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The reports on Justin Bieber, and there were plenty of them, said that he was simply hanging with the wrong crowd. That explained the rumors of drug use and parties, the run-ins with the law and the rather reckless behavior.

In an interview that aired Monday on “Ralphie Tonight,” Bieber admitted as much.

“I just had pretty bad people around that were just taking advantage of my generosity and taking advantage of my sweet soul,” a low-key and relaxed Bieber spilled to me while donning a black sweatshirt, hood pulled up above a black baseball cap. “I just thought that that’s how it was supposed to be. They were saying the right things.”

But Bieber, in perhaps one of the many ways that he has changed, stops short of placing all of the blame on others.

“I was young and naïve,” he admitted before adding, “and just trusting people and got my heart broken.

“So then I was just like, f— everybody.”

But now the 21 year-old is surrounded by a group of people he feels is looking out for his best interests. I ask if those people, such as his mother Pattie Mallette and manager Scooter Braun, were always there but simply not paid any attention to until now.

“For sure, but it has to be on your time,” he replied. “They were poking me and poking me saying, ‘Justin! Justin!’ (But) until I really wanted to listen, it wasn’t going to happen.”

But this journey, which he explains involves no longer internalizing what people say but rather reflecting it back out in to the world as a positive light (his words, not mine), is what Bieber attributes in part to scoring his first chart-topper on the Billboard Hot 100. “What Do You Mean?” debuted at number one, with 337,000 downloads sold in its opening week.

“I want it to be all about the music but you want to see people win when they’re genuine and authentic,” he stated. “I was in a place before where I was just trying to figure it out.”

It seems that at least to this point, Bieber has done that, although even he warns that inevitably he will “fall again.” But right now his focus is on a new album, due out this November, which he says is “40% done.”

“Like the album is pretty much complete,” he elaborated. “I just have so much touching up to do, but it’s going good.”

By “touching up,” Bieber means that he’ll go back to some songs after he sits with them for a few weeks and re-cut lines and/or add background vocals. The Canadian-born singer said there will be features on the LP, but would not reveal who. However when I asked him what artists are influencing him positively, one came to mind.

“I really like Ed Sheeran,” he responded. “I think he’s a really good dude too.”

And perhaps that is just an example of Bieber “reflecting” his light of positivity towards others. Ultimately though, he will be judged by his actions and not words. Yet even his harshest detractors might admit that the pop star sounds like someone who has experienced a life-transforming moment or two.

77 WABC Host/Reporter Rita Cosby called “Ralphie Tonight” for a special edition of “Weekend Scoop.” Cosby recalled covering the September 11 tragedy for Fox News and breaking the story that Osama bin Laden was the mastermind behind the attacks.

To donate to The Wounded Warriors Project, visit: woundedwarriorproject.org.

BONUS: Here’s my first ever national cable news report. This is from the fall of 2006. I was a senior at Syracuse University and Rita was an anchor at MSNBC. Small world, eh?

He was tired and calling in from another time zone, but given the past week and a half he had, you would never know Omi was a little worse for the wear.

Let’s rewind to August 29. There’s Taylor Swift, performing in front of a sold out crowd in San Diego’s Petco Park. In true T-Swift form, she brings out a surprise guest in the form of the Jamaican-born artist. They perform the summer-smash “Cheerleader” together, and the place goes nuts.

“I was honored that she would ask me to come through and do that,” Omi, nee Omar Pasley, told me of the chance to share a stage with the world’s biggest pop star. “She’s such a good person. She’s a real person, and I think that’s most important.”

Next up: the following evening. Omi found himself among music’s biggest stars at the MTV Video Music Awards in Los Angeles.

“Being in the same environment with all of the different stars and people in the business who have really paved the way and who have really left a mark… just sitting in the same room with them is such an honor,” he remarked of his first VMA experience. “I’m just humbled by the experience man.”

And Omi was eventually bestowed quite the honor, but not before turning 29 on September 3.

“I didn’t do much,” the singer replied when I asked how he celebrated the birthday. “I’m not really much of a party guy.”

Oh, the irony – just five days later Billboard named “Cheerleader” the “Song of the Summer,” as it topped it’s chart of singles monitored from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

“There’s so much to remember, but most of all, what position the fans and my team put me in,” he said of the memories he’ll carry from the summer of 2015. “That’s the greatest thing I’m going to remember – just being in this position but because of the people who put me there.”

Omi’s follow-up to his worldwide platinum hit is another fun number called, “Hula Hoop.” It serves as the second single from his debut album, Me 4 U, due out October 16.

Our buddy Jordi Lippe, Contributing Editor at HelloMagazine.com, checked in for “Weekend Scoop.” She had stories on Karlie Kloss and Princess Marie-Olympia of Greece attending classes at NYU, having dinner with the lovely Emily Ratajkowski and how friends marked Beyonce’s 34th birthday.

Photo: instagram.com/karliekloss

Photo: instagram.com/karliekloss


An early call time in Times Square is a little easier to wake up for when you’re interviewing Miss America and contestants vying for the 2016 crown. “Ralphie Tonight” spoke with Kira Kazantsev and a few women that hope to follow in her footsteps after they appeared on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
missamerica
The 2016 Miss America Competition airs on Sunday September 13 at 9/8c on ABC from Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall.

In this week’s edition of “Trend Hungry Tuesday” – Resident Fashionista Jessie Holeva picked out a prevalent trend from the MTV VMAs red carpet: showing some leg.


Visit Trend Hungry to find the latest fashion 411 on a skinny budget, and catch Jessie every Tuesday evening on “Ralphie Tonight.”

Photo: instagram.com/gigihadid

Photo: instagram.com/gigihadid

“Weekend Scoop” welcomed back People Staff Writer Patrick Gomez this week. He talked about the magazine’s story on George and Amal Clooney celebrating their one-year wedding anniversary.

Gomez also talked about the mag’s coverage of Hurricane Katrina – 10 years after it ravaged the Gulf Coast.

Photo: twitter.com/whatupitsusan

Photo: twitter.com/whatupitsusan

Last Friday I spoke on the phone with Ryan Sheckler. The professional skateboarder and former MTV reality star was in New York City for a Nike SB Street League Skateboarding competition at Newark’s Prudential Center. Towards the end of the interview, I asked Sheckler about the photo Justin Bieber tweeted of the skater to promote Bieber’s new single, “What Do You Mean?” Sheckler noted that he counts the pop star as a good friend of his.

“We did like two music videos yesterday,” he revealed. “We skated a mini-ramp for… damn, it was probably like two hours and we just got to rap out by ourselves.

“He’s a really cool kid. A lot of people have their opinions about the dude but he’s a solid guy and yeah, he’s one of my homies.”

Both of the clips they filmed last week have seen the light of day: Sheckler is featured prominently in the new lyric video for Bieber’s new single, which hit iTunes Friday. The music video also contains a Sheckler cameo.

“What Do You Mean?” does not pick up where singles like “As Long As You Love Me” and “Beauty And A Beat” left off. The track does have a flavor of electronic dance music in the synths but with a ticking-clock and piano, the vibe is much more “on the beach” than South Beach. While it’s not a complete departure, the 21 year-old does deserve some credit for taking a chance with a different vibe as opposed to simply hiring a well-known producer and song-writer to help craft the perfect pop hit.

Bieber performed his new single Sunday at the MTV Video Music Awards.

In this week’s edition of “Trend Hungry Tuesday” – Resident Fashionista Jessie Holeva highlighted a beauty trend called strobing.


Visit Trend Hungry to find the latest fashion 411 on a skinny budget, and catch Jessie every Tuesday evening on “Ralphie Tonight.”

Photo: instagram.com/beyonce

Photo: instagram.com/beyonce

The cross-section between sports and music has never been as cool as it is now: Jay Z represents athletes, the Toronto Raptors signed Drake to consult on marketing matters and Carrie Underwood is back as the face and voice of NBC’s “Sunday Night Football.”

But the relationship between artists and athletes extends past the major American sports; action sports like skateboarding also enjoy a solid rapport with some of the biggest names in music.

Case-in-point: professional skateboarder Ryan Sheckler. The 25 year-old grew up in the spotlight alongside music artists on MTV with his reality show “Life Of Ryan.” In that sense, he can relate to musicians like Justin Bieber a little better than your average athlete. The two spent last Thursday skateboarding and filming two music videos. Earlier this month, Bieber tweeted a photo of Sheckler to promote his new single, “What Do You Mean?”
sheck1
“He’s a really cool kid,” Sheckler said of Bieber. “A lot of people have their opinions about the dude but he’s a solid guy and yeah, he’s one of my homies.”

Another hitmaker with an appreciation for ollies and flip tricks is Lil Wayne. The hip hop artist’s passion for the sport led him to create his own fashion line of apparel, Trukfit.

“Wayne and Bieber, they just have the heart for it. They’re not doing it as some gimmick,” Sheckler explained; he called in to “Ralphie Tonight” to promote last weekend’s Nike SB Street League Skateboarding stop in Newark, N.J. “They actually really love skateboarding and they’re getting a lot better, day-by-day. Practice makes perfect.”

It certainly is not uncommon to see Wayne out-and-about with his board; the rapper was even spotted a few years ago skating around the parking lot of The Woodlands ahead of his concert at Montage Mountain.

“I think they realize that skateboarding is fun,” Sheckler continued. “To learn at your own pace, to do what you want to do… you can just be an individual and it’s freedom.

“I back Wayne and Bieber skating so hard man. It’s cool.”

The artists’ affection for the sport may also be a reflection of the times; as every league competes for television money and ad revenue online, skateboarding has seen an expansion past ESPN’s “X-Games.” Fox Sports 1 broadcasted Sunday’s event live from the Prudential Center.

These and possibly other reasons lead Sheckler to believe that skateboarding’s future is bright.

“I see skateboarding eventually in the Olympics,” he predicted. “People are actually realizing that skateboarding is a sport.”

And for pros like Sheckler, that might end up being the coolest cross-section of all.