I was living for how much hate Justin Timberlake got at the Super Bowl. I LOVED IT. It nourished my soul. I’ve watched a lot of bad/crazy Halftime Shows, so I’m not going to claim that JT’s was the worst I’ve ever seen. It was not, let’s be clear. But it was so bland, so egotistical, so flavorless, so poorly executed. JT couldn’t even stand to bring in any other living artist, and so he brought in a projection of Prince on a sheet, basically, and they “performed together.” Prince hated him and Justin didn’t show Prince any respect in his lifetime, so no one was buying Justin’s attempt to appropriate Prince’s purple flavor. But just take a moment and realize that it would have been a hell of a lot worse: Justin really did intend on performing with a Prince hologram.
Justin Timberlake was “100 percent ready to use the hologram” for his Prince tribute during his Super Bowl halftime show performance on Sunday, sources say — but backed out at the last minute.
“He was 100 percent ready to use the hologram but nixed it due to backlash from social media and Prince fans. That’s why he had that sheet up like in your mama’s backyard,” sniped one insider. Prince’s longtime pal Sheila E. had tweeted that Timberlake was not going to use a hologram after they spoke on Saturday. “Family, I spoke w/Justin 2nite and he shared heartfelt words of respect for Prince & the Purple fans . . . There is no hologram.”
But in an interview with “Entertainment Tonight,” she also hinted that she had nixed the hologram idea personally. “I just said no. I just felt that it was too soon,” she told ET. “The hologram was weird, and Prince did tell me [to] make sure nobody ever does a hologram [of him] . . . He thought it was very demonic and that’s his spiritual beliefs.”
However, a source close to Timberlake told us the hologram plan was never fixed: “There’s no way Justin would ever disrespect Prince’s legacy. He didn’t change his performance.”
Prince fans were also upset about Timberlake hosting his “Man of the Woods” album listening party at the late icon’s Paisley Park and allowing alcohol to be served, but the source told us he had previously gotten the Prince estate’s blessing.
I think there probably was a different Prince tribute planned, and that tribute was possibly a hologram, but my guess is that Timberlake was trying different things and he ended up choosing the “sheet” after the backlash online over the weekend. It still wasn’t the best, but it could have been a lot worse. Incidentally, Justin was on the Tonight Show after the Super Bowl and he tried to explain why he thought it was totally fine to use Prince’s image:
Appearing on NBC’s The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon, Timberlake didn’t directly address the criticism surrounding the tribute, but did explain why he wanted to incorporate it into his performance.
“It’s a moment for me, and if I’m being quite honest, it’s because he’s always been the pinnacle of musicianship,” Timberlake said. “And when we decided that the serendipity and synergy [of being] in Minnesota — he’s such a special thing here aside from what he is all over the world. I just felt like I wanted to do something for this city and something for him that would just be the ultimate homage to what I consider the GOAT [Greatest of All Time] of musicians.”
He also noted that Questlove, who is Fallon’s bandleader, approved of the performance.
“Questlove is the encyclopedia on music, but I also feel like a gatekeeper on Prince, so if I got the thumbs-up from Questlove, I’m good,” he said, to which Questlove responded: “Yeah, it was good.”
Questlove approved of it? Um-hm. That’s some bullsh-t right there. I mean, it’s possible that Questlove genuinely thought it was fine, or that he was just being nice to a VIP guest, but how this comes across is that Justin was looking for a “pass” from one African-American musician to literally use a dead icon’s image. All to sell Pepsi and football. The whole thing is just so gross and typical Timberlake.
Photos courtesy of WENN/NBC.