Justin Timberlake has been under constant fire since the Golden Globe awards. He was seen to be supporting the Time’s Up initiative, although he’s in a current Woody Allen movie: a man accused of sexually assaulting his adoptive daughter when she was just seven.
Then came the Super Bowl. The last time Justin Timberlake performed at the Super Bowl was in 2004 alongside Janet Jackson. The performance ended with him singing the iconic “have you naked by the end of this song” line and then exposing Janet’s breast in what has since been dubbed a “wardrobe malfunction” (one that, some argue, put a halt on Janet’s career for years).
So it was a shock to most of us to see JT invited back to perform 14 years later. Justin’s performance shocked many: it was not the redemption we had all been hoping for, but instead featured bad lip synching, low microphone quality and a Prince tribute that was hit and miss.
The performance, which has been likened to karaoke by Trevor Noah, was almost painful to watch. It started with JT pretending to be a band leader and ended with an awkward fan selfie. The vocals and microphones weren’t the only things causing confusion, as the mismatched backing dancers didn’t seem to fit in anywhere either.
Amidst all this confusion, JT went a step further and gave us a tribute to Prince, who passed away in 2016. Prince was from Minnesota and so it was, at face value, a commendable attempt to pay tribute to the iconic singer. But seeing as though Prince and JT had never liked one another, the tribute seemed faker than him pretending to sing in the first place. Adding insult to injury, JT included a video of Prince performing and turned it into a duet of the two of them while he played and sang from a piano.
This becomes exponentially more distasteful when recalling that Prince had been vocal about the fact that, when he died, he did not want to be brought back as any kind of holographic image. He went as far as to label it ‘demonic’. Clearly, JT wasn’t bothered by Prince’s demands.
On top of that, Timberlake’s new album, ‘Man of the Woods’, has been absolutely ripped apart by critics. It’s safe to say JT has not enjoyed the best start to 2018.
Having said that, the half-time show was an entertaining spectacle, as it always is, and the band played superbly.
The performance can be watched here: