Justin Timberlake gave a powerful tribute to Prince during his halftime performance at the Super Bowl Sunday night.
Timberlake’s return to the Super Bowl halftime show was the polar opposite of the infamous 2004 “wardrobe malfunction”, when he mistakenly ripped off too much of Janet Jackson’s costume and left her breast momentarily exposed.
This year, NSYNC fans were desperately hoping that Super Bowl headliner Justin Timberlake would bring his old buddies into the mix for his big halftime show. The Prince hologram never materialized, but a huge purple sheet did: It unfurled so that an image of Purple Rain Prince singing “I Would Die 4 You” could be projected against it – Timberlake joined in on a makeshift duet that made his voice sound thin alongside Prince’s. Additionally, the telecast showed off a glowing city shot lit up purple for the nation to see. “And I felt that it was OK to respond and let the fans know he said great things about Prince and the fans and how important they are”.
There was speculation over the weekend that Timberlake would incorporate a hologram of Prince in his halftime set. First of all, Justin Timberlake and Prince had beef that started in 2006 and persisted for a number of reasons.
The celebrity gossip site TMZ earlier said that Timberlake was considering a Prince hologram, horrifying many fans.
Timberlake began the show with a rendition of Filthy from his new album, Man of the Woods. With rumors buzzing that the daddy of one would pay homage to the late music legend in his hometown of Minneapolis, Minnesota by performing with his likeness, Prince’s brother, Omarr Baker, is shutting that chatter down as well.
The Parents Television Council published an open letter to Timberlake on Thursday asking the 10-times Grammy victor to keep his performance, which is estimated to draw more than 100 million viewers, friendly and safe for children. That wouldn’t be a problem if the former ‘N Syncer had come into this gig as a vintage pop or classic rock artist, like Super Bowl headliners such as the Who, Bruce Springsteen, or Madonna.
Prince reportedly once said of the concept, “That’s the most demonic thing imaginable”. I think Vegas has a lot of odds on it.
Despite the light show and support from his backing band, the performance was underwhelming at best.
The singer seemed to move in the now favorable direction of a purely entertainment-oriented halftime show, centering his performance on a solo-oriented platter of dance, hits, and – yes – a tribute to Prince, but not as expected.