We landed at the Aeropuerto de Santiago at 8 a.m., and already they were there: the squealing throngs of Justin Bieber‘s Chilean army. They were packed in tight against guardrails in the arrivals lounge, holding signs, waiting with bated breath for just a glimpse of JB, even though he had wrapped a pair of shows in Argentina less than 12 hours ago (and, as he would later reveal on Twitter, he wouldn’t arrive in Chile until six hours later).
Still, that didn’t stop them from eyeing each and every arriving passenger, searching them up and down for some semblance of Bieber. They were egged on by a local newscast playing on a TV in the corner, which showed JB no less than four times in 30 minutes and, in one particularly cruel move, actually deployed a Bieber look-alike on the streets of Santiago to further froth the frenzy. It was, in no uncertain terms, rather amazing to watch … the mania, the devotion, the excitement in the air. Make no mistake about it, Chile is ready for Justin Bieber.
Of course, unbeknownst to most, the Beebs’ crew was already on the ground, beginning the monumental task of building his stage over at the Estadio Nacional. An army of hundreds, each in green hard hats, lifted scaffolding into place and assembled a grid of plastic over the bright-green football pitch. Bieber’s tour manager watched intently, giving directions and talking loudly on his cell phone. Backstage, the bowels of the ancient stadium had been given a makeover, with white fabric draped over the concrete tunnels. Bieber’s dressing room (and his manager’s, and his dancers’, and his parents’) sat empty, covered in the same flowing fabrics, purple flowers dangling artfully in glass vaises. The calm before the storm.
Of course, outside the Estadio, that storm was already beginning to pick up steam. There were no less than 2 dozen Bieber fanatics camped by the entrance gate (and we mean, like, literally camped, with tents and everything), dutifully drawing handmade signs, singing Bieber songs, counting down the hours until Saturday night’s show.
Our primary reason for coming to Chile was to interview Bieber (and to premiere his brand-new “Mistletoe” video), and, make no mistake about it, that will happen (our crew spent most of the day scouting locations inside the Estadio). But within the past eight hours, we’ve also discovered a secondary reason for being here: namely, to witness firsthand just how massive Bieber’s worldwide following truly is, and, in a way, to rediscover what it means to truly be a fan … manically, devotedly so. Shoot, at this point, we can’t wait for Saturday either.
Catch the premiere of Justin Bieber’s “Mistletoe” video Tuesday, October 18, at 7:54 p.m. on MTV, with a full interview to follow on MTV.com. Fans can submit their text and video questions for Bieber via Twitter, using the hashtag #AskBieber.Read full story