LOS ANGELES (AP) - Visitors to Staples Center and the adjacent L.A. Live plaza were treated to an unannounced free concert Friday when Justin Bieber took to an outdoor stage to rehearse his performance for Sunday's MTV Video Music Awards.
A crowd slowly gathered as the teen sensation and his team of dancers and musicians rehearsed for about two hours Friday afternoon. MTV representatives said they hadn't announced Bieber's outdoor rehearsal to avoid drawing the swarms of fans who have crowded the 16-year-old pop star's public appearances around the world.
Wearing a red varsity jacket with a sparkly "B" on the front, Bieber practiced his arrival to the outdoor stage in a cherry red 1957 Chevy Bel Air, chased by a pack of (precast) girls. Then, backed by a team of dancers and musicians, Bieber moonwalked and made a heart shape with his hands as he belted out his hit "Baby."
Passers-by wielded camera phones from behind barricades, and teenage admirers erupted in shrill screams anytime Bieber was within earshot. He smiled at them and flashed a peace sign with his fingers.
Though barely bigger than the troupe of pint-sized hip-hop dancers (age 9 through 13) who joined him on stage, Bieber acted like a seasoned pro.
"What's wrong with my drums? Like, I don't hear anything and it should be loud," he said after practicing a drum solo. "This has to be, like, an epic moment. It's ending the song."
Later, he complained that "the vocals are too loud in my ear and I can't hear the groove."
And when his wireless microphone pack fell to the floor, he casually gathered up the batteries and put the pack back in his pocket without missing a single lyric.
Bieber is set to perform on the same stage Sunday just outside the Nokia Theatre, where the Video Music Awards will be presented. Other performers include Drake, Kanye West and Eminem.
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