The tabloids gave the celebrity couple a nickname: Jelena.
The on-again, off-again Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez will be forever linked. Even if the romance is over, they still have so much in common: Both started releasing albums in 2009 as teenagers, tried to make the transition to adult pop in 2015 and boast massive social-media followings. And each has undertaken a high-profile tour this year.
Since Gomez, 23, who performed Tuesday at Xcel Energy Center, appeared in the Twin Cities a mere nine days after Bieber, 22, hit Target Center, it seems fitting to compare their performances.
Singing. Let's be honest: Both did a fair amount of lip-syncing. Biebs showed a raspy soulfulness on his ballads and Selz could not disguise how light her voice is. Advantage: Biebs.
Dancing and choreography. His dancers were athletic, hers more artful. He tried to dance, though his robotic moves did not look graceful next to his highly skilled hoofers. She just strutted to the beat. That's not dancing. Advantage: Biebs.
Production. Her stage was smallish, with three mini-runways and a small video screen. She used balloons, scaffolding, a chariot and, of course, confetti. Biebs was superambitious, per usual, bringing a multitiered stage, a glass cube, hydraulic platforms, many video screens and a big-as-a-backyard trampoline on which he turned backward somersaults. Advantage: Biebs.
Stage presence. Both spouted dialogue from a script, but Gomez did so with more conviction. Bieber never smiled and acted like he'd rather be elsewhere. Gomez smiled, charmed and proved that she can sell a song. Advantage: Selz
Outfits. Biebs stayed true to his street self with designer denim, tennis shoes and vintage T-shirts — and a bandana as headband. He actually went through a series of similar outfits. Fashionista Gomez featured latex, lamé, sequins, denim, rhinestones, studs, stilettos, platforms and boots decorated with tiny mirrors. Advantage: Selz.
Hair. Justin is rocking a close-cropped, bleached blond do. Selena has long luxurious locks — and Beyoncé-like electric fans to keep them flowing. Gomez has an endorsement deal with Pantene. Biebs does not. Advantage: Selz.
Material. Gomez specializes in anonymous pop. It's her undistinctive voice as much as the generic material. Bieber can boast a few keepers — the bubble gum classic "Baby" and the recent ballads "Sorry" and "Love Yourself." Advantage: Biebs.
Pacing. Both stars exited the stage to change outfits frequently, leaving the band to play music. At least Gomez offered some gigantic images of herself on video screens for interlude eye-candy. However, given how young her audience is, hitting the stage at 9:30 is too late. Go with one opening act or start at 7 p.m. Advantage: Biebs.
Audience. Justin's crowd has grown up with him. There were lots of 20-somethings and oodles of teens among the 15,000 fans at his concert. Selena, who starred on "Barney" and "Wizards of Waverly," still draws a Disneyesque crowd, i.e. pre-tweens, tweens and teens — and their moms. The X was bursting with youthful energy even though the attendance was only about 9,000. Advantage: No one.
Opening acts. Before he hit the stage, Bieber served up Post Malone, a pathetic hip-hop poser. Gomez invited DNCE, which rocked the house because frontman Joe Jonas — yes, from the Jonas Brothers — knows how to command a stage. Good beats, good fun and who can resist DNCE's summer smash "Cake by the Ocean"? Advantage: Selz.
Conclusion. Biebs' show reflected more ambition, a bigger budget and superior material. But Selz connected with her crowd even though everything was on a smaller scale with less pizzazz. In the end, neither show was particularly triumphant. Advantage: Jelena.