Justin Bieber has long been the primary (and let’s face it, only) contender to inherit Justin Timberlake’s throne as the pop star who managed to escape his tween roots and become a critically acclaimed, chart-topping superstar.
Bieber finally made good on that potential with his most recent album Purpose, which has not only dominated the charts since its release, but which also made his former detractors admit “Yes, I am a Justin Bieber fan.”
So it was no surprise that Bieber finally paid tribute to his predecessor on the Louisville, Kentucky leg of his world tour. Armed solely with a mic and a guitar, Bieber performed a masterful rendition of “Cry Me a River,” the searing ballad that many consider to be Timberlake’s best song to date.
True Beliebers will tell you that this isn’t the first time that Bieber took on the iconic song. It’s not even the second. But with everything that’s happened in Bieber’s life since he first ascended the global ranks of pop stardom, it sounds like he’s finally developed the gravitas needed to pull off a song with this many feels. Watch below.