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Bieber graces Vanity Fair cover

"Everything is important. But, you know, my sanity is important, too. Even if I am angry I'll just put a smile on my face and fake it. I know I have to give up a lot of myself, or a lot of private life. And I want to be normal. Well, not normal, but I want to have some sort of normalcy. I don't want to go crazy."

That's teen dream Justin Bieber ending his Vanity Fair interview with Lisa Robinson. At 16, Bieber might be the youngest person ever to appear on VF's cover.

Now, of course, I have to admit, I've never sat down and listened to a Justin Bieber song. I saw him perform once on a televised awards show sometime last year. He looked 12 (he still does) and appeared to be relying heavily on a lot of prerecorded backup and supposedly sexy moves. (I found his little grinds and tentative crotch-grabbing silly.) But the girls in the audience were delirious.

For a long time, Bieber's popularity seemed forced, a sort of faux stardom. But perhaps that's how it always seems when the star is very young and the observers not so young at all. In any case, the boy does seem to be "somebody." Let's just hope this rush to the cover of VF doesn't spoil it. Sometimes being on the cover of VF is like winning an Oscar too soon.

As for Mr. Bieber keeping his sanity; not going crazy; from his mouth to God's ear. In all likelihood, Justin will go the way of Ricky Nelson, Fabian, the Cassidy brothers, David and Shaun, Leif Garrett, Bobby Sherman, most of N'Sync and the Backstreet Boys, Hanson, etc.

That's not a bad thing, if Justin's parents and managers reliably handle his estimated $100 million fortune. But, it's hard to predict. He is so babyish-looking right now (unthreatening for his little girl fans) that it is hard to imagine him as a more sexually assured older teen or young adult, with facial hair. Lisa Robinson cites Leonardo DiCaprio as one of the teen idols who escaped being typed, but Leo did not sing; he had extraordinary acting talent. (She also mentions Michael Jackson, as having survived the transition. But then -- kaboom!) There's an entirely different relationship between a singer and his audience.

Also, Leonardo DiCaprio was never convincing as a "teen idol." Something in his face and manner. He was clearly meant to be an actor -- and not one who was going to rely on his youth. He's certainly not pretty anymore.

So here's to Justin Bieber. He's just a child and I can only wish him well in what can be a horrible business.

I won't be attending any Bieber concerts. But if he gets into acting, I'll most assuredly take a look.

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