There are two Justin Biebers, just as there are two of every teen star. On one side, sporting a poster-ready smile and just enough corporate-sanctioned rebellious edge to appeal to his tween audience's sense of detention-stakes danger, but still perpetually virginal and single, so that those same devotees can clutch closely the dream of one day being plucked from the crowd (or Twitter) to date their dream boy.
The other: an actual human being, with the desire to date the celebrities which his status affords him -- and slick enough to use the rumors of those flings to keep his name in the conversation.
Without the years of Disney-sponsored acid wash and preparation, Bieber has always lived on the edge when it comes to his teen stardom, more willing to open himself up to cameras, gossip and the occasional scandal. And while he resides in the dreams of millions of teenage girls worldwide, he hasn't been too secretive of his puppy dog love relationships, claiming with a wink that he was single even when it was obvious that he wasn't.
Funny, then, that for much of the past year, Bieber has been linked to Selena Gomez, the one Disney starlet who has remained controversy free (see: Cyrus, Miley and Lovato, Demi). Long the paragon of Disney virtue, she first referred to Bieber as a good friend, like a little brother, and given her year of wisdom over the Canadian wunderkind, it was believable.
But House of Mouse rules be damned, the two have been caught by ever-present paparazzi, trying to sneak kisses and hold hands (that perhaps this is a Disney strategy is a very real possibility, too -- attaching Gomez to the one teen star they can't have is profit and fame by proxy). Gomez even received death threats, with the world's tween audience following the pair's every move. And Justin Bieber's scandalous screen saver.
Still, they pressed on. And since stepping out together at the Oscars, talk show interviews and further photo evidence has largely made it clear that the two are dating, or whatever it is that young stars, forever with adult handlers and agents buzzing near, can call their relationship (note: Bieber is a classic romantic).
Still, it was a bit surprising when, at Sunday night's Billboard Awards, Bieber and Gomez embraced -- and kissed, with lips! -- at the sound of his name being called for winning Top New Artist, one of his five award wins. Gomez was clearly his date -- along side Bieber's mother -- but needless to say, the quick peck will turn into a sonic boom in today's middle school lunchrooms.
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