Justin Bieber has a classic coming-of-the-digital-age story, and his YouTube-abetted rising star became an easy target: Facebook groups rallied against him, Twitter rebelled against his trending-topic stranglehold, and a prank internet campaign was waged to "help" the kid "tour" North Korea. His greatest offenses seem to involve his gender, his sexuality, and his voice — more specifically, the juxtaposition of the three. Even Daniel Radcliffe made news for remarking that he thought Bieber was a woman after hearing him sing.
The flurry of interest in Bieber's vocal puberty, then, is not just about watching a child star try to roll with the big boys but also about possibly alleviating the aural anxiety over his gender and sexuality. Maybe J.B. will grow up to be J.T., whom we are (mostly) comfortable with these days. Far less comfortably, maybe he'll be M.J., his man-child voice frozen in time. Hell, maybe he'll grow up to sound like Barry White. Wouldn't it be interesting, though, if he remained somewhat ambiguous, a compellingly complicated figure, at once alien and appealing? At the very least, Biebs, keep the hair.