Justin Bieber didn’t seem overly enthused when he accepted the award for Top Male Artist at Sunday’s Billboard Music Awards, and there was a reason for that: “I don’t know about these awards shows,” he wrote in an Instagram post Monday. “No disrespect to anybody at any of the shows or the people running it … But I don’t feel good when I’m there nor after.”
He had performed “Company” and “Sorry” at the show, amid a dozen other performances from stars like Celine Dion and Kesha. “I try to think of it as a celebration but can’t help feeling like people are rating and grading my performance,” Bieber continued. “A lot of people in the audience there seem to be worried about how much camera time they will get or who they can network with. When I’m doing a regular show I feel they are there for the right reasons and to strictly have a good time! But these award shows seem so hollow.”
Bieber’s making a habit of getting real on Instagram. He recently announced a new “no photos” rule and wrote about the decision in a post on the social media platform. “It has gotten to the point that people won’t even say hi to me or recognize me as a human, I feel like a zoo animal, and I wanna be able to keep my sanity,” he said May 10.
His message about awards shows seems to follow the same thread of wanting a more authentic experience. “I get the premise is to award people for their accomplishments, but is it really?” he said in Monday’s post. “Because when I look in the audience I see a bunch of fake smiles so that when the camera hits them they look happy.” And Bieber’s not willing to put on one of those fake smiles: Just look at this clip of his stoic reaction to P!nk’s performance.
But he’s not ungrateful. “I am privileged and honored to be recognized by my peers, [but in these] settings I can’t feel the recognition,” he said. “There’s an authenticity missing that I crave.”
See Bieber’s full message below.