Ever heard of Bieber Fever? It's a term used to describe the millions of Justin Bieber fans around the globe. The die-hard fans. The ones who think of him morning, noon and night. And follow him on Twitter daily. And dream of one day meeting him.
No. I don't have the full-fledged fever. But at the risk of my reputation as a no-nonsense mom and a serious adult, I aim to show just how one may go about developing somewhat of an illness about the young, pop star sensation.
Yes, I know, most people -- especially in my age group -- don't have much use for the insane hype surrounding this young teen idol. Even I shook my head in disbelief at the Black Friday commercial last year that showed guys screaming in excitement upon JB's presence at Macy's. My feelings were akin to pity for the tweens stricken with the fever. But ...
A buzz in the sinuses
... I started feeling funny a few weekends ago. It was a boring one. No plans. Nothing to do. But we had Netflix and popcorn. "Never Say Never" showed up on the "Popular on Netflix" movie queue. I knew it was about that teen-age singer all the little girls were screaming about, but I also heard it did very well at the box office, so I thought I'd give it a shot.
Interlaced with an amazing singing voice and quirky, back-stage antics, the story of Justin Bieber unfolded before me. And I was impressed. Raised by a young, single mother, the boy was passionate about singing from an early age. He performed at the steps of the Avon Theatre in Stratford, Ontario, Canada. He performed at his church. He entered a local singing contest. He came in second. He kept singing. His mom put his videos on YouTube. He was discovered.
I heard or read somewhere before the superhero with the most fans is Spider-Man. Superman was an alien. Batman and Ironman had the power of brains and money. But, until he was bitten by a super spider, Spider-Man was an average person. Justin Bieber didn't get famous through Disney or Nickelodeon. His parents weren't rich or famous. We relate to this normal kid. And just look at him now.
But, although his fame is staggering (as of Feb. 13 he had more than 17.5 million followers on Twitter with an average of 27,000 new followers added per day, and according to Celebritynetworth.com is worth $105 million), he still comes home to visit his grandparents, still had to clean his room before hanging out with friends, and remains true to his pre-celebrity pals, flying them to be with him at concerts and events around the globe.
He loves being a big brother to his half siblings. And he has delivered many requests through the Make A Wish Foundation.
What's not to love?
Long after the credits rolled on the movie that boring Saturday a few weeks back, the words of his songs (most of which he had a hand in writing) remained in a constant loop in my head. I couldn't get them out.
My daughter caught me searching for his early videos -- the ones that made him famous -- and said, "Mom! What are you doing? Are you feeling all right!?"
After a few days of this, I thought "Heck with it," and despite our tight budget, I was on iTunes, downloading the peppy "Baby," his biggest hit to date. "This is the only one I'll get," I thought.
Three days later, I have a Justin Bieber playlist of eight songs. That I play over and over. (And am listening to now as I type this column).
But what I like most about this kid is the way he is with his fans. Unlike most celebrities I've seen, he seems genuinely indebted to his "Beliebers" (you know, the fans with the actual fever). He gets that without them, he is nothing. In fact, last week on Twitter, he deeply apologized to all his fans for running past them at an airport.
Yes. I am following him on Twitter.
Renee Tanner is a News-Review designer who realizes publishing this column opens her to all sorts of criticism. So what else is new? She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter: @ReneeTanner_pnr.