Bring Back Janet! Justin Timberlake Plays It Safe For Super Bowl

Prince fans turned on Justin Timberlake last night to slam his underwhelming Super Bowl halftime show which featured the Purple Rain singer’s projection on stage.

Fourteen years since he caused a national controversy by exposing Janet Jackson’s breast live on air, Timberlake played it safer with a decidedly family-friendly performance.

The headline-grabber came during a tribute to the late Prince, with Timberlake singing a duet of I Would Die 4 U alongside a projection of the iconic pop legend.

The tribute ended with a projection of Prince’s infamous shadow from the 2007 Super Bowl before an aerial shot showed his hometown Minneapolis turning purple in his honor.

But Prince fans turned on Timberlake, saying the late great wouldn’t have approved of the use of his image and that the two singers did not get on.

justin timberlake super bowl

Was it enough? The polished performer performed an energetic medley of his hits, but his standard concert-style show left fans at home rather underwhelmed, when compared with the theatrical shows of recent years

 

justin timberlake super bowl

Icon remembered: One stand-out moment came during a tribute to the late Prince, with Timberlake singing a duet with a projection of the Purple Rain singer, before an aerial shot showed the host city Minneapolis turning purple in his honor

 

justin timberlake super bowl

Brought back to life: Prince’s image was projected onto a sheet as Timberlake performed a tribute to the late singer

 

justin timberlake super bowl

Can’t do it all: Fans hoping for a cameo from Jackson herself, or even an *NSync reunion, were left disappointed

The polished singer performed an energetic medley, expertly combining his most famous hits with newer tracks. But while a slick professional Timberlake got the crowd on their feet, the standard concert-style show left fans at home underwhelmed, lacking the gasp-inducing spectacle of recent years.

Sound problems also plagued the live show, with Timberlake’s audio at times less prominent than his backing singers, even appearing to cut out for brief periods.

As the halftime show drew to a close, viewers took to Twitter to brandish their opinions, and many were unhappy with the *NSYNC singer copping a lot of criticism.

Film producer Adam Best wrote: ‘The Prince tribute would’ve been cool… except Prince specifically said he didn’t want that, right?

‘Even in death, Prince continues to be misunderstood.’

Director Victoria Mahoney echoed Best’s message, saying: ‘If you ever shared two words with Prince. Or heard him speak. Or watch him play. You would understand the base of your bones – them deciding to use his hologram at the Super Bowl – would’ve busted his heart to pieces.’

The Undefeated columnist Jamele Hill delivered the damning verdict of: ‘Problem is, a lot of people down with Prince know he wouldn’t approve.’

Fans hoping for a cameo from Jackson herself, or even a *NSync reunion, were left disappointed.

Those taking to social media to express their regret on social media included Demi Lovato, who wrote: ‘But….. *NSYNC…..’ along with a crying face.

justin timberlake super bowl

Here comes JT! The show started with Timberlake under the arena, dancing in a small contained space, before he emerged out of the tunnel and onto the field

 

justin timberlake super bowl

Can’t Stop The Feeling! The polished singer performed an energetic medley of his hits, but his standard concert-style show left fans at home somewhat underwhelmed, when compared with the theatrics of recent years

 

justin timberlake super bowl

Other tracks included Suit & Tie, which he performed on a raised white platform backed by a tuxedo-clad marching band

 

justin timberlake super bowl

He’s got the hits: Timberlake kicked off with Filthy from his most recent album, then transitioned into a medley of Rock Your Body and SexyBack

 

justin timberlake super bowl

Slick and polished: The show was well choreographed and included JT’s biggest hits, but lacked spectacle

 

justin timberlake super bowl

People power: The polished singer performed an energetic medley, expertly combining his most famous hits with more newer tracks; making full use of the field

Following on seamlessly from a Pepsi ad, the show started with Timberlake under the arena, dancing in a small contained space, before he emerged out of the tunnel and onto the field. By contrast, Lady Gaga’s jaw-dropping start to last year’s show saw her begin her performance on the roof, abseiling down into the arena.

For his show, Timberlake kicked off with Filthy from his most recent album, then transitioned into a medley of Rock Your Body (the song he dueted on with Jackson back in 2004) and SexyBack.

Other tracks included Suit & Tie, which he performed on a raised white platform backed by a tuxedo-clad marching band.

Taking things down a notch he then took a seat at a white grand piano to perform Until the End of Time, before launching into a cover of Prince’s I Would Die 4 U.

The show concluded with Timberlake’s mega-hit Can’t Stop the Feeling, from the soundtrack to the children’s movie Trolls.

justin timberlake super bowl

Keeping it clean: Back in 2004 Timberlake was Jackson’s special guest when he infamously ripped off a piece of her clothing, revealing her nipple; Timberlake later described it as an unintended ‘wardrobe malfunction’

 

justin timberlake super bowl

Rock Your Body: In the industry since he made his debut back in 1993 on The Mickey Mouse Club, Justin is a veteran at 37

 

justin timberlake super bowl

Family friendly: While fans at home amused themselves by tweeting ‘Needed more nipple’, the NFL is unlikely to be concerned by the lack of theatrics

 

justin timberlake super bowl

Up, up and away! Timberlake ascends a flight of stairs in step with his backing dancers

But while fans at home amused themselves by tweeting witticisms such as ‘This needed more nipple’, the NFL is unlikely to be concerned by the lack of theatrics.

Back in 2004, Timberlake was Jackson’s special guest when he infamously ripped off a piece of her clothing, revealing her nipple, beneath a star-shaped sticker. Timberlake later described it as an unintended ‘wardrobe malfunction.’

CBS, which aired that Super Bowl, was fined $550,000 by the Federal Communications Commission, but the fine was later overturned.

justin timberlake super bowl

‘I hate this song’: He might sell millions of records, but not everyone loved Justin’s show

 

justin timberlake super bowl

‘You heard me’: Celebs were among those voicing doubts about Timberlake’s halftime show

 

justin timberlake super bowl

‘Loved this performance!’ Bieber was quick to offer his congratulations to his fellow Justin

 

justin timberlake super bowl

Star power: Timberlake’s fans flocked to praise his performance… although Demi Lovato was still pining for *NSYNC

Timberlake also performed at the Super Bowl halftime show back in 2001, when he made a cameo during then-girlfriend Britney Spears performance, along with his boyband *NSYNC.

The hashtags #JusticeforJanet and #JanetJacksonAppreciationDay became trending topics on Twitter days before Timberlake’s record third trip to the stage at the Super Bowl, as Philadelphia Eagles faced the New England Patriots at the U.S. Bank Stadium on Sunday.

justin timberlake super bowl

Was it enough? While the stadium crowd went wild, sound problems and a lack of spectacle sparked criticism on Twitter

 

justin timberlake super bowl

Pitch invasion! During Can’t Stop The Feeling backing dancers wearing white T-shirts and brightly colored jackets rushed onto the field

 

justin timberlake super bowl

Knows his stuff: Timberlake has ten Grammys, four Emmy Awards, three Brit Awards, nine Billboard Music Awards

 

justin timberlake super bowl

Remember me? Justin’s fellow *NSYNC bandmate Joey Fatone tweeted that he was in a commercial during the show

 

justin timberlake super bowl

‘Wow wow wow!’ They may not have been asked to join him for a cameo, but it’s clear JT’s old bandmates are still pals

 

justin timberlake super bowl

Not long now: Lance Bass reminded fans of the boyband that they would be reuniting for the star ceremony

 

justin timberlake super bowl

Comic relief: Fans weren’t overly impressed by Justin’s flamboyant shirt

At a press conference on Thursday, Timberlake mentioned Jackson’s name, along with Jay-Z and ’NSync, when talking about rumored guests to join him onstage. He was not asked any direct questions about Jackson or the infamous wardrobe malfunction.

When the NFL announced late last year that Timberlake would be returning to the Super Bowl, the decision triggered a backlash from women, minorities and others who felt Jackson was unfairly forced to pay a far higher price than Timberlake faced.

Some argued that Jackson, as a black woman, fell victim to a racist and sexist double standard and received harsher treatment than Timberlake, as a white man, did, and they said he benefited from ‘white male privilege.’

justin timberlake super bowl

17 years later: Timberlake first performed at the Super Bowl halftime show back in 2001, when he made a cameo during then-girlfriend Britney Spears performance, along with his boyband *NSYNC

 

justin timberlake super bowl

Spot the star: The former *NSYNC star made full use of the field during his performance

 

justin timberlake super bowl

VIP seats: Those near to Justin all used their cell phones to record the moment for posterity

 

justin timberlake super bowl

Life, made: One young fan, 13-year-old Ryan McKenna, got the selfie of a lifetime with Timberlake

 

justin timberlake super bowl

New follower: Twitter users were quick to point out that at 13, Ryan was a little young to be a Timberlake fan

 

justin timberlake super bowl

Who dis? After sparking dozens of memes, the teen has been signed up to appear on Good Morning America tomorrow

When asked during an interview last month if he and Jackson have since made peace, Timberlake said, ‘Absolutely.’

He said he and Jackson have talked privately about what happened.

‘I don’t know that a lot of people know that,’ Timberlake said. ‘I mean, I don’t think it’s my job to do that because you value the relationships that you do have with people.’

 

justin timberlake super bowl

‘This needs more nipple,’ God had feedback for Timberlake on Twitter

 

justin timberlake super bowl

Audio anguish: The live show was hit with audio problems

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