2. Justin Bieber and Carly Rae Jepsen
Photo: In an industry where popstars last months, Justin Bieber has remarkable staying power. (AP)
Forget Chavril, 2012 was the year of Carly Rae Jepsen and Justin Bieber.
Already one of the biggest popstars in the world, Bieber reportedly first heard Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” on the radio on a January trip home to Stratford, Ont.
In other words, ‘Hey, I just heard your song, and this is crazy. But I’m Justin Bieber, so call me, maybe?’
Originally released on Sept. 20, 2011, “Call Me Maybe” was only a moderate Canadian success. The Bieber connection, however, would make the song a worldwide earworm, the undisputed Billboard song of the summer. It sat at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 for nine weeks – the longest reign of any Canadian artist.
The Biebs and his manager, Scooter Braun, announced Jepsen’s signing to Braun’s Schoolboy Records label in the U.S. on Feb. 14, 2012, the same day as the release of her “Curiosity” EP. But on Feb. 18, the song hit the stratosphere with a “Call Me Maybe” YouTube lipdub video starring Bieber, Selena Gomez, Ashley Tisdale, and other teen stars bouncing around, singing the song. After word of the event spread to Bieber’s more than 20 million Twitter followers, the official video – released on CarlosPenaTV’s YouTube channel – was viewed more than 54 million times as of December. The video sparked a worldwide sensation and, until a certain South Korean megahit came along, was THE viral video meme of the year, with everyone from Katy Perry to James Franco to the U.S. 2012 Olympic swim team putting their spin on the catchy jam.
“Maybe” became a coy, cheeky smash hit because of Bieber, the mogul.
Jepsen, a Mission, B.C., singer-songwriter, released her second album, “Kiss,” on Sept. 18. She has sold more than 10 million digital copies of “Call Me Maybe” worldwide, making it one of the best digital-selling singles of all time. Now, the song is nominated for two Grammy Awards, including Song of the Year.
Bieber did not sit still either. “Believe,” his third album, was another megahit that reached the top of the charts the week it was released. He continued to sell out stadiums and cause headaches for local law enforcement wherever he appeared. Pop music has always been a ruthless business in which hot acts find themselves has-beens in a blink of an eye. Bieber's ability to stay on top of the charts and in the minds of fickle teens round the world is eyebrow-raising, even if you don't like his music.
What's interesting about Carly Rae Jepsen's success is that it points to one possible future for Bieber. If his global celebrity fades and the crowds stop packing the stadiums, he doesn't have to fade into obscurity. His manager Scooter Braun has created a global pop-music empire. With any luck, the golden boy from Stratford will stay part of it for years to come.
— Joanna Adams