Britney Spears opened the Billboard Awards last night. Halfway through the show Justin Bieber performed. And it’s hard not to connect the two, not only because of the child star thing but because of what was missing from both sets – unmitigated joy. It felt like work. It did not feel like fun, especially not for Justin, who hasn’t looked like he’s had any fun since his tour started. Click here if you missed Kathleen’s tour review of Purpose last week. As she and other reviewers have noted, JB’s demeanour throughout and even at Billboard has been… misanthropic. When did Justin Bieber become a misanthrope?

It’s in his eyes. His eyes are, well, they look empty to me right now. Completely detached. He dances like he’s going through the motions. He doesn’t try to pretend like he’s singing through the entire song. He can’t f-cking wait to get off the stage. And THAT’s what’s bringing me back to Britney. Because you know these people, these stars, these entertainers. Typically you can’t drag them off the stage. They never want to leave the light. Right now, Justin Bieber is running from the light. He was half-present during his performance and when he won his award, he didn’t even want to gloat on the stage where he was booed just three years ago. You remember that? In 2013, at this very event, they booed him. And he felt it. It stayed with him a long time. Now he’s come back, triumphantly, and instead of pumping his chest, it was all he could do to make it as short as possible, taking off as soon as he could. How often do you see superstars giving up the opportunity to HAHAHAHA in a situation like that? Would you have ever expected that it would be Justin Bieber who’d give up the opportunity to HAHAHAHAHAHA? Sound the f-cking alarm.