Slow clap for Justin Bieber.
Two and a half years ago, the then-19-year-old bad boy spat on die-hard fans, peed in janitorial buckets, cursed at framed pictures of former presidents, and got arrested for drag racing on residential Miami Beach streets. He went from a rosy-cheeked tween king to the nation's most hated shit-kicker in mere months, sometimes even alienating the very Beliebers who led to his creation.
His longtime girlfriend left him. His pet monkey was confiscated in Germany. It seemed the singer's career was close to done. Inches from going full Corey Feldman, he clearly wasn't growing out of the cute phase cutely enough. But then, a miracle. Bieber prayed a lot, and God apparently told him to stop being an asshole. He celebrated his 21st birthday at a Comedy Central roast where he willingly accepted some long-overdue punishment. He got in the studio with Skrillex and Diplo. He cried onstage at the MTV Video Music Awards. He found forgiveness. It was not too late to say sorry.
Everyone applauds Justin's social 180, but we think the transformation of his fan base is far more interesting. People who five years ago wouldn't admit to knowing what he looked like now know every word to "Sorry" and sing along with gusto. Men and women of all ages find themselves sick with Bieber fever. You might say it's a Purpose-full pandemic. The crowd at his Miami appearances this Saturday and Sunday will no doubt be surprising.
Here's whom you'll find roaming the American Airlines Arena.
7. The white guy with Japanese tattoos who says "it's lit" way too much.
This dude is either a DJ or a producer or a blogger or an artist manager or a PR rep or some abominable amalgamation of all those things. He's the guy who, when you say you like Skrillex, responds with, "Oh, you mean Sonny?" He loves bass music and things that are "kawaii," and since Skrilly and Bieber got together, that means he's had Purpose on repeat since the moment it dropped. It was uncomfortable for him at first, but he's gone full superfan now. Watch him as he puts up his prayer hands and sways.
6. The older woman at work who always makes inappropriate comments about supple young white guys.
This woman makes you kind of uncomfortable, but then again, she's way fun at the holiday party. Justin Bieber is no longer a hairless boy, and you know this, because the home screen on her computer is a closeup of his Calvin Klein ad. She saved her money for the good tickets, and she's certain he'll spy her in the audience and bring her onstage for a steamy make-out session. Expect to see her Monday in her new tour T-shirt, muttering to herself in her cubicle: "That boy is scrum-diddly-umptious."
5. The mom who's leaving her tween daughter at home and going out to get drunk with her girlfriends.
Pack the minivan with 40-year-olds and wine coolers. We're going to relive our 20s and put the tight matching tees on tonight. This mom already knows he's a good performer. She liked what she saw when she chaperoned her tween daughter at a Bieber concert four years ago. But shit's gonna be a lot more fun with the kids in bed and the