Sep 25, 2013

    Baby Biebs no more

    WHAT: Formula One Closing Concert featuring Justin Bieber

    VENUE: Padang Stage, Zone 4

    ATTENDANCE: 12,000

    WHEN: Monday night

    BOY, has Justin Bieber grown up.

    At his maiden Singapore outing in 2011, the Canadian pop singer was still a fresh-faced, bubblegum boy-next-door working to find his footing.

    The Bieber who greeted the 12,000 fans gathered at the Padang for the Formula One SingTel Singapore Grand Prix Closing Concert on Monday night, however, was a totally different animal.

    Over the course of 105 minutes, the 19-year-old - looking buff in a white wife-beater and white drop-crotch trousers - worked the stage like a pro, as if attempting to silence his many naysayers.

    His performance style seems to have evolved over the years, and he now channels iconic A-listers like Justin Timberlake, Michael Jackson and Bieber's early mentor, Usher.

    Appearing on stage promptly at 8.15pm, the Bieb launched into All Around The World, from his latest album Believe (2012).

    The crowd, comprising mostly starstruck teenage girls, parents with little ones in tow and the odd heckling fratboy-type, predictably went wild.

    From then on, the night was a whirlwind of high-energy pop-and-lock dance moves and infectiously uptempo tunes, including a medley of older hits One Time (2009), Eenie Meenie (2010) and Somebody To Love (2010), as well as other fan favourites like Beauty And A Beat and Boyfriend (both 2012).

    But it was only when Bieber chose to slow things down that his inherent talent became most apparent. His voice - slightly raspier now - truly shone during an acoustic segment of Fall.

    Still, the highlight of the show for Beliebers - and the final nail in the coffin for anyone who still viewed him as a little boy - was when he ditched his tank top during the encore, revealing an impressive set of abs.

    As he closed the show with his breakout hit Baby (2009), the fans sang and danced along frenetically like they were willing the concert not to end.

    I've gotta say, Biebs, growing up sure looks good on you.