Are all of Justin Bieber's recent missteps starting to catch up with him?
The once-sanctified teen pop star was roundly booed Sunday night when he won the first Milestone Award at the Billboard Awards show in Las Vegas Sunday night. The boos could be clearly heard amid the cheers, and it seemed to catch Bieber off-guard.
The 19-year-old, who is the first artist under 19 to have five No. 1s on the Bilboard 200, seemed to think the booing had something to do with news reports about his recent antics.
"I'm 19 years old. I think I'm doing a pretty good job," Bieber said in his acceptance speech as a steady deluge of cheers mixed with boos rained down on him. "It should really be about the music. This is not a gimmick. I'm an artist and I should be taken seriously. And all this other bull should not be spoken of."
Presumably the "other bull" he is referring to is a recent laundry list of gaffes and ugly moments that might even embarrass Mike Duffy [editor's note: Don't be ridiculous.]. They include:
The monkey he abandoned in Germany; Swedish police finding pot on his tour bus; walking through an airport shirtless; saying he hoped Anne Frank would have been a fan; threatening to beat up a photographer; allegedly spitting on a neighbour in Los Angeles; tweeting that his 19th birthday sucked; turning up two hours late for a show in London, causing little girls to cry; being called cheap by a relative; going on Instagram to rant about unfair press and haters.
Maybe Bieber has been spending too much time at the gym. Or maybe this is his Bob-Dylan-going-electric moment, but instead of a brilliant artist expanding his musical horizons, it's just a saccharine teen idol turning into a surly frat boy.
Whatever it is, a pop star can write off one or two misadventures, but when they start to pile up, and they include a monkey, it becomes harder to ignore them. Maybe the Billboards crowd reaction is a breaking point for Bieber. He hadn't faced an audience that hostile since he was mercilessly booed while performing during the halftime show at the Grey Cup last fall. That time, though, it was more a matter of him being a bad fit with a beer-drinking, football-loving crowd of Canadian hosers than it was a comment on his worthiness from a pop-music crowd.
The booing at the Billboards may not even have been the worst of it. Check out this animated .gif of Taylor Swift's reaction when Bieber's ex-girlfriend gives him a kiss at the awards show. The kid needs a makeover.