NBC‘s documentary special Justin Bieber: All Around the World was a decently interesting portrait of teen superstar Justin Bieber. It’s probably nothing new if you count yourself a Belieber and obsessively follow him on Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and such… but since I don’t get my daily dose of Biebs outside of what I write for Crushable, I appreciated having all of these little moments crammed into 45 minutes as one big review session.
Remaining true to its title, the program tracked Bieber through a Eurotrip up until his secret concert in New York City just a few days ago. It covered him smacking into that glass plate while performing in Paris — and then dropping like a stone the moment he stepped backstage, in a fascinating sequence — as well as answered our question of whether his douchey dad Jeremy Bieber were still in the picture. (The answer being Yes, and he’s not leaving now that the kid he had as a teenager is rich and famous.)
What most struck me, however, was Justin’s interactions with his various fans. The news cycle of the past few weeks has highlighted specific Beliebers, from the screaming girls in Norway to the young woman who made a parody fan video that everyone thought was real. She, and a very different fan, were featured in the documentary, representing what I thought were two very different ends of the spectrum.
First, though, let’s talk about “Mrs. Bieber.” I didn’t know about this child before the NBC special, but there’s a six-year-old named Avalanna Routh who suffers from a rare form of cancer known as AT/RT. She’s apparently an incredibly dedicated fan; Justin’s music means so much to her that the Jimmy Fund arranged for her to have a fake wedding with a paper cutout of him. Maybe it’s just me, but her inclusion in Justin Bieber: All Around the World seemed so creepy! My mom and I both didn’t understand how a six-year-old could be such a superfan.
This segment of her and Justin on the Today show explains that Avalanna became a fan of his music while undergoing chemo, so part of me feels like an asshole for questioning it at all. Perhaps it’s an extraordinary case where the girl has such a short life, we shouldn’t judge how she chooses to live it. But I hope that not all six-year-olds are this zealously dedicated to any pop star.
Then you have the kinds of Beliebers you hear about more often: The girls who submitted “Girlfriend” music videos in a contest to win Justin’s new fragrance. That contest got overshadowed by one specific girl who submitted a hilariously creepy video: 20-year-old Laina, whose wide-eyed rendition of the song turned her into the Reddit meme Overly Attached Girlfriend. Check out this excerpt from the NBC special and you might see a familiar face…
Justin knows who Overly Attached Girlfriend is! This shouldn’t surprise me, and yet when Reddit turned the video into a meme, the Biebs didn’t have the time or interest to comment. But here he is matching her crazy eyes! Easily my favorite part of the documentary.