Justin Timberlake really was going to use a Prince hologram at the Super Bowl

Super Bowl LII halftime show as seen on NBC.

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.

[From Page Six]

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.”

[From The Hollywood Reporter]

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.

Super Bowl LII halftime show as seen on NBC.

Photos courtesy of WENN/NBC.

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51 Responses to “Justin Timberlake really was going to use a Prince hologram at the Super Bowl”

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  1. Sassback says:

    While the show was lackluster, what he did end up doing for Prince was really nice, I thought. Seeing Prince’s hometown lit up that way was quite touching and very cool.

    • Valiantly Varnished says:

      Except for the glaring fact that Prince hated JT and that he was the last person Prince would have wanted doing something like that. Prince wasn’t just against holograms. He did not want his likeness included on stage with other performers posthumously. He talked about it at length. It was against his beliefs. So while people may have thought this was nice it was a slap in the face to Prince’s wishes. It was disrespectful.

      • Nick says:

        I keep seeing the Prince “hated” JT but have yet to see evidence. Links please?

      • SlightlyAnonny says:

        Plus JT has disrespected and insulted Prince several times, made fun of his height, wrote a diss track of PRINCE!

        He was trying to ride Prince’s coattails as he does with everyone else and he didn’t want to have to share the stage with a living artist so he picked a dead one.

      • Valiantly Varnished says:

        @Nick well you could always do your OWN research on that. Google is free. And the information isn’t hard to find. But since I’m in a okay mood right now I’ll sum it up for you. Right after Sexyback came out Prince famously said durig one of his concerts, “Sexy never left”. This was broadcast wide and JT then wrote a DISS track about Prince. With the lyrics: “If sexy never left then why’s everybody on my s*hit? Don’t hate on me just because you didn’t come up with it. So when you see me in the club go ahead an walk the other way.”
        A year later Prince won a Golden Globe which JT was presenting. Prince didn’t attend the awards but JT accepted on Prince’s behalf and proceeded to MOCK HIS HEIGHT. So yeah…they didn’t like each other. And if this were you would you want the dude who wrote a diss track about you and made fun of your height to do a tribute to you and put your likeness on a sheet behind him???

      • Nick says:

        Really? That’s it’s? I’ve mocked Princes height and I’m 5’1″ on a good day. I see no evidence of hatred, maybe annoyance but not hatred. Also if you’re making the claim then it’s on you to provide proof when asked.

      • Valiantly Varnished says:

        @Nick but this isn’t about YOU. You aren’t JT (maybe you are). And you certainly aren’t Prince. Common sense would tell a person that if you had beef that lasted years that you are probably NOT the best person to all of a sudden act like you were their biggest fan and do a tribute. It’s disingenuous at best. But honestly – that’s not even the biggest issue here. It’s certainly part of it. The issue is that Prince did not want his likeness to be onstage with ANYONE posthumously. Let alone JT. This is a man who scrubbed all of his work off of YouTube to prevent people from using his likeness against his wishes. He gave an interview to Guitar World where he spoke AT LENGTH about how he didn’t want that. So even without their beef what JT was disrespectful and also shows that he WASN’T a true Prince fan. Because somehow every other Prince fan but him seems to get this. And PS – no hun it’s not on me to provide anything. This isn’t school or the debate team. Find it yourself if you feel the need to question it. I do it all the time.

      • Lorelai says:

        Nick, you seem to be purposely acting obtuse. Valiantly has more than adequately explained what Prince’s feelings were and you don’t want to accept it.

      • Milla says:

        Hate is a strong word. Prince didn’t care for him. He was the sexy one. Not this fake.

        After all negative comments, maybe this dude will realize that he isn’t some mega talent and that world doesn’t really care for him. Respect for Prince, Janet and Britney.

    • dreamofadream says:

      I read somewhere from his estate, who happened to published a quote from Prince before he had died. The quote stated that he felt the holograms were the most demonic things he has ever seen. And in no way would he ever want one done like that. Not sure if the NFL got hit with the memo but I dont think it would have saved Justin’s horrific show. Either the NFL ran out of funding for the halftime show or Justin Timberlakes ego was so big that he thought him dancing alone was going to be enough to wow the crowd. I have no idea but I watched every super bowl half time show since 1988 and all I can say was this was painful to watch and underwhelming.

  2. Nicole says:

    I am unaware of who appointed Questlove the holder of all things appropriate for black musicians. Prince did not like Justin while he was alive so F off with that nonsense.

  3. me says:

    Hey Justin, if Prince wanted to perform with you, he would have done it while he was alive. He obviously didn’t want to ! Take that as a damn hint !

  4. Hh says:

    A hologram Prince just sounds silly and disrespectful.

    The performance was so uneventful. JT has done a medley of his songs MUCH better. When he won the Video Vanguard award at the 2013 VMAs, he did a similar medley AND brought out *NSYNC. So good. The Super Bowl calls for something very grandiose. And if you can’t give the people that, be humble enough to get other people who can (ie when Coldplay was assisted by Bruno Mars and Beyonce). At the Super Bowl people want to see a large spectacle, not just a mashup of your most popular songs.

    ETA: Also, has JT had surgery? Or does he do drugs? I don’t remember his eyes looking constantly maniacal.

  5. Dragonlady sakura says:

    It was a terribly boring performance and I’m living for the hate also. I’ve never forgotten how he threw Janet under the bus and Prince was not a fan. Keep the shade coming.

  6. Tiffany says:

    Between here and Lainey’s take on JT, it really gives me life this is happening to him.

    Petty of me, absolutely.

    That’s it.

  7. Truthie says:

    You know what I would have loved? Questlove and the Roots doing the Super Bowl. Maybe some guests with them, but honestly, whatever the Roots dreamed up.

  8. Tilts says:

    If he really wanted to give respect to Prince and his fans, he would just sat down and played Prince’s performance at the super bowl in 2007 I’m the jumbotron.

  9. holly hobby says:

    Ok Justin Timbersnake. Whatever you say.

  10. Ally says:

    More and more, I am comforted in my view that dip&S*%-faced dudes gonna dip&S*%.

    Never liked this weenie. Glad everyone is catching up.

  11. pix says:

    “I was living for how much hate Justin Timberlake got at the Super Bowl. I LOVED IT. It nourished my soul.”

    Yes, this is me exactly. Ditto. Copy. x1000.

  12. Tanesha86 says:

    I’m actually a long time Justin Timberlake superfan but even I’m sick of his shenanigans. I’m over it and his huge ego. I want him to hang it up and enjoy his family

  13. Sherry says:

    I would have rather watched a replay of Prince’s Super Bowl half-time show on a jumbo screen than JT’s narcissistic show on Sunday.

  14. Feebee says:

    JT deserves every bit off shade for this performance. He barely sang for the first half… I didn’t even click when he sang Rock Your Body but being the song that derailed Janet’s it was particularly tasteless. The whole thing lacked any joy, any energy. They really seemed to be going through the motions. Esp when recent acts have been so full of…. everything! Katy Perry, Madonna, Lady Gaga, Bruno Mars, Beyoncé…. wasn’t the Rolling Stnes a recent one too? Anyway, they all gave us a SHOW!

    If you’re going to fuck up a tribute, then it’s better to not do one. That tacky ass sheet…. the quarter of a song…. and the song choice, Jesus! Anyone who has attended a Queen concert in either of their last two tours at least could have told JT how to do a tribute. They do one to Freddie every night. No one in Timberlake’s universe can have seen the Adele or Chris Martin tributes to George Michael. So no, there is zero excuse for not nailing a tribute to Prince in his hometown,

  15. Gaby says:

    I agree with Lainey Gossip. A *HOLOGRAM* and a *PROJECTION* are very similar things, and just basic technicality.
    It’s ridiculous either way, and that Justin had the audacity to use Prince’s image and name after openly mocking him and showing no respect for the artist while he was alive is beyond absurd.

  16. Pandy says:

    He’s such a jerk. I just couldn’t give him my eyeballs. Husband watched it while I was upstairs getting my lunch ready for the next day. I could hear it though and it sounded really dull and uninspired. When I could hear him properly. What a hot mess and how deserving he is of this! PS: Always use that link photo. Ugly.

  17. adastraperaspera says:

    First Janet, and then Prince. Ugh. Look, I became emotional when I saw Prince’s image up there, and then when they lit the city purple, but it felt manipulative. JT is so sub-par–reminds me of the saying, “lord grant me the confidence of a mediocre white man!” Such a waste when so many truly talented artists could have been onstage. I believe the NFL chose JT because they knew it would placate white racist fans.

  18. Ozogirl says:

    Wouldn’t Prince’s estate have to approve a hologram or projection? Plus use of his song? Justin must have had their blessing to some degree. All in all, it was a bad halftime show, not the worst, but bad.

  19. qtpi says:

    Minnesotan here. Everyone I know loved the Prince Symbol and lighting up Downtown Minneapolis purple. The grieving continues for Prince. It should have been his half time show. :(

    I was also glad Justin did not have a hologram. The sheet was much more tasteful. Also if you watch Prince’s 2007 SB performance he used a sheet to cast his own shadow. It reminded me of that.

  20. jferber says:

    Let’s be clear. Timberlake is an opportunist and a user. His “tribute” was a calculated move to burnish the Timberlake show. Timberlake’s love and respect are only for himself. On a side note, Prince was sexy personified. Timberlake is an ugly man on the outside and the inside. There is nothing sexy about him. His narcissism is very off-putting.

  21. Fleur says:

    As someone who worked on the halftime show, let me tell you that there was never a hologram planned. End of story.