunday at 8 pm.
In short, this will either be genuinely interesting and informative, or just a shameless soft-focus fest before the release of the teen star’s upcoming single “Heartbreaker.”
Hopefully, it’s the former. Because it really needs to be. Belieber support aside, even for commentators offering a less brutalizing take on Bieber’s various gaffes, alleged acts, and personal life than TMZ — the past five months have been unprecedented.
Doubtless for the singer too. But, even without bringing up late concerts, paparazzo suits, the ongoing criminal investigations, and the possibly still very angry folk of Calabasas, the most recent Bieber items do feel like they require some sort of explanation beyond “blessed” hashtags.
I am, of course, talking about the mop bucket mess and the latest tour bus drug bust (neither of which will be addressed on the MTV weekend), and the Toronto hotel balcony spit storm that erupted after TMZ probably misrepresented the connection between pictures harvested from Bieber’s Instagram video and the original spitting images in their first report.
Now, there’s a new controversy in town.
Following a damning Associated Press review of Bieber’s second show at Newark, N.J.’s Prudential Center on Wednesday, the singer has been called out for alleged lip-syncing and (from the writer’s perspective), giving a substantially less than stellar turn for an artist routinely called a superstar.
“Bieber phoned in a good amount during his show; at some moments, he even appeared bored. He was clocking in — another day, another sold-out concert,” Mesfin Fekadu scathed.
“When performing the hit ‘Beauty and a Beat,’ he couldn’t keep up with his background dancers. He was lip syncing again — much like a number of today’s pop stars when trying to keep up with decent choreography,” he added.
Although, he noted better moments in the show — basically the less kinetic numbers — Fekadu’s review echoes Marc Hirsh’s review at The Boston Globe following Bieber’s July 20 Boston concert.
Hirsh wrote: “While Bieber’s hubris has been making him fly perilously close to the sun offstage, his show was hampered by a greater sin: the singer’s detachment from his own performance.”
“His entire performance was proficient and joyless; he could repeatedly plow through complicated song-and-dance routines without smiling afterward — either at what he’d done or the rapturous response it generated.’Beauty and A Beat’ was a frisky dancefloor pumper and Bieber looked as though he was doing calculus in his head.”
Over at Noisey Vice, another Newark show reviewer said: “Justin Bieber seems to be screaming for change. He wants to make adult pop but he’s saddled with material aimed at 12-year-olds. He can’t offend, he can’t get risqué, he can’t explore his sexuality on record… His expression is blank, as if he’s yearning to be anywhere but onstage. We believe but it’s not so clear that he does any more.”
Notwithstanding that Bieber and the Believe tour have been on the road since last September, this is concerning feedback from three, neutral critics and there’s more of the same online.
As I previously noted after Bieber’s battering at the Billboard Music Awards, mistakes made while young and cute are one thing. But to win over detractors and critics and establish himself in the adult musical mosh pit, it sounds as if Team Bieber needs to not only deliver a frank, relatable teenager this weekend, but a radical game-up and a break from burn-out in the long-term.
MTV is planning all sorts of fan-based malarkey, contests, and Twitter goings-on in the run-up to and during Bieber O’Clock. Click here for more information.
Will you be watching?
[Image Credit For Signage Photo via David Schwitzer]