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How Justin Bieber made a comeback

He used to be the pop-star everyone loved to hate. But now, he’s won back his fans’ hearts. Just how did he do it? Here we explain the method behind his madness.

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly when Justin Bieber went from being the sweet pop-star with the perfect hair to the Most Hated Celebrity. Maybe it was back in 2011 when he started flipping off photographers and attacking the paparazzi. Maybe it was in 2013 when he was caught on camera peeing in a mop bucket at a restaurant, or later that year when he was caught with a prostitute in Brazil. Whatever the tipping point was, he became a joke, bottom line.

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But this summer, something changed. He has a new song with Skrillex and Diplo taking over the charts (“Where are U Now”), is headlining the Billboard Hot 100 Music Festival and, most importantly, people have stopped talking smack about him. Well, mostly. Here’s how he managed to get back on top:

Bieber has been a regular on “The Ellen Degeneres Show” since his “Baby” days. In February, he went on the show and pubically apologized for his outrageous behavior. Then, he went back on the show in March. Madonna was also a guest that day and the two played a game of “Never Have I Ever.” Bieber looked tame next to Madonna, who came across as the wild one. It was the perfect move for both of them.

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Two months later, Bieber appeared in “The Late Late Show” host James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke. The adorable video of the two goofing off and singing Luke Bryan together dominated social media the next day. Bieber even brought back an old trick from his early days: solving a Rubix Cube in under a minute.

The Justin Bieber Apology Tour continued when later that month, Bieber appeared on the cover of Seventeen magazine, something he might have said no to last year at the peak of his “bad boy” phase. He apologized to fans saying, “I’m sorry if I’ve let you down” and revealed that he was disappointed in himself for ways he acted in the past.

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In June, Bieber released his current single, “Where Are U Now,” featuring Skrillex and Diplo. And while Deadmau5 tweeted his hatred for the song, plenty of people love it and it’s been holding steady in the Billboard’s Top 10 since its release.

Related: The whole Skrillex and Deadmau5 feud explained

Next week, he’ll be releasing his next single, “What Do You Mean?” and he’s gotten a slew of celebrities to build up the hype, including Mariah Carey, Ashton Kutcher, Ellen Degeneres (of course), Little Mix, Kylie Jenner, Ashley Benson and Ariana Grande. And that’s just a few. It’s a similar move to what Taylor Swift did with the “Bad Blood” video and it’s working. Bieber now has millions counting down the days to his next song release when just earlier this year, no one would have cared. Evil genius? Brilliant publicist? Genuine turnaround? You be the judge.

Follow Emily on Twitter: @EmLaurence

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