Gary Flockhart: I can’t Belieb it’s not Michael Jackson

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IS it just me, or does anyone else think Justin Bieber is in need of a good slap?

Beliebers won’t thank me for saying it, but the 19-year-old pop icon is acting like a brat these days.

Who does the Biebster think he is? Michael Jackson, seemingly.

It appears it wasn’t enough that the Canadian singer stole the late King of Pop’s dance moves, glitter gloves and classic crotch grab. Now he’s trying to outdo ‘Wacko Jacko’ in the weirdo stakes as well.

In the last few weeks, Bieber has angered thousands of fans by arriving late for concerts, got himself into a dust-up with a paparazzo, had his tour bus searched by police in Sweden, who uncovered a small amount of drugs and a stun gun, and caused uproar by inking a message in the guests’ book at the Anne Frank Museum saying he hoped the Jewish teenager who died in a Nazi concentration camp “would have been a Belieber”.

But what’s more disturbing is the evidence he’s all too deliberately copying his idol: the pet monkey, the bizarre public disguises, the brazen sexuality in stage performances coupled with public declarations of pure innocence.

Tellingly, Bieber seems happy to play up the parallels. “We use Michael as a template,” he said in an interview. “The things that he did for his career - a lot of times it was good, sometimes it was bad - but he was successful from being young to old. That’s what I want to get to.”

Like Jackson before him, Bieber, who sprung to stardom in 2009 - the same year Jackson died of a drug overdose - is paying the price for not being allowed to live a normal childhood. He bathes in untold riches and feeds on the adoration of millions. What he wants, he gets. And sadly he seems to be losing his grip on reality as a result.

By his own estimation, Bieber has only four friends he keeps in regular contact with. Perhaps it’s time one of them gave him that ‘slap’, because you can see the crash coming.

There’s a quote from the philosopher Joey Barton that states: “Justin Bieber is a smack addiction waiting to happen”. You better Belieb it.