Everything you need to know about the new Justin Bieber documentary
New doc about the Canadian pop star chronicles challenges of live performance during COVID-19
Bieber is back.
In his new Amazon Prime documentary Justin Bieber: Our World, the Canadian pop star chronicles a 30-day countdown to his 2020 New Year's Eve Show at the Beverly Hills Hotel in Los Angeles.
The feature-length documentary comes on the heels of Bieber's other forays into the genre, the most recent of which was his 2020 YouTube docuseries Justin Bieber: Seasons. In that series, he opens up about his struggles with a Lyme disease diagnosis and a drug addiction.
While Justin Bieber: Our World is not quite as personal, it gives fans a behind-the-scenes glance at the story behind Bieber's comeback concert. The Stratford, Ont.-born singer even helped film parts of the documentary — vlog-style.
"I'm really starting to get into this vlogging thing," the singer remarks at one point, holding a camera at arm's length. "Except [for] the fact that I don't know how these dudes do it, 'cause my arm is sore."
Here's what you need to know about the documentary.
Bieber performed on the roof of a famous Los Angeles hotel
The New Year's Eve concert was Bieber's first full live performance in three years, after the conclusion of his Purpose world tour, and he and a film crew marked the occasion by capturing footage in the month leading up to the show.
According to the documentary, the singer and his team had to think outside of the box after COVID-19 restrictions forced concert venues to shut down.
They settled on an outdoor show overlooking Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles; Bieber performed atop the Beverly Hills Hotel ballroom roof, where 240 VIP hotel guests could watch the show from their balconies.
And fans in more than 150 countries around the world were given access to the show via the streaming platform VenewLive — though it didn't go off without a hitch, as Bieber fever forced the site to crash.
Lead choreographer tested positive for COVID-19 during rehearsals
Wellness juice shots, rapid COVID-19 tests and masks galore — this was no typical Bieber performance.
Those involved with the show's pre-production and rehearsals were tested for COVID-19 each morning.
Then, just days before the show, Bieber's lead choreographer, Nick DeMoura, tested positive for the coronavirus after developing mild symptoms. He was forced to quarantine for 14 days, missing rehearsals in the process.
"If any main players get it, the show's over," Chris Gratton, the co-show designer, says at the top of the film.
That wasn't quite the case, in the end, as rehearsals continued despite DeMoura's absence.
Though Bieber himself isn't shown getting tested during the documentary, he acknowledged the importance of the team's protocols, applauding how "meticulous" everyone had been in adhering to them.
"I think we're just so lucky that we get to work during this time," Bieber said. "There are a lot of people who don't, so I feel like it's a big blessing for us."
Longtime member of Bieber's team says he is 'extremely loyal'
Some of Bieber's crew have been touring with the singer since he was just a kid with a big voice.
In fact, the documentary is a bit of a love-fest between Bieber and his long-standing team members. Key players like the singer's security manager, lead choreographer and band members have all been working with him for more than a decade.
Lead choreographer DeMoura has been with the singer for 11 years, having started as an alternate dancer during the singer's My World tour.
"When you've toured with someone for 10 years, you've pretty much lived with them," DeMoura says in the film. "You become brothers automatically."
Other veterans from Bieber's pack include DJ Tay James and musical director and bass player Bernard (Harv) Harvey.
Lauren Walters, Bieber's director of operations and security, also reflects on working with the singer for 11 years in the film.
"He is extremely loyal to his team, his friends," Walters said. "For us — his team members who have been here over the years — we love him, we care about him tremendously."
Film features 17 performances from Bieber's concert
A good chunk of the dance-heavy documentary is dedicated to footage from the concert itself. Shots of the performance are interspersed with fan footage, much of it filmed as audience members were watching Bieber from those hotel balconies.
In the performance, the pop singer takes to the stage with a crew of backup dancers, an elaborate lighting structure flashing behind them.
The film's set list included 17 of Bieber's most popular songs, most of which are from Changes (2020) and Purpose (2015). But Bieber also delivered hits from his most recent album, Justice (2021), including Holy, a song he recorded with Chance the Rapper, and Anyone, which he dedicated to his wife, Hailey Bieber.
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Bieber wants to have a baby with his wife this year
According to the film, if Bieber's New Year's wish comes true, he and wife Hailey could be with child soon.
A video log dated Dec. 31, 2020 — the date of the concert performance — shows Hailey Bieber asking what her husband's intentions are for the next year. Bieber replies that he hopes they'll "squish out a nugget," a tongue-in-cheek reference to having a baby.
Hailey Bieber responds with surprise, then seems to let him down gently, with a firm, "Maybe."
The couple dated casually before confirming their relationship in 2018 and marrying later that year. Last month, some fans speculated that the 24-year-old model was pregnant after Bieber put his hand on her stomach while attending the Met Gala.
Much of the film's vlog-style footage features Bieber walking outdoors with his wife as they discuss the impending concert and the COVID-19 pandemic.
The pop star got somewhat personal elsewhere in the documentary, saying that his home life growing up was "unpredictable" and that having a life partner has aided his mental health.