Justin Bieber appeared on NBC's Today show this morning to talk about his new Christmas album, but his visit was really just to confront the allegations that his brief romance with an older fan after a Los Angeles concert resulted in a baby boy. The incident has turned "Mariah Yeater" into a household name overnight, and while Bieber and his reps immediately denied the rumors, chatting with Today about the situation has more resonance than a tweet. Al Roker and Ann Curry loosened the Bieb up with some innocent questions about his Under the Mistletoe, the charities that album is raising money for, and his moneymaker ("My voice is evolving and changing for the better"). Thankfully, Matt Lauer swooped in to ask the question on everyone's mind this morning: Is it your baby?
"I'd just like to say, basically, that none of those allegations are true, and I know that I'm gonna be a target, but I'm never going to be a victim. I think it's crazy, because every night after the show, I'm gone right from the stage right to my car. So it's crazy that some people want to make up such false allegations but it's true," Bieber said, adding that he never even met the woman. "There's gonna be goods and bads about this business, and I just want to focus on what's real. My fans are real, the charity work that I'm doing for my album is real, and this is real."
It was obvious that Bieber rehearsed his answers several times; he fumbled the target/victim line to the point of confusion, and he didn't even say "like" as filler once, so you know that his interview was as practiced and precise as a statement. Still, this is a 17-year-old kid facing the first major controversy of his young career, and the magnitude of the accusations -- that he fathered a child after a Staples Center bathroom rendezvous -- likely blindsided the singer. It was essential that he face the rumors head on and deny them. Otherwise, they'd just linger. Only the results of the paternity test would truly kill this story, but Bieber's Today visit doused some serious fire.
(It's a good thing Bieber denied the allegations, because the outdoor interview would have turned into a riot had he confirmed the rumors to be true. Not even the barricades could have contained the hundreds of furious, bloodthirsty Bieber fans from turning the Rockefeller Center plaza into Occupy Oakland.)
After the interview, Bieber tweeted, "thanks for letting me set the record straight. what is real are my fans...this album...and this charity work. see u guys the 23rd."
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