Is Justin Bieber Heading Towards a Britney Spears-Style Meltdown?
There's the blunt photos, the 4AM hang sessions with multiple girls, the Kanye West-like, "I'm a martyr" rant on Twitter. He lends out his very expensive cars (a Fisker Karma, which was a gift from his manager, and a Ferrari, which is a sweet set of wheels no matter who purchased it) to very irresponsible drivers who cause damage to them. He was wah-wah-wambulance-ing on Twitter about the "worst birthday ever."
Then there's the constant shirtless photos, and the bratty battle with the Grammys -- which proved the power he wields in the social media sphere, but reeked of bravado in an "I'll show you" way. Video has even emerged of him swearing and threatening a photographer to the point where his bodyguard had to hold him back. Oof.
It has us wondering -- and worried -- if our beloved Biebs is about to come undone in epic fashion, much like Spears did in 2007 and 2008. Never to be forgotten, it was a sideshow which included a shaved head after months of hanging out with questionable associates, smashing a paparazzo windshield, locking herself in a bathroom with her baby, and crying on a curb.
Her "manager" Sam Lutfi had his hooks embedded in Brit, who was so lost that she had no control of her life or her finances. She lost custody of her sons and became the butt of the national joke, since it was really saying something about her mothering skills when her mookish ex Kevin Federline was considered the better parental option.
Fast forward to 2013 and Brit has fully recovered. Even after a broken engagement, she seems to be in a happier place as she is closing in on a big bucks Vegas residency. But her father Jamie still has the final say over her money and her life via the conservatorship, so the effects of her breakdown are far-reaching.
It reminds us that a lot of people can't handle fame. Brit couldn't. Michael Jackson couldn't; he resorted to creating a childlike environment mimicking Peter Pan's Neverland in order to recapture his lost youth. Mariah Carey battled with it – remember when she delivered a cray cray message on her website and melted down on 'TRL' in 2001?
But Brit came apart at the seams after the height of her fame. She was still a viable pop star -- make no mistake about that. But she already had a husband and kids. Her red latex catsuit-wearing Lolita days were fading in the rear view, but those were still vivid memories for her fans. She was 26 and 27 at the time of her unraveling, and this was well before social media was predicated on a 24-hour celeb news cycle. It wasn't the cultural dictator that it is today.
The Biebs, on the other hand, is exhibiting cracks in the foundation at the tender age of 19. He is in the eye of the storm that is his fame. He is the cyclone, with more Twitter followers than there are people in his native Canada. He was created by and remains fueled by YouTube videos and RTs. There are millions of teenage girls who feel directly connected to him by virtue of the Smartphone. That makes him more accessible than Brit was at the time, when her only headache to contend with was the pervasive paparazzi flashbulb.
The Biebs has to deal with that, too. He was ticketed last summer during a pap chase on the 101 in LA, and in early 2013, a photographer was killed trying to photograph him in his swag Ferrari. Turns out he wasn't even in the vehicle at the time. But a snapper lost his life trying to get that elusive Bieber shot. That's how big The Biebs is -- someone died trying to "capture" him.
His fame certainly eclipses Brit's, even at her apex. He can't escape the fans or the fame. In essence, he has triple the pressure since his fame depends on how much he let his fans into his life via social media. There is no shut off valve when it comes to social media and retaining the interest of fickle fans who will eventually and inevitably move on. But the constant interaction lengthens the honeymoon phase.
The Biebs may be a lot younger than Brit was during her breakdown, but he also has a rock solid team that isn't likely to be easily penetrated by hangers on or nerfarious outsiders with dollar signs in their eyes. Although, we do question where his mother Pattie Mallette, his dad Jeremy Bieber and his manager Scooter Braun are in all of this. Sure, they need to let him be a 19-year-old kid because that's what he is, but someone needs to pull the reigns in and control this situation from the inside.
First, Biebs needs to ditch the bad influences. Sorry, but Lil Twist crashing his cars repeatedly is bad behavior and it rubs off on Biebs. The teen looks like a careless pop star who doesn't appreciate what he has. Twist has also been at the center of those blunt photos, too. We don't want to lay the blame squarely on his doorstep, but where there's (pot) smoke…
Bieber has also been exhibiting sullen and moody behavior. He's been flashy and cocky by showing off his physique in photos. He needs to stop being so reactionary. It smacks of "Do you know who I am? I'm Justin F---ing Bieber." Chill with the peck-heavy photos.
He's got to stop doing things that would get normal people arrested. It's as though he's daring someone to stop him, like he's seeing how far he can go with his invincible act. Last night's collapse in London (after he was tardy for a show that week and booed as a result) could veritably be the culmination of all the stress surrounding him. The Biebs loves his Beliebers, so for him to show up late to a show, when most of his fans have early bedtimes, shocked us. It made us think something is bubbling under the surface and it's not good.
But it doesn't need to get to head shaving levels. We don't even want to think of a Biebs without bangs! Brit can be a cautionary tale. While America loves a comeback and opened its arms to Brit as she scratched and clawed her way back to the top, 'Femme Fatale'-style, The Biebs doesn't need "a feel good story" or to manufacture a comeback. He has the talent to stay at the top, so why risk it?
He's the biggest teen pop star of the millennial generation and he doesn’t need a fall from grace. He can keep climbing if he shakes off some of these bad influences.
Pattie, Jeremy and Scooter, we'll let you take it from here…
Watch the Justin Bieber 'As Long as You Love Me' Video