Justin Beiber may very well be the next David Cassidy. The 15-year-old Canadian singing sensation was to sign books at Roosevelt Field Mall November 21st, but had to cancel due to an out of control crowd with thousands of tweens cramming for a spot to stand. I saw on the news that parents were smushed up against walls and kids were separated from their Mom's, standing outside alone with other lost children. Pure Pop Idol Chaos -- just the way tweens have always liked it.
And although Justin and David both share the Tiger Beat must haves of great hair, charming smiles and smooth voices, David worked like a dog on television for years, whereas Justin became an overnight sensation thanks to posting videos on YouTube. Fred, another YouTube tween favorite now has a manager and a t-shirt line at Justice Stores, the 800 plus unit tween retail chain. I even suckered down and bought a $20 Fred t-shirt for my 10 year old.
This is the New World Order in Tweendom. This 8-14 year old crowd has a lot of power. But will Justin have the longevity that David has? The more than ever fickle and savvy tween girl is used to clicking her way around from her email account to her Facebook posts, and the news feeds travel at warp speeds. The days are over for note passing. These girls text what's in and what's out so fast you may have missed it completely. But some tween trends have staying power.
Just look at the success of Miley Cyrus: According to Forbes, in 2009, she is the fifth most googled person, net worth over 25 million, and has become a global brand. You can find her image on everything from pleather jackets to granola bars. Gone are the days of just one doll in the likeness of the person. Now you can buy clothes they design, go to movies they are in, attend concerts they perform and sleep on sheets with their likeness. In addition, you can go to chat sites, fan sites, video sites and learn and see more about them than ever before.
This helps maintain and expand their Empire.
But what happens when they try to grow up?
Miley's cover for Vanity Fair in nothing but a towel was a disaster. The pole dancing at the Teen Choice Awards in August was all anyone talked about for months. We don't want our idols to change or grow up, and if they become sexual, forget about it. We demand the safety for our tweens to explore and feel comfortable in.
Why do you think the Twilight trilogy has become such a mega success? It is all about romantic fantasy. As the girls bridge from childhood into adulthood, they are role-playing in the safe environment where nothing is consummated. The cast is innocent. Nothing really happens between the main characters except for longing stares at each other. We adults can breathe a sigh of relief as our daughters hang Edward and Jacob posters on their walls.
The boys landed on the November cover of Tiger Beat, just like fellow alums David and Justin. Tiger Beat, a tween celebrity and trendy magazine has been around for 5 decades. Not much has changed as a prerequisite to score the cover since the day it started in 1965. You have to be relevant in this tricky market. So why does this mag have staying power in a shrinking and oversaturated market of celebrity commentary?
Because it has always perpetuated who's hot, and stays fresh by reporting on all of the latest gossip, red carpet madness and fashion must haves of our current favorite Icons. After all these years, posters are still gently pried from their staples and put up on closet doors with great care. And as approachable as they make the "Idols" out to be, they are just a little bit unattainable, which maintains the comfort factor that these girls need in order to confidently navigate their ever-changing world.