Justin Timberlake was under fire before Super Bowl LII even began with reports that he planned to use a Prince hologram during his halftime show performance, but the singer apparently improvised before hitting the main stage. Still, the performance got mixed reactions.
At halftime of the game, Timberlake, who released his fifth studio album Man of the Woods on Friday, performed a medley of his hits, in classic overblown Super Bowl style. Only one of the songs, "Filthy," was from his new opus - the rest were from his previous chart-topping catalog. JT performed songs like "Rock Your Body," "Sexyback," "Cry Me A River," "Suit and Tie" and "Mirrors," complete with a live band and choreography.
After performing a string of his solo songs, came the moment everyone was waiting for: the Prince tribute, since the Super Bowl was taking place in the iconic musician's home stage of Minnesota. Timberlake went to a piano to play and sing along to Prince's Purple Rain classic "I Would Die 4 U." There was no hologram, but instead, a hazy video clip of Prince video footage was projected onto a large white sheet. The camera then zoomed out to an aerial view, to show the hue of purple lighting up the rest of the city.
Timberlake then concluded his performance with "Can't Stop This Feeling," his song from the film "Trolls."
The Prince tribute received mixed reviews - some enjoyed the performance and were glad that Timberlake didn't use a hologram, but others felt he should have avoided depicting Prince altogether. See reactions below.
Justin Timberlake under fire after giving a tribute to Prince during the SuperBowl Halftime Show despite Prince's public statements against Timberlake and Prince's strong beliefs against technology like the one used to present Prince as a hologram. #Prince pic.twitter.com/z1tqRQHPiP— Music News Facts (@musicnewsfact) February 5, 2018
Hologram or a Projection...Shouldn't have done it period. pic.twitter.com/dpeZRgFF92— Matthew A. Cherry (@MatthewACherry) February 5, 2018
For context on Prince rebuking his participation or his likeness in any VR posthumous performances: https://t.co/eA6dvC9nOG— Jeff J. (@JeffJSays) February 5, 2018
Rethinking this entire Justin Timberlake halftime situation and realizing I just can’t forgive him for what he did to Britney and Janet Jackson. You heard me. #GaySuperBowl— Kathy Griffin (@kathygriffin) February 5, 2018