A look at Katy Perry’s ‘Part of Me’ and other tween music biopics

Katy Perry

This weekend, pop queen Katy Perry gets the documentary treatment in “Katy Perry: Part of Me.” Although more suggestive than her Disney Channel counterparts (The Jonas Brothers, Miley Cyrus/Hannah Montana) or Justin Bieber, Perry joins the ranks of musicians popular with tweens and teens to be sanctified on the silver screen through a biopic/documentary. Earplugs in place, we take a look at these behind-the-scenes tales of a pop sensation’s life on the road. 

“Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour” (2008)

Most ridiculous part:
A father with two daughters wears a platinum Hannah Montana wig and says, “I didn’t expect so much screaming.” A 14-second screaming montage follows.

Part where it’s easier to get into the movie:
The dance routines of renowned choreographer Kenny Ortega are juxtaposed between practices and live renditions as Ortega works behind-the-scenes in the studio with Cyrus and the band to nail the theatrics of the concert.

Song that’s just as good or better than the original:
Miley Cyrus (as herself) performs “The Best of Both Worlds”— the theme to her TV show — along with her alter ego, Hannah Montana, who is digitally rendered on a large screen. It’s surprisingly moving.

Part where the artist seems most human:
When Miley Cyrus is dropped during a stunt at one of the shows and voices her concern later in practice, the viewer realizes that at the start of her “Best of Both Worlds Tour,” Cyrus was only a 14-year-old girl on a 54-city tour of the United States.

Notable quotable:
“What Miley writes about is what is real to her, and what she lives. And when you hear the things that she writes, you hear the honesty of Miley’s heart.”— Billy Ray Cyrus

“Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience” (2009)

Most ridiculous part:
In the opening scene, the band’s van gets stuck in traffic on the way to the “Today” show in New York City. Within seconds, the JoBros are mobbed by a mass of screaming teenage girls.

Part where it’s easier to get into the movie:
Taylor Swift joins the Brothers on stage at Madison Square Garden to play some acoustic pop with a country twang in “Should’ve Said No.”

Song that’s just as good or better than the original:
During “That’s Just the Way We Roll,” the first live song in the film, the band is aided by an orchestra and some intense pyrotechnics in front of a glowstick-toting, sold-out crowd.

Part where the artist seems most human:
After bodyguard “Big Rob” Feggans wakes up the brothers at 4:30 a.m., they eat breakfast together in their hotel room. Joe Jonas starts to shake the table while yelling, “Earthquake!” It initiates some good-natured ribbing among the three brothers.

Notable quotable:
“There are a lot of fans down there, in the back.”— Joe Jonas, looking down with amazement at the crowd in Central Park for the Jonas Brothers’ “Good Morning America” show.

“Justin Bieber: Never Say Never” (2011)

Most ridiculous part:
Bieber grew up playing drums, and in a home video (in which he wears his trademark backwards fitted hat), he throws down a sick beat.

Part where it’s easier to get into the movie:
As Etta James’ “At Last” plays in the background, Justin Bieber demonstrates his signature hair flip in slow motion. Snoop Dogg recommends that Bieber get pigtails like him to win over all the ladies.

Song that’s just as good or better than the original:
When he performs “One Less Lonely Girl,” Bieber’s staff brings one girl from the crowd onstage. Once in front of the crowd, the Biebs serenades the girl while gently caressing her. At the end, he gives her a bouquet of flowers. Aww.

Part where the artist seems most human:
Home footage seems to serve as the harbinger of Bieber’s musical career — as a toddler he effortlessly lays down a beat on a conga drum and strums a guitar that is much too large for his tiny frame. 

Notable quotable:
“Every label said, ‘There’s no platform for him. You need Nickelodeon or Disney. You need the machine.’” — Scooter Braun, Justin Bieber’s manager

“Katy Perry: Part  of Me” (2012)

Most ridiculous part:
Katy Perry’s older sister makes an appearance as Perry’s nerdy alter ego, “Kathy Beth Terry”—complete with headgear and braces — from the video for “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.).”

Part where it’s easier to get into the movie:
One of the funnier scenes in the movie shows Katy Perry visiting her elderly grandmother, Ann Hudson, in Las Vegas. Hudson, who refers to Perry in her younger days as a “show-off,” is loath to say anything positive about Perry as a musician.

Song that’s just as good or better than the original:
Katy Perry runs through numerous costume changes throughout a performance of “Hot N Cold.” This occurs on a colorful, Candy Land-esque stage that might give you a cavity just by looking at it.

Part where the artist seems most human:
Perry struggles with the decision to perform or cancel a gig in front of her largest crowd in Brazil while in the midst of a breakdown due to her divorce.

Notable quotable:
“I feel a real connection to fairy tales, and I think, in some ways, I live in a fairy tale.”— Katy Perry



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