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Is Justin Bieber becoming a bit of a diva in his old age? The 18-year-old pop star showed some attitude when he hung up on radio DJ Mojo during a recent interview. Then again, the DJ did make a joke about his mom. The recording has been removed from the Mojo in the Morning website, but you can listen to the whole thing below.
Things started out pretty smoothly, with Mojo complimenting Bieber on his Believe album. But when the DJ compared him to Justin Timberlake (saying he initially mistook "Boyfriend" for a Timberlake song), the singer got unexpectedly defensive.
"Man, that's crazy because our voices sound nothing alike. I mean, I'm not trying to sound like anyone," said Bieber. "Saying I sound like someone else is not really a compliment. I mean, think that, if you were to say 'I heard some Justin Timberlake-esque things in your sound,' I would take that as a compliment. But saying you thought it was Justin Timberlake?"
It's surprising that Bieber took offense, because he's repeatedly described Timberlake as one of his career role models. But realizing that the DJ intended the comparison as a compliment, Bieber soon began to relax and backtrack a little.
"Justin Timberlake is definitely really talented, and is similar because he's white and he's singing pop, R&B. I think we both have the type of edge," Bieber explained. "I definitely want to have my own lane and not be compared. But I think he is super, super talented."
Then things got awkward again. After a discussion of the scandal with Bieber's alleged baby mama Mariah Yeater, Mojo brought up Justin's friendship with the boy band One Direction. "They were in town a while ago and they came over and stuff," said Bieber. "Yeah, they're good kids."
"Do you worry about Harry [Styles] around your mom, since he likes older women?" Mojo asked. (This weekend, it was revealed that Styles, 18, had an affair with a 32-year-old radio DJ.)
Bieber bristled at the joke, saying, "I don't think you should worry about me and my mom. Worry about your mom, bro."
When Mojo responded that his own mother was dead (yikes), Bieber hung up the phone. His publicist informed the DJ that Bieber was "upset with the question" and wouldn't be calling back.
So here's the detail missing from that conversation. In a conversation last week with the British press, Justin's girlfriend Selena Gomez said that they'd become "good buddies" with One Direction.
"Both me and Justin still have really hot moms and Justin was like, 'Harry might have become one of my best buddies, but with his record, we need to keep him away from our moms,'" Selena recalled.
In other words: It may seem harsh that the radio DJ made a joke about Bieber's mom. And yet, he was just stealing Justin Bieber's own joke from Selena Gomez -- right?
In the follow-up to the interview, Mojo complained that Bieber had "started to take himself way too seriously" around six months ago. This is where we'd like to point out that Bieber is still an 18-year-old kid who's relatively new to the spotlight. If he gets moody and angry once in a while, that's to be expected. He may also be frustrated that it's taking time to change his reputation from a goofy teen heartthrob to a serious R&B musician.
What Bieber needs to realize now is that changing people's ideas about you takes time. The "Boyfriend" singer owes a big part of his success to the radio DJs who vouched for him early in his career. These are not people he should be hanging up on -- even if they don't always ask the right questions.