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The Evolution of Justin Bieber

From ‘One Time’ to ‘Boyfriend,’ YouTube phenom to pop superstar

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Kristian Dowling/Getty Images

In the three years since his Beatles-esque hairdo first graced our computer screens, Justin Bieber has done quite a bit of growing up. The progression is more apparent than ever when you consider the whimsical puppy-love plotlines of his early videos ("One Less Lonely Girl" centers around a charming treasure hunt with a smiling Bieber at the end) alongside the more mature and sexual vibes of his most recent one ("Boyfriend" puts on display the wooing of his oldest woman to date). In this video gallery, watch J.B. transform from an excitable, innocent kid into a bonafide adult with plenty of swag.

By Alexandra Jaffe and Joe Pinsker

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‘Somebody to Love (Remix)’ (2010)

Less plot-driven than his previous videos, "Somebody to Love" focuses on dramatic lighting and impressive choreography, showing off some of Bieber's most nimble dance moves yet.

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‘Love Me’ (2010)

The video for "Love Me" splices clips from Bieber on tour with footage of him taking pictures with fans, signing autographs, and horsing around during rehearsal. It's a victory lap of sorts, drawing attention to the fanbase that he's cultivated.

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‘U Smile’ (2010)

After appeasing a gaggle of Beliebers with photos and autographs at the beginning of "U Smile," J.B. singles out one girl, asking her to join him at the theater later that night. For their romantic rendezvous, he shows the lucky lady around an empty concert venue. On a mildly unrelated note, "U Smile" is also the song that spawned the hit remix "Justin Bieber 800% Slower," which actually doubles quite nicely as ambient electronic music.

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‘Pray’ (2010)

Bieber takes a break from dancing and romancing in this moving clip for "Pray," which puts a focus on social plights around the world. The video includes footage of a post-earthquake Haiti, a post-Katrina New Orleans, American military soldiers and Bieber himself visiting sick children.

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‘Next to You’ (2011)

With a premise that weds girl-chasing with exploding cars, collapsing buildings, and thunderstorms, the video for Chris Brown's "Next to You" is nothing if not bizarre. But all that's irrelevant, as it marked Bieber's first appearance after a six-month video drought, and features such developments as his first onscreen kiss and a more mature hairdo.

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‘Santa Claus Is Coming to Town’ (2011)

J.B. made a number of videos tied to his holiday album (which includes guest spots from Boyz II Men and Mariah Carey), but the steampunk-inspired video for "Santa Claus" is easily the best. It takes place in Santa's workshop, where all the toys come to life with killer dance moves, and offers a rare glimpse at Bieber's drum skills to boot. Despite the childish setting and the quick cuts to the animated film Arthur Christmas, Bieber exudes maturity with a noticeably lower voice and spiked new haircut.

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‘That Should Be Me’ (2011)

One of Bieber's rare videos lacking a romantic storyline, this takes a behind-the-scenes perspective of him performing with country group Rascal Flatts, who collaborated on the song. Leaving behind the glitz and big stunts, Bieber sticks to refreshing simplicity with this one. 

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‘Boyfriend’ (2012)

The message that "Boyfriend:" sends is simple: Bieber's grown up. He's traded in a mopheaded haircut for hair gel, and pre-teen crushes for full-on adult romance. As he romps around a parking lot and caresses his girl, he showcases swagger – sorry, swaggy – and confidence that's a far cry from his boyish house parties and bowling jamborees of yore.