One can only imagine this is what the early days of Bieber must have looked like.
A line of girls with homemade fan T-shirts, signs and parental chaperones in tow curving around the venue, faint screams heard across the parking lot from the meet-and-greet backstage, and enough saccharine-sweet pop music to give any adult a cavity, all happening in that special way known to teenage pop culture revolutions: outside the notice of the media.
But it's not Beiber this time, instead it's the next generation of social media stars who are taking their turn in the limelight: Johnny Orlando and Jacob Sartorius.
The show in question, the November 3 date in Sartorius' Fall tour titled "All My Friends," hosted a bevy of other social performers. Many, such as Baby Ariel, with a substantial following on the hot new app of choice for youngsters, Musical.ly. Yet the stand out performances of Orlando and Sartorius gave the event an expectant atmosphere, setting it apart from many other tours of similar nature.
First there's Canadian social media icon Johnny Orlando.
If you're over 14 years old you might show your age by not recognizing the name, but don't be fooled, Orlando is well known to many teenagers. He recently described the experience of starting at a new school in California as, "different," in an interview for USC's "The Scoop." When pressed, he admitted that on his first day at the new school students crowded him during class breaks wanting a picture or some type of interaction with the Johnny Orlando they knew from the Internet.
This presence transfers to the stage, where Orlando seems most at home. Though just 13 years old, he works the crowd like a seasoned veteran, knowing just when to bend down and touch the hands of the teenage girls vying for a piece of him.
His musical act, which includes covers of popular Shawn Mendes and Justin Bieber songs, both Internet sensations who crossed over into the mainstream music industry — if that's any indication of Orlando's intent, is at the same time innocently teenage and shockingly professional. His sweet vocals underscore his position as a reachable 13-year-old, not the adult sensation an age group above middle-schoolers that both Mendes and Bieber represent.
But then there's his dance routine, which has been well rehearsed and includes back-up dancers. It's a clear indication that this kid has put in the work to create a show within his means that will entertain audiences. These are the sensibilities that indicate a young superstar on the rise.
The fact that the audience knew the words to his original song, "Let Go," doesn't hurt this guess either.
Not to be over-shadowed is headliner Jacob Sartorius. While Orlando may have been working on his craft for a few years now, Sartorius shot to online fame relatively recently, largely helped by the popularity of Musical.ly.
His style is less pure pop and includes more of an effort to appeal to the hip hop and rap side of Top 40. Though clearly influenced by Bieber as well, Sartorius swaggered confidently onto the stage wearing a pair of aviators, almost showing a hint of Kanye in his burgeoning aesthetic.
The crowd was clearly Sartorius', as by the time he took the stage, the sound level in the venue was at peak teenage-girl shriek. Several homemade signs made their appearances and girls were hoisted onto their dad's shoulders to get a better peek at their idol.
It seems as if the kids have knighted their new princes.
Reach Staff Reporter Jolene Latimer here.