LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Canadian teen idol Justin Bieber was too busy arranging a Paris rendezvous with his mentor, R&B star Usher, to worry too much about leaving the Grammy Awards empty-handed on Sunday.
The 16-year-old pop phenomenon was considered a strong contender for the coveted best new artist category, and was also nominated for best pop vocal album.
But he was beaten up by a pair of glamorous women. Esperanza Spalding, a 26-year-old jazz virtuoso with a large Afro hairstyle, was the shock winner of best new artist.
And flamboyant pop singer Lady Gaga’s haul of three statuettes included best pop vocal album.
Bieber’s fans, accounting for a sizable percentage of excitable young girls around the planet, vented their anger on Twitter -- the social-networking Web site that helped turn him into a superstar in barely a year.
He came backstage to speak with reporters, an uncustomary move for losing acts, to indicate that he would survive the setback. In fact, he made a grand entrance by jumping on the back of Usher, who seemed more disappointed than Bieber.
A little later, Bieber let reporters overhear his scheduling conversation with Usher. Bieber is flying to London on Monday, and Usher to Paris. They made plans to connect on the continent.
Bieber was still buzzing after performing with both Usher and Jaden Smith, the son of actor Will Smith. Asked about the best new artist race going the wrong way, he said, “I‘m really happy for her, and hopefully she has a good year.”
In other tidbits, he denied a media report that he would move to Los Angeles and suggested he would relocate to Canada from his current professional base in Atlanta.
Spalding said Bieber and his fans need not be too upset. At any rate, the rivals have one thing in common, she noted. “He has great hair, and I have great hair.”
Equally famed for his soulful voice and the casual flick of his lustrous head of hair, Bieber was the fourth best-selling albums artist in the United States last year.
The latest in a long line of lovable balladeers to whip up a frenzy among teen and pre-teen girls, Bieber relied on Twitter and YouTube to spread the word after record labels failed to recognize his talent.
A little more than a year after playing to handfuls of bystanders at fairgrounds, he sold out New York major concert venue Madison Square Garden in about 20 minutes.
The weekend was not a total washout for him. His 3D concert documentary, “Justin Bieber: Never Say Never,” opened at No. 2 at the North American box office with better than expected weekend sales of $30.3 million.
Editing by Doina Chiacu