What kind of list includes Justin Bieber alongside Vice President Joseph Biden, Prince William and Kate Middleton, and Oprah Winfrey? It must be Time magazine's list of the 100 most influential people in the world. The annual count of the people who, for better or worse, make our world fascinating, includes an essay by mentor Usher extolling the virtues of the Biebs.
"From the minute I met Justin, I knew this kid possessed a certain confidence that only a star could have," wrote Usher. "He was born a star. He knew what he wanted to accomplish; all he had to do was get everyone else to believe it. Now, looking back at his incredible run, the reality of who he is and what he's accomplished far exceeds anybody's expectations of him. What's interesting and will keep the world watching is that at the same time he's having this incredible success, he's like any other kid living a normal life."
In his typically impish style, "Parks & Recreation" co-star and comedian Aziz Ansari spent most of his 150 words in praise of series star and producer Amy Poehler, after complaining about an alleged real estate scam she pulled on him. "That said, I cannot say how much I admire and respect Amy Poehler," he wrote. "In comedy, a lot of what you see feels derivative and uninspired; with Amy, 39, there is always something fresh and unexpected, and that's why I love her work."
Director Baz Luhrmann marveled at actress Blake Lively for pulling off the unique trick of channeling the "vitality of youth — that indefinable, natural, unprocessed glamour full of possibility and filled with anticipation for an endless future."
Actress Glenn Close wrote of the talents of her "Albert Nobbs" co-star Mia Wasikowska ("Alice in Wonderland," "The Kids Are All Right"), saying the 21-year-old is "a sun, not a satellite. She generates her own energy. She's seductive because she's not compelled to reveal everything. Her shyness has made her an acute observer. At the same time, she loves a good joke, loves to laugh and can suddenly have the boisterous physicality of a teenager. Mia will be many things in life and will defy expectation because she's brilliant and curious and not fooled by what most people define as success."
When it comes to "Glee" star Chris Colfer, co-star Dianna Agron said the 20-year-old song-and-dance man "lives by extreme truth, speaking out against the epidemic of bullying that he, too, faced in high school. The honesty that he infuses into his 'Glee' character, Kurt, leaves you reeling." Elsewhere, B.o.B writes of his pal Bruno Mars, 25, that the singer/songwriter "has a musicality, a presence in his voice that I've never heard from anyone else."
Among the others making the list were Google executive Wael Ghonim, credited with being the voice of the revolution in Egypt; Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg; WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange; Congresswoman and shooting victim Gabrielle Giffords; Sting; and President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama. For the third year, South Korean pop superstar Rain made it onto the list as the result of a reader's poll.