When tomorrow's pop culture writers look back at the meteoric career of dreamy teen pop sensation Justin Bieber it'll be easy to pinpoint the exact moment his star started to fall.
At the time, it was a shocking upset -- especially hard on Bieber's young, naive fans who reacted with rage and sorrow. It was also the beginning of the end. From there, once-cute Canadian kiddo's life unraveled in ways both predictable and unpredictable for young celebrities with more looks than brains.
"He's going to have many more years and many more nominations, so I think he'll be straight," Spalding said at the time.
Oh, bitter irony!
In 2021, of course, both "Esperanza Spalding" and "Justin Bieber" are merely answers to trivia questions asked by the cyborg version of Alex Trebek who hosts the popular iShow RoboJeopary. While Spalding's statement is amusing to lots of people, others can't bring themselves to laugh at the Biebs after what he's been through.......
What was that again?
Oh, right. We asked several New Times writers to make their predictions for were Bieber will be in 2021. Whoever gets closest in a decade wins a monetary prize, payable in Chinese yuan.
"Bieber's real problems, of course, began the next year, when Biebs was busted with a manpurse full of oxycontin. His fans were hurt -- but not ready to desert him -- unfortunately, Barack Obama was not a fan of Bieber. Justin's unflattering impersonation of the president on late night television, which would have been seen as a major provocation toward war if done by a major star from a country less friendly than Canada, was the start of the president's antipathy. However, watching as his pre-teen daughters worship the little brat really pushed him over. 'If Sasha plays that stupid My Worlds Acoustic one more fucking time, I'll nuke Toronto...' Though he was under intense fire from political opponents and risked a major scandal if anyone found out about it, Obama ordered civil servants in the department of Immigration and Naturalization Services to use the incident as a pretext for banning Bieber from acquiring a work visa forever. And convince other friendly nations to follow suit. Other than the occasional show in Havana, Bieber was therefore confined to the Snowy North. He took up cross-country skiing in a vain attempt to keep his girlish figure after finally giving up Rx drugs but froze to death and was eaten by a polar bear." -- Martin Cizmar
"After being fired as Dragon Force's lead singer and the subsequent heart attacks from complications arising due to his famous and very serious meth addiction, Bieber finally found his true calling as the third-cutest Foot Locker salesman in Cleveland's Parmatown Mall." --Shawn Anderson
"When his infomercial appearances begin to wane and VH1 won't book him as a talking head, Bieber grudgingly decides to start creating sex tapes with his 30-something fans out of his seedy apartment in Torrance, California. He subsequently makes appearances on Bubba the Love Sponge's internet radio show shilling tapes like Bieber in My Beaver in order to scrape together some rent money." -- Benjamin Leatherman
"I'm no cynic here -- I think Justin Bieber is an affable young man who is as charming as he is gracious towards his insane fan base. Did he deserve to beat Esperanza Spalding -- from my hometown of Portland, Oregon? Well, as per the way of the Grammys in recent years, yes -- overwhelmingly so. Yet he didn't win. The voters went with a dark horse in Spalding, and history may prove that to be the right choice.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
Biebs reminds me most of a Leif Garrett/Andy Gibb type -- plenty of talent and a crazed fan base at such a young age. Garrett was 16 when he released his first album, Gibb 18. They both went on to have celebrated careers that were both undone in most unsavory ways. Garrett's drug addiction overtook his life while Gibb didn't live past the age of 30 -- a tragic victim to myocarditis. History, then, says that Bieber's run at stardom won't last long.
Let me give you two examples of teen idol musicians still working today -- Justin Timberlake and Donnie Wahlberg. While Bieber definitely has the talent of Timberlake, his career path would be insanely difficult to replicate. Wahlberg's, on the other hand, is something more realistic. From New Kids On The Block to starring in CBS' Blue Bloods, Wahlberg has shown what it's like to be a teen idol who can still make a living from his many talents, mainly his acting.
So there you have it -- I think Justin Bieber is the Donnie Wahlberg of his generation. Only time -- and, perhaps, genetics -- will tell his future." -- Michael Lopez