By Hillary Busis
Updated May 20, 2013 at 01:46 PM EDT

Can you belieb it?

One week after Justin Bieber’s animated alter ego caused a stir in Springfield, his slightly less animated real-world self caused a similar ruckus at the Billboard Music Awards. Over the course of the night, Biebs was crowned Top Male Artist, Top Social Artist, and Milestone Artist — beating out heavyweights Taylor Swift and Bruno Mars for the latter prize.

As the singer made his way toward the stage to accept that last award, something funny happened: Beneath the high-pitched shrieks that greet Bieber wherever he goes, there was a low, rumbly, distinct chorus of boos. The heckling continued as Bieber delivered his acceptance speech, swelling when he made an impromptu plea to the audience: “From my heart, I really just want to say, it really should be about the music. It should be about the craft that I’m making. This is not a gimmick, I’m not — I’m an artist, and I should be taken seriously. And all this other bull should not be spoken of.”

Yikes. According to People, the scene at the awards was actually worse than it sounds: “Those in the crowd said the negative response to Bieber was even louder in the arena than it sounded on television.” If only Anne Frank had been there to tell everyone to pipe down!

A rep for Bieber did not immediately respond to EW’s request for comment.

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