Starting inside the bowels of the stadium, using multiple stages, the field itself and ending up in the stands, Justin Timberlake did just about everything except getting airborne to entertain during the Super Bowl 52 halftime show Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.
Where he didn’t go was to special guests or to an anticipated Prince hologram, which he nixed after being advised by longtime Prince associate Sheila E of how anti-hologram The Purple One had been. That doesn’t mean JT didn’t sing with Prince — he briefly duetted with a projection of “The Kid” singing “I Would Die 4 U” from the film Purple Rain.
Timberlake began with his new single “Filthy” on an indoor stage with lots of lasers lighting his way. Then it was up a flight of stairs and onto a runway above the field for “Rock Your Body” and a snippet of “Señorita.” He finally hit the main stage and joined his band for “Sexy Back,” with a bit of the “Supplies” beat. Then was joined by backing vocalists and dancers on “My Love” and hit full stride with “Cry Me a River,” which saw him abandon the stage for the field itself, singing atop a large NFL logo.
A marching band in tuxedos joined him on the field for “Suit and Tie,” but he was soon off it and onto a large circular stage for, first, “Until the End of Time” and, next, his partnership with the late Prince of Minneapolis. Then it was back to the main stage for “Mirrors,” featuring dozens of fans holding large reflecting mirrors in front of him. That led to the finale, “Can’t Stop the Feeling,” with Timberlake leading a procession into the stands, where a young fan took a selfie with him, before Justin signed off saying, “Thank you, Minneapolis — Super Bowl selfie!”
- Fourteen years after his participation in the notorious Janet Jackson “wardrobe malfunction,” there wasn’t much of anything for the NFL to worry about. He may have sang “Sexy Back,” but he didn’t bring Janet — or much of anything outrageous — back.
- Some Prince fans on social media weren’t happy about the duet, though a lot of them seemed to mistake the projection from the film for a hologram, which it wasn’t. Still, they felt this wasn’t something Prince would have wanted, hologram or not.
- Not to take anything away from Timberlake’s show, but the game itself was probably more exciting this year.