Fresh off the release of his tepidly reviewed album Man of the Woods, Timberlake treated Minneapolis’ U.S. Bank Stadium to a medley of his greatest hits — from “Señorita” to “Sexy Back” — as well as a few of his newer, less-popular offerings.
As reported in the days leading up to the big game, Timberlake’s halftime show included an appearance of sorts from Prince, who died in April 2016. He showed up on the big screen behind Timberlake for a duet of “I Would Die for You.” While technically impressive, this appearance is likely to garner mixed reviews from the public, as Prince went on record in 1998 about how no artist should ever make a posthumous return to the stage.
“That’s the most demonic thing imaginable,” Prince told Guitar World in 1998 when asked if he would ever perform alongside the hologram of a deceased music legend. “Everything is as it is, and it should be. If I was meant to jam with Duke Ellington, we would have lived in the same age. That whole virtual reality thing… it really is demonic. And I am not a demon.”
But much to dismay of NSync fans everywhere, Timberlake’s halftime show did not include a reunion with former bandmates Chris Kirkpatrick, Joey Fatone, Lance Bass and JC Chasez. Fans who thought to check Bass’ Twitter feed on Sunday were fortunate enough to temper their expectations ahead of time:
As you likely already know, this wasn’t Timberlake’s first time performing at the Super Bowl. He made his halftime debut in 2001 when NSYNC joined Aerosmith, Britney Spears, Mary J. Blige and Nelly for what was easily the most 2001 moment of 2001.
Then came Timberlake’s return to the Super Bowl stage in 2004, during which he sang “Rock Your Body” alongside Janet Jackson — an event more commonly remembered as “Nipplegate.” The infamous performance ended with one of Jackson’s breasts being exposed, a wardrobe malfunction that impacted Jackson’s career far more negatively than it did Timberlake’s.
At one point, it was speculated that Jackson would make a surprise appearance during this year’s halftime show, but she officially put the rumors to rest on Super Bowl Eve, posting this statement on her social media channels:
All things considered, what’s your take on Timberlake’s halftime show? Hit PLAY on the video above, then grade it below and drop a comment with your full review.