Justin Timberlake Pays Tribute to Prince During High-Energy Super Bowl Performance

Justin Timberlake brought both fancy footwork and a projection of Prince to the Super Bowl LII

Headlining the halftime show in Minneapolis, the singer, 37, began with a slew of his own hits — including “Rock Your Body,” “Cry Me a River,” and “Suit & Tie” — before transitioning to Prince’s “I Would Die 4 U.” As a projection of the late singer played above him, Timberlake sang along on a piano.

Wearing custom semi-camouflage threads by Stella McCartney, Timberlake kicked off the show inside a club, singing his recent single “Filthy” amid a sea of laser lights. After dancing up a staircase, Timberlake transitioned into his hit “Rock Your Body” as he made his way to the field. Soon, Timberlake had everyone clapping their hands as he performed “SexyBack” on yet another platform with his backup dancers.

“How are y’all feeling?” he asked before performing parts of “My Love” and “Cry Me a River” with his longtime backup band, the Tennessee Kids. Then the stadium went dark as a marching band joined Timberlake for “Suit & Tie.”

“Let me see you put your cellphones up, Minneapolis — let’s light it up tonight,” he yelled before singing his ballad “Until The End of Time Lyrics” at a piano.

Soon came the most-anticipated moment of the night: Timberlake paying homage to Prince. Next, Timberlake returned to his own hits, singing “Mirrors” and “Can’t Stop the Feeling!” — the latter of which served as his finale. Timberlake went against the usual halftime show rules, though, ending his performance in the audience and taking “Super Biwl selfies.”

Timberlake’s high-profile performance comes two days after the release of his fifth studio album, Man of the Woods, from which he’s dropped four singles and music videos — “Filthy,” “Supplies,” “Say Something,” and the title track — since announcing his musical comeback in early January.

The Grammy winner has a well-documented history with the Super Bowl. After taking the stage with his former boy band *NSYNC and then-girlfriend Britney Spears in Aerosmith’s halftime show in 2001, Timberlake returned to perform in Janet Jackson’s 2004 spectacle. The latter did not go as planned, of course: Timberlake removed a piece of headliner Jackson’s top, revealing her right pierced nipple as an estimated 90 million viewers tuned in live.

That wardrobe malfunction came back to haunt Timberlake last year. After weeks of speculation that the NFL would pick him to be the halftime headliner at Super Bowl LII,Timberlake finally announced the news alongside pal Jimmy Fallon in October. Jackson fans were not thrilled, criticizing his role in Nipplegate in a #JusticeforJanet campaign.

As anticipation for his show amped up in January, Timberlake said he and Jackson had long since made amends. “I stumbled through it, to be quite honest,” he told Beats 1’s Zane Lowe of dealing with the fallout. “I had my wires crossed and it’s just something that you have to look back on and go like, ‘Okay, well you know, you can’t change what’s happened but you can move forward and learn from it.’”

 

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