Drama Detectives: Has Shawn Mendes Overthrown Justin Bieber as the Prince of Pop?

Let's break down the numbers.

Canada has produced its fair share of tattoo-covered, chart-topping crooners. Opinions on which R&B/Rap/Pop artist represents our country best, however, vary from citizen-to-citizen: you might be a Belieber, on Team Drizzy, in the XO Crew or a member of the Mendes Army. We support all of our globally-recognized Canadian musicians, but we have strong opinions on who ranks at the top.

Rarely do we see two superstars acknowledge these rankings. When Shawn Mendes shared his recent Observer Magazine cover to Instagram—where he’s pictured with the cover line “Prince of pop”—Justin Bieber slid into the comments: “Hmm gonna have to break a few more records to dethrone my title there bud (Canadian voice). But if you want we can play hockey for it but I heard your a real bender on the ice we could just drop the buckets and tilt for it.”

Mendes chimed in with a very polite, Canadian response, “LOL any time any day you just let me know.” That’s all good and fun, but this charming little exchange does raise an interesting question: In the year 2019, is Shawn Mendes a more relevant pop musician than Bieber? In the four years since Bieber has released an album, Mendes has released two—both of which debuted at number one on the Billboard 200. Let’s take a deeper look at the numbers, and see who comes out on top:


Hit Singles

BIEBER: Bieber’s first single, “One Time,” was released nearly a decade ago, in July of 2009. The song reached number 12 on the Canadian Hot 100, and later peaked at number 17 on the Billboard Hot 100. Since then, Bieber has had 70 songs make it onto the Billboard Hot 100, 14 of which made it into the top 10.

The big number we’re looking at is number one hits. Bieber has five, three of which are from his most recent album, Purpose: “Sorry,” “Love Yourself” and “What do you Mean?” 

MENDES: Mendes’s first single, “Life of the Party,” was released in June of 2014. By mid-July, the song was charting at 24 on the Billboard Hot 100, making Mendes the youngest musician to debut in the top 25. (Bieber was 15 when “One Time” was released; Mendes was 14 at the time his first single dropped.)

Mendes has had three top 10 hits, and 11 songs on the US top 100. Unlike Bieber, he’s never had a single make it to number one.

WINNER: Bieber — for now. Bieber, who’s now 25, didn’t have a number one hit until he was 21-years-old. Mendes is only 20, which means he still has a year to catch up.



YouTube Views


  • Total channel views: 19,303,471,974
  • Total views including features: 26,805,980,916
  • Current daily average views: 3,095,742


  • Total channel views: 6,165,526,383
  • Total views including features: 6,236,592,514
  • Current daily average views: 2,970,642

WINNER: This one is interesting. Beiber’s “Sorry,” which is the singer’s number one video on the platform with over 3 million views to date, is now viewed an average of 501,911 times per day. Mendes’s top video, “Treat You Better,” has only has 1.7 million total views, but receives 662,646 daily average views. It seems that, in the long run, YouTube’s viewers are spending more time engaging and listening to Mendes’s music — even when you look at each singer’s overall daily average views. I’m giving this win to Mendes.


Follower Count

BIEBER: 108 million (Instagram) + 105 million (Twitter) + 77 million (Facebook) = 290 million followers.

MENDES: 42.8 million (Instagram) + 21.6 million (Twitter) + 7.5 million (Facebook) = 71.9 million followers.

WINNER: There isn’t any competition here. Bieber wins, hands down.


Awards, Honours & Records


  • Nominated for 437 awards, won 221.
  • Nominated for 10 Grammys, won one (Best Dance Recording for “Where Are Ü Now”).
  • Youngest solo artist to achieve five number one US albums.
  • Listed in Forbes magazine among the top ten most powerful global celebrities in 2011, 2012 and 2013.


  • Nominated for 165 awards, won 78.
  • Nominated for two Grammys, won zero.
  • First artist to achieve four number one singles on the Adult Pop Songs chart before the age of 20.
  • Listed among Time’s The 30 Most Influential Teens of 2016 and on Forbes’ 30 Under 30 2016. 

WINNER: Like Bieber said in his Instagram comment clpaback, Mendes needs to “break a few more records” to be put in the same league as his fellow Canuck.





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Officially a part of the legacy. Check out @calvinklein for more. #mycalvins. #newfaceofcalvinklein @mertalas

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@CalvinKlein #MyCalvins. Campaign coming this week.

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WINNER: Mendes’s #MyCalvin’s debut almost broke the internet, attracting over 8.6 million little hearts. When Bieber made his Calvin Klein debut back in 2015, he didn’t even break two million likes.


The Verdict…

Bieber had a four year head start, which in popstar years, is a fairly long time. He’s the Prince of pop for now, but Mendes is quickly catching up: as Bieber takes a much deserved break from music, Mendes’s growing momentum could allow him to close the gap. It’s hard to say what could happen.

I think there’s really only one way to settle it: give the two men hockey sticks, declare a national holiday and let Hailey Baldwin live stream the game from the sidelines. Canadians have a hard time rallying around a single musician, but it’s easy for us to gather for a game at the ice.