A History of Justin Bieber's Complicated Relationship with Awards Shows
Bieber has had his fair share of ups and downs when it comes to award shows
Some outlets are reporting that the star, who’s up for four awards, won’t be making an appearance at Sunday’s 59th Annual Grammy Awards. To help shed some light on his attitude toward the night of music industry honors, we’re taking a look back at some of his most significant ceremony moments.
Exploding onto the awards show scene.
The pop star attended his first ever MTV Video Music Awards in 2009, where he and Miranda Cosgrove introduced Taylor Swift‘s performance.
Bieber fever reached phenomenon levels by the 2010 VMAs. The singer’s inaugural performance at the annual ceremony was an explosive medley of “Baby,” “U Smile,” and “Somebody to Love.” The outdoor production began with Bieber running by a crowd of his frantic fans, and culminated in him showing off his drumming skills.
The teen sensation capped off the 2010 VMAs with a best new artist win.
Making a splash at the Grammys.
Bieber was only 16 years old when he suited up for his first Grammys in 2011. He was nominated for best pop vocal album and best new artist, which Esperanza Spalding claimed in a surprise victory.
“I had no clue what was going to happen; I worked really hard these past few years and you know, I’m not going to lie — I was disappointed,” Bieber told MTV News after the loss. “But, you know, I’m gonna come back [next year] and we’ll take a few home.”
But the night wasn’t a complete loss for Bieber, whose lengthy performance dominated the stage for almost seven minutes.
The Bieber show began with an old home video of the young star performing for Usher. The pair then shared some sentimental onstage dialogue before the stage lit up with backup dancers, samurai drummers and Jaden Smith.
The singer continued to steal the spotlight during the 2011 music awards season, showing up to the VMAs with his pet snake and giving then-girlfriend Selena Gomez a kiss during his pre-show interview.
The 2013 Grammys shut-out.
Fans were in an uproar in December 2012 when the Grammys didn’t recognize Bieber at all for his album Believe, springing into action with #NoBieberNoGrammys.
Bieber’s longtime manager Scooter Braun expressed his disappointment on Twitter. “The kid deserved it. Grammy board u blew it on this one,” he wrote.
“The hardest thing to do is transition, keep the train moving. the kid delivered. Huge succesful album, sold out tour, and won people over,” he continued. “This time he deserved to be recognized and I dont really have any kind nice positive things to say about a decision i dont agree with.”
“So to all those nominated…you do deserve it. You worked hard and u earned it. Just feel like so did JB.”
Fans and foes.
The 2013 Billboard Music Awards was a bittersweet night for Bieber. He performed twice and took home both the top male artist and the milestone awards, but was met with a mix of boos and cheers when he took to the stage to accept the latter prize.
“I’m 19 years old,” he told the crowd. “I think I’m doing a pretty good job. And basically, from my heart, I really just want to say it should really be about the music, it should be about the craft that I m making. This is not a gimmick, I’m an artist, and I should be taken seriously. This other bull should not be spoken of.”
Then 21 years old, Bieber performed “What Do You Mean?” and “Where Are Ü Now.” When his songs ended to thunderous applause, Bieber began crying into his hands.
Bieber later explained his tearful reaction on The Tonight Show.
“It was just so overwhelming for me, everything, just the performance — I missed some cues so I was a little disappointed at that — and just everyone, just the support,” he told host Jimmy Fallon. “Honestly, I just wasn’t expecting them to support me in the way they did. Last time I was at an award show I was booed.”
“I’ve worked so hard on this album, I’ve worked so hard at becoming the man I want to become,” he continued. “Stepping into situations, you just can’t help but feel judged, so I was just feeling judged and just wanting to win so badly and wanting to do what I love so badly that I just put everything on the line. What was just so special about the emotional moment at the end; it was just authentic, it was real.”
Finally getting the Grammy.
Bieber finally secured his much-dreamed-about gramophone in 2016 when his hit “Where Are Ü Now” won the trophy for best dance recording at the Grammy pre-show.
“Beliebers.. We did it! I love you. Now get ready for the show. Not done yet,” the star wrote on Twitter.
Bieber also thanked “all the people who’ve supported me over the last couple years” in a video.
The actual Grammy ceremony was also a highlight for Bieber, who performed “Love Yourself” and “Where Are Ü Now.”
At first, the 2016 Billboard Music Awards seemed to go well for Bieber. He gave an electrifying performance and won the award for top male artist. But the day after the broadcast, he posted a candid Instagram message about how awards shows really make him feel.
“I don’t know about these award shows.. No disrespect to anybody at any of the shows or the people running it. Nothing but love for you guys and your support. But I don’t feel good when I’m there nor after,” he wrote. “I try to think of it as a celebration but can’t help feeling like people are rating and grading my performance.”
“A lot of people in the audience there to be seem worried about how much camera time they will get or who they can network with. When I’m doing a regular show I feel they are there for the right reasons and to strictly have a good time! But these award shows seem so hollow. I get the premise is to award people for their accomplishments, but is it really? Because when I look in the audience I see a bunch of fake smiles so that when the camera hits them they look happy. Sure there are people truly proud of others so I don’t want to knock them I’m just looking at the vast majority.”
“I just think to myself if I’m living my purpose I want the reward to be fulfillment,” he went on. “I’m getting awarded for the things that I’m doing and not for who I am which is understandable I know it would probably be hard to calculate and award someone’s spirit lol. But When I do get these awards the temptation of putting my worth in what I do is so hard to fight!!! I am privileged and honored to be recognized by my peers in but in these settings I can’t feel the recognition. There’s an authenticity missing that I crave! And I wonder does anybody else.”
The 2017 Grammy Awards will air live from the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Sunday, Feb. 12 at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.