Canadian pop star Justin Bieber faced a backlash on Tuesday after being booed by a London audience for turning up on stage around two hours late, leaving thousands of young fans waiting.
The main attraction of the Monday night concert at London’s O2 Arena was due to start at 8.30 p.m., but according to music critics and angry fans the 19-year-old teen idol did not get going until 10.22 p.m..
The popular Sun tabloid newspaper said many fans, some of them as young as five years old, had gone home by the time Bieber began while others voiced frustration.
There was no on-stage apology, and Bieber’s Twitter account, which he regularly uses to communicate with more than 35 million fans, was silent on the matter.
The O2 Arena, where Bieber is also due to perform on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, issued an apology on his behalf to all his fans who are known as Beliebers.
“Sorry to all the Justin Bieber fans for the lateness of his show tonight,” the O2 said in a Twitter message late on Monday. “The Tube (underground trains) will still be running when the show finishes.”
On Tuesday, the venue received concerned queries on whether similar delays may happen again this week.
“Is he planning on doing this again tonight or can someone take control of the jumped up prima donna?” wrote @Jo_Evans.
The O2 Arena replied: “Jo – we will be doing everything within our power to ensure Justin makes it on stage at the right time.”
Many fans voiced their frustration at having to wait, while others reacted angrily to the headlines.
“Justin Bieber is my fave person but 2 hours late on stage is a joke!” fan Jess wrote on Twitter. “Does he realise that he has fans under the age of 10?”
Others jumped to his defence early on Tuesday.
“Feel really bad for @justinbieber now! Yes he was late but he put on a flipping good show! It was amazing,” said one.
Not all reviewers were quite so kind for the singer who was named by Forbes magazine in 2012 as the third most-powerful celebrity in the world.
London’s Evening Standard awarded the Baby singer two stars, saying he turned “victory into defeat”.
“By the end, the O2 was barely half-full and when Bieber asked ‘Who’s seen me play before?’, he might have been better wondering who would spend time, money and adoration on seeing him again,” wrote critic John Aizlewood.
Bieber’s visit to Britain has probably not been his best.
On March 2, the day after he turned 19, he tweeted “worst birthday” amid reports some of his entourage were turned away from a London nightclub because they could not supply adequate proof of their age.
Bieber, who was discovered on YouTube in 2008, last month became the youngest artist to land five chart-topping albums in the United States following the release of his latest record, Believe Acoustic.