Justin Bieber attacked by a strange man? Justin Bieber knocked to the ground? Justin Bieber mobbed by fans gone wild outside Macy's Herald Square? The story people heard all depended on what time they checked in on the drama that unfolded Thursday around the pop star's appearance at Macy's Herald Square in New York.
Long story short: The Biebs is just fine, the strange man was actually a plainclothes cop, and police said the pop star wasn't touched, only his bodyguard. By the way, the NYPD said later, the misunderstanding was the bodyguard's fault -- which is why members of Bieber's security team were cited for disorderly conduct.
Now back to the real stars of the Macy's Herald Square appearance: the girls. The store was overrun with them in a frenzied, tweenage mess of pink and purple, a tangle of braces, braids and bubble gum, drawn by their idol's efforts to launch a new fragrance, Someday. (All proceeds from the perfume, launched Monday by Give Back Brands, will be donated to charity.)
Screaming in unison with faces flushed and arms thrust in the air, the deafening cacophony of 300-some girls' high-pitched wailing echoed throughout the store. Even the security guards were wincing and covering their ears.
At 2:30 in the afternoon, it had already been an exhausting day for the pop star. There was an early morning appearance live on the "Today" show, then "The View" and a taping of "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon" -- all after having appeared on "Late Show With David Letterman" on Wednesday.
Bieber worked his way down the VIP purple carpet inside Macy's, greeting fans and a throng of media near a nearly 2-foot high Someday bottle topped with a pink and crimson flower. Perfume counters flanked the stage and walls of TV screens repeatedly played Bieber's sexy perfume commercial.
The chanting swelled: "Justin, Justin, Justin." And then: "Hey everybody..." Bieber was onstage -- cue an eruption of paparazzi-like flashbulbs and more shrieking from fans. Then: "OK, love you, peace," he said before sauntering offstage.
Who knew that was the tame part? The event was, understandably, not without a little drama. For the next several hours, Bieber would do a feverish junket of TV interviews upstairs on the 8th floor, where he also personally greeted and took pictures with the first 350 fans to buy his VIP gift set. One girl passed out, another child got lost, and the tears -- of both frustration and ecstasy -- flowed. Some mothers beamed as their offspring posed with arms around the man of the moment; other moms picked fights with Macy's staff, outraged that their kids hadn't gotten $135 worth of face time with the teen idol.
And of course there was the drama outside, when Bieber was greeting voracious fans outside the store. After the barrier-jumping brouhaha went down, he re-entered the store cradling his elbow as security hovered protectively around him.
But none of this dampened his fans' spirits. "It feels like he's a part of us," shrieked 14-year-old Melissa Lamorena. "He, like, made [the perfume]. And if we're wearing it, we're close to him!"
And doesn't Bieber know it: "#ilovemyfans and for those i didnt get to see today....thank u for your love and support. #wegohard #teambieber #someday," he tweeted late Thursday.
-- Deborah Vankin reporting from New York, and Christie D'Zurilla
Photos: Fans, top and bottom, hit Macy's Herald Square in Manhattan to see Justin Bieber, left, at the launch of his fragrance, Someday. Credits: (Top and left) Jennifer Altman / For The Times. (Bottom) Deborah Vankin / Los Angeles Times