Tween Dream Justin Bieber Wins Artist of the Year

Blow-dried pop star takes top honors at American Music Awards

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Justin Bieber, the tweeny-bopper sensation famous for his blow-dried hair and dedication to Twitter, took top honors at the American Music Awards Sunday night, winning the award for Artist of the Year.

Bieber also won awards for best "breakthrough" artist, best male artist, and best pop/rock album. "The AMA winners were determined by real-life American voters," New York's Mike Vilensky writes. The public always gets the pop stars it deserves.

  • Stay Away From the Social Issues, Please, the Los Angeles Times urges after watching Bieber sing "Pray," a song that includes the lyrics, "Children are crying/ Soldiers are dying." The newspaper gives the performance a grade of D. "Apparently, Justin Bieber didn't see the disaster that was Miley Cyrus' 'Wake Up America.' Teen pop and socially conscious messages rarely mix well. This one seems aimed at Mom and Pop, a Trojan Horse of a pop tune to disguise Bieber as pure innocence. Don't be fooled, parents. This is a gateway drug."
  • A Dark Day, Julie Ryan Evans writes at The Stir. If Katy Perry or Ke$ ha had won, it would have been less of a disaster, the blogger writes, because they're "truly great singers." But "Bieber is ... a kid whose hair is more famous than his vocals. Perhaps they should have an award for that -- male singer with the best hair. Biebs could own that. Nothing personal against Justin, he makes plenty of little girls happy, he has a nice voice, and good for him and him success." But his award for Artist of the Year marks "a sad year for music."
  • Eminem Crushed by Girls on Twitter, Gerrick D. Kennedy and Randall Roberts report for the Los Angeles Times. "Despite having one of the biggest-selling albums of the year, Eminem garnered only two wins, a true testament that heavy hitters are no match for nail-biting girls in front of their computers Tweeting about Bieber. After besting both the rapper and his mentor, Usher, in the artist of the year category, he too seemed to be in disbelief of his meteoric rise."
  • A Proud Pop Mentor, the Associated Press's Nekesa Mumbi Moody reports. "Usher was in tears after losing two awards at the American Music Awards to Justin Bieber... But Usher wasn't upset about his loss – far from it. Instead, he was welling with pride over the success of his young protege, Justin Bieber, who was the night's biggest winner with four awards and the youngest performer ever to capture the entertainer award," she writes. Seeing Bieber win was "like an out of body experience," Usher said.
  • Biebs Is Growing Up, Joyce Chen notes at the New York Daily News. "Earlier in the night, Bieber performed his new song 'Pray' with a noticeably more mature voice, backed by a gospel choir and dropping to his knees for a dramatic finish. His performance, complete with sparkly shoes and a white jacket with black cuffs, did indeed recall a young King of Pop. And that was just one performance in what became a night full of throwbacks."
  • Potential Pratfalls Ahead,  Usher warns, according to Music News. Usher told Bieber that, "you've got to love all your fans without falling in love with them. I can't say I've never dated a fan but it's not a good idea. I tell him to understand that you are a fantasy to them and you should be mindful of that. And I encourage him to not take success so seriously so early."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.