While “Where Are U Now,” Bieber’s single with Skrillex and Diplo, has been climbing the charts all summer, Bieber himself has kept an unusually low profile. Thus, his VMA performance was his chance to remind everyone why they liked him in the first place, after more recently alienating fans with his more aggressive antics.
His performance on the VMA stage was as straightforward as the VMAs get, even ending with laser lights and Bieber floating upward toward the ceiling. The rest of the set, including both “Where Are U Now” and Bieber’s new single “What Do You Mean?” showed off Bieber’s falsetto and dance moves (which apparently exist!).
By the time the performance was done and Bieber was safely back on the ground, the pop star was hunched over on his knees, breathing hard — and sobbing. Clearly of all of us, Bieber needed this performance the most.