Justin Timberlake’s performance made us remember what makes his music irresistible, even though we were skeptical of his new material at the same time.
Timberlake was supported by a live band and a marching band during his performance. The music overpowered Timberlake’s vocals, especially in the beginning of the show, frequently. The performance was affected by strange sound mixing and editing. Timberlake gracefully moved in and out of U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, displaying his current sound briefly before returning to his popular songs. Timberlake’s Super Bowl halftime show was a mixed, flashy, and occasionally sound-challenged dancing display. Timberlake was accompanied by a live band and a marching band. Wearing a suit and orange bandana reminiscent of Duck Dynasty (possibly a tribute to his new image and album, Man of The Woods), he danced in and out of U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, briefly showcasing his current sound before returning to his well-known hits.
Concluding with an illuminating spectacle that transformed the surrounding area into a shade of purple, Timberlake hinted at an unexpected surprise, which manifested as a colossal display of Prince, the beloved local icon of Minneapolis who passed away in April of 2016, before his own performance.
The tribute to Prince was the standout moment of a mixed performance. Here are three things to know about Timberlake’s halftime show:.
1) The audio blending was completely inaccurate
The beginning of the set was chaotic and curious, with a strange tone. We heard electronic warbles and Timberlake’s voice singing, but there was a disconnect between what Timberlake was singing and the wub-wub slinky manipulations in the song. The most puzzling thing about Timberlake’s performance was the muddy sound, which came from the “basement” club area below the U.S. Bank Arena where “Filthy” was staged.
2) Timberlake reminded us why we still adore his classic tunes
The great news is that after that peculiar start, Timberlake transitioned into what made him a superstar: his classic songs.
“Mirrors,” “Señorita,” and “SexyBack,” as well as “Cry Me a River,” were hits that spanned his entire career. He then churned out a medley of these songs, incorporating contextually appropriate synonyms to replace words in the Input paragraph. The song that caused a commotion back then was cut off just before the controversial lyric, and this time, he pointedly only performed the song that played a huge role in Janet Jackson’s controversial performance at the 2004 Super Bowl. Timberlake rolled his vocals into “Rock Your Body,” his first major solo hit, and followed it up with the synthed-out vocals of “Filthy,” unencumbered by any constraints.
From the Trolls film soundtrack, Timberlake concluded the performance with the criticized catchy tune titled ‘Can’t Stop the Feeling,’ which surprisingly enhanced the quality and power of Timberlake’s previous songs when compared — to the extent that I actually experienced a slight sense of joy from the dissonance that marked the start of his performance. It became simpler to admire his abilities as a effortlessly charismatic pop star who can effortlessly sing, dance, and confidently move around, without the strange dissonance created by Timberlake’s exaggerated vocals. Timberlake was evidently in his element with these songs.
3) The Prince homage was the top, and most divisive, segment of the halftime performance
It was confirmed that the hologram of Prince, which wouldn’t be a part of the performance, ended with a song lyric dissing Timberlake, sparking a spat between Timberlake and Prince that fans of Prince haven’t forgotten. However, following a quick vocal rebuke from Prince’s favorite musical son in Minneapolis, the idea of including a hologram of Prince as a nod to his favorite son was a big controversy heading into the halftime show.
The projection of Prince’s iconic halftime performance at the 2007 Super Bowl was a smart and fitting tribute, featuring a visually stunning display that transformed the surrounding buildings and streetlights into shades of purple. Despite the controversy surrounding the vocals, the performance was an homage to Prince’s own rendition of “Purple Rain” and Timberlake played behind him. It should be noted that there was a projection of Prince, but there was no hologram.
Regardless of the controversy surrounding it, Timberlake’s tribute to Prince stood out as a standout moment in a production that had its flaws. It served as a reminder of the genius that Prince was, and Timberlake successfully honored him, regardless of their past history.