Photo Op: Billboard's Maggie Doherty, Elvis Duran, and Justin Bieber pose after the live segment aired on Z-100. (Photo: Shelby Case)
It was just another work day at WHTZ studios when Justin Bieber and his team rolled in to do a segment on Elvis Duran and the Morning Show for Z-100 at 7:30 a.m.
The phones rang constantly all morning; the receptionists and interns fielded thousands of phone calls from Belieber listeners. Only two lucky fans got to talk to Bieber on the phone during the segment, while hopefuls (mostly young girls) stood outside the building hoping for a glimpse of the teen pop sensation. Bieber came in on the two-year anniversary of his debut album release, "My World."
For the Elvis Duran team, it was all hands on deck to make sure the morning went smoothly. Even so, Duran told Billboard.biz that it's always easier when a superstar like Bieber comes in as opposed to an up-and-comer.
"All the prep is done when someone like Justin comes in," Duran said. "We've been doing this a long time. We already have a relationship established, so we can just goof around."
The Duran team had clips of past interviews with Bieber on standby. "As you can see, this can sometimes prove embarrassing," Duran said. When Bieber was 15, he said in an interview that if he had to choose a celebrity crush his own age, he would say Selena Gomez because she's "pretty."
"I was a Mac Daddy back then, wasn't i?" a blushing Bieber said in the interview.
Bieber's Christmas album "Under the Mistletoe," which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, was the focus of much of the segment, as well as his charity involvement with Pencils of Promise and the Make a Wish Foundation. Fans were treated to three tracks off the album during the interview.
Duran was mindful to ask Bieber's manager, Scooter Braun, what boundaries there might be before the interview.
"I said to Scooter, 'What's off-base?' and he said, 'With you, Elvis, nothing.'" Duran said. "We're about having fun."
Both Bieber and Braun denied the recent paternity allegations against the singer on air, and Bieber remained positive, adding that he wished it were a cooler story. ""If it was up to me, it would be a better story, like 'Justin Bieber went off to South America with this 27-year-old supermodel,' " he said.
Duran said his goal for the interview was to get listeners on Bieber's side. "We wanted to show that Bieber can hang, he can relax, and that he's part of the family. We let people get to know him who might not otherwise give him a chance."
Just Chillin': Justin Bieber hangs out in the WHTZ studio. (Photo: Shelby Case)