Yep, that last inquiry is totally real — and totally dividing a lot of fans today who are trying to decide if JB has taken a page from the Mariah Carey School of Shade.
It all started during an interview with New York radio station 95.5 PLJ on Tuesday (Sept. 15), during which Justin reminisced on his early days in the spotlight. Asked if the 21-year-old had any advice for 17-year-old Shawn, Justin drew a blank.
“Who is Shawn Mendes?” he asked earnestly (or so it seemed), while chewing on some kind of Mentos-looking candy.
The DJ then awkwardly listed Shawn’s bio, saying, “He’s on Island, he’s from Southern Ontario, he’s 17 years old, he has a song called ‘Stitches’ that’s doing OK at pop radio.”
“Nice. Good for him,” Justin replied, to which the DJ explained he just assumed the pop stars would know each other because they’re both from the same region of Canada.
“No, I don't know him, but I will check him out. For sure,” JB answered.
So. What we have here is a bit of a toss-up: Was Justin shading Shawn or not? On the one hand, he did look genuinely puzzled when asked about Shawn. Which, honestly, is somewhat understandable, considering Shawn’s not quite the household name Biebs is.
On the other hand, it seems surprising that Shawn wouldn’t be on Justin’s radar. After all, the “Stitches” singer’s debut album, Handwritten, debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 chart back in April, making him the youngest artist since Justin to nab that title. Maybe JB’s a bit jealous?
What makes this whole debacle slightly more awkward is that Justin’s interview comes the day after Shawn sang his praises in another video, telling HollywoodLife, “Bieber is killing it right now. I can't stop listening to ‘What Do You Mean?’ I’m really into it.”
And, interestingly enough, it was announced on Tuesday that Shawn and Justin will go head-to-head at the MTV European Music Awards next month, where they're both up for the Best Canadian Act award. Maybe they’ll finally meet IRL there and this supposed beef can be put to rest?!
In the meantime, we want to know what you think, so tell us in the poll below if Justin’s response was totally shady or def sincere.