Justin was at the peak of his popularity during the height of their storybook Hollywood romance; he the precocious popstar, she the budding Disney princess.
Since the break-up in late 2012, he’s been dogged by a string loutish episodes–from spitting on people, to peeing in a mop bucket at a posh New York restaurant.
He’s also been hit by highly publicized allegations of drug use, under-age club-hopping, and more recently of frequenting South American whorehouses.
To top things off, Bieber announced in a radio interview that he would be “retiring” from the music business, sending his management into overdrive to refute the statement.
If he thought he would engender a wave of sympathy, or outcry from his fans, he didn’t. Who could believe Mr Believe?
The cumulative effect appears to have taken a toll on his popularity and career.
His long-awaited documentary, “Justin Bieber’s Believe,” billed as the “unfiltered and brutally honest” story of his life, promptly tanked in a limited theater run with a humiliating box office take, dwarfed by his previous film “Justin Bieber: Never Say Never.” Critics and audiences ripped it apart.
He’s also been off his game at spots during the recent leg of his Believe Tour. He forgot the words to songs on a couple of occasions and showed up late to a New Zealand show that was conspicuous by the number of empty seats.
Be that as it may, the most troubling sign of career trouble has come in his core business–making music. His compilation album, Journals, released Dec. 23, has been a bust.
Sold solely as a download, it plummeted on the iTunes chart to No. 12 after its release. And, that’s after a ten-week digital download promotion campaign entitled “Music Mondays.”
The album includes five previously unreleased songs and the ten new Music Monday releases, none of which received radio airplay. As a result, the album has sold around 100,000 downloads, according to iTunes.
Against that backdrop, Bieber plans to release a video for Journal track “Confident,” early in 2014, and announce plans for a new album, due by the end of the year, according to Billboard.
His breakup with Selena didn’t help. He treated one of America’s sweethearts shabbily in the split, causing even more enmity. As late as last month, he said in a radio interview he and Selena were “taking a little time and not talking.”
Then, out of the blue, the two appear together in a very public display of affection, cruising around Bieber’s gated community on Segways.
Two fans took photos and the body language didn’t say love. Selena was spotted trailing yards behind while Justin rode with his security guard.
It was hard to miss them; his security blocked the public road to all other traffic so they could ride in the middle of the street. Justin, in true form, flipped off his fans, which must have made Selena cringe.
Of course, it’s hard to tell what’s going through her head these days. Once considered one of the more grounded young pop stars, she seems just as flighty. She abruptly canceled the Southeast Asian leg of her Stars Dance tour, citing “exhaustion,” and then was spotted partying her ass off in Las Vegas.
In the end, their feelings for each other may be genuine, and Selena may be giving him another chance.
But it’s hard to dismiss the possibility that their new-found “relationship” is nothing more than a transparent attempt to recreate Camelot for the sake of both their careers.