Instant Grammy Review: Justin Bieber and Usher
The reunion of Justin Bieber and his “mentor” Usher began a little creepily, with vintage Youtube of a barely pubescent JB and an announcement that “fortunately, our great moments are now preserved forever.” Then it got creepier, as the pair reminisced onstage about their first chance encounter in a parking lot. The meet-cute banter segued into a chaotic medley: ninja-masked taiko drummers charging an acoustic take on “Baby,” Bieber’s deeper-pitched performance of “Never Say Never” amidst martial-arts dance moves and a cameo from one of Will Smith’s kids (not Willow, sadly). The Asian stereotypes were, um, dubious, albeit less problematic musically than Usher’s return for the anonymous “OMG.” He was more convincing in that futuristic paramilitary outfit than he was mouthing “wow oh wow.” At least we learned that Justin Bieber can sort of rap!
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