Puberty strikes again. Another resounding victory for nature. In one of the more tragic news stories to have ‘broken’ recently – ahem – Justin Bieber’s voice has broken; an event so catastrophic it has forced him to abort his singing activities to see if he can come out of the ordeal with a cute enough voice for teeny-boppers to pay 79p for each of his tracks. My sister, to whom Justin Bieber is as familiar, on first name terms at least, to Jesus, found it all highly amusing.
Pictures of the angel-faced Bieber adorn her bedroom wall, yet she laughed with a faint maliciousness when telling me a Facebook group called “Justin Bieber brings all the girls to the yard, they’re like ‘Can you even get hard?’” has registered hundreds of thousands of fans.
Yet I walked in on her watching a Justin Bieber video once and she jumped up with a startle, immediately switching the channel and rubbing her cheeks to remove the faint red glow of pre-pubescent lust that resided upon her cheeks. What are kids like these days? One minute they adore their heartthrob with all the passion they can muster, tacking his poster to any surface they can find and learning the words to every song he has ever belted out. The next they question his sexual performance on the most prominent social media website in the world, which, even though I’m not remotely a fan of the pop starlet, seems a bit harsh.
Imagine being just sixteen years old, having already accrued enough money to live the rest of your life on exotic beaches as cocktails wing their way towards your deckchair at the click of your fingers. You know that any girl, at the drop of a hat, would drop whichever chav they were dating like a shot just to touch your fringe.
Your pop star career is going well. Well known acts such as Usher and Sean Kingston are queuing up to perform duets with you and get in on the action. You score a run of hits that make you an international star. Then one day you wake up in the middle of the night, walk downstairs to get a glass of juice, see a reflection of yourself in the shiny metallic fridge door and notice little hairs underneath your nose.
After failing to shave properly a couple of times (who doesn’t?) you ask your Mum to go and buy some aftershave, but in doing so you suddenly notice your voice has dropped two octaves and that every so often it rumbles, cracks or squeaks.
You’ve grown so accustomed to the shameless high life, yet now you can’t be seen in public. Or at least this is what Bieber’s mentors have made happen by cancelling his gigs. He was threatening to take over the pop world, but he may emerge in two or three years sounding like he spent the entire time in a damp airing cupboard smoking foot-long Cuban cigars.
I wouldn’t want to be in the recording studio on the day Justin is put through his paces once more, after the extremes of his voice are ironed out. Either he’ll have developed a soulful croon, composing hits like there’s no tomorrow or he will be painstakingly trying to reach a top C, with as much success as Robbie Williams suddenly deciding that the world is ready to hear him rap, when the reality couldn’t be any more different.
One gossip blog, Hot Momma, put it straight: “Since YouTube made him a teenage sensation in 2007, Justin Bieber has had a transcendent career. But that may now be in decline”. Once again, this seems a bit harsh. He’s still not old enough to legally drink alcohol or buy cigarettes, yet gossip websites say his career could be in terminal decline despite the fact it has barely begun.
There was once a time when we let our child stars dazzle in the spotlight for their allotted fifteen minutes, before they burned out spectacularly, leading a destitute life of destruction, addiction and crippling ego problems. We make Macaulay Culkin the highest-paid child actor for his starring role in movies like Home Alone; yet stand by bemused as he estranges his parents, marries a girl he just met at 18 and spirals downwards in a daze of marijuana and prescription pills.
Now we witness the natural course of humanity flooding through a moderately talented singing teenager and say his career is over and that he might as well enrol as an apprentice for a plumbing firm, so at least he has a trade when the record label tear up his contract. That’s what is called progress.