Justin Timberlake plays it safe for Super Bowl LII halftime performance — but that wasn't a Prince hologram, was it?

Timberlake plays Tampa’s Amalie Arena on May 15.

Justin Timberlake has had an interesting weekend.

On Friday, the 37-year-old released his fourth studio LP, Man of the Woods, and the reviews have been lukewarm at best (a fact not lost on Justin).

Over the weekend, word got out that his Super Bowl LII halftime performance would utilize a hologram of late music icon Prince (who completely slayed at Super Bowl XLI in 2007). Not a good look since Prince himself once told Guitar World magazine that the idea of holograms of dead musicians is cringeworthy.

“If I was meant to jam with Duke Ellington, we would have lived in the same age,” Prince said. “That whole virtual reality thing, it really is demonic.”

Justin Timberlake will play Tampa's Amalie Arena on May 15

Prince’s longtime drummer Sheila E. confirmed how bad of an idea it was during an interview yesterday where she said, “Prince told me don’t ever let anybody do a hologram on me. He meant it. I don’t think it’s cool at all. You can’t bring him back. He did the best Super Bowl halftime ever. You can’t top that.”

So Timberlake — who kicked off Sunday’s halftime performance in the bowels of Minnesota’s U.S. Bank Stadium — scrapped the hologram and turned in a 13-minute medley of hits from his own decade-and-a-half, post Nsync career. There was a tribute to the Purple One (a take of the 1984 Prince and the Revolution hit “I Would Die 4 U”), and Timberlake avoided tracks from Woods in lieu of more familiar crowd-pleasers like “Sexy Back,” Suit & Tie,” “Cry Me A River” and “Mirrors.”

A few people (read: Sinbad) are pissed about the Prince projection, but let's face it: that wasn't a hologram in the sense that we're used to.

It ended innocuously with Timberlake in the stands partying and taking selfies during a performance of “Can’t Stop The Feeling” (someone find that kid’s Snapchat). Did someone strip the vinyl skin off of a “Deer Hunter” arcade game to make that suit?

Timberlake’s May 15 Tampa show at Amalie Arena is one of four Florida dates for him (May 14 at Orlando'a Amway Center, May 18 at Miami's American Airlines Arena and May 19 at Ft. Lauderdale's BB&T Center). Get more information on the show via local.cltampa.com.

We’ll post a full video as soon as it’s available.


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Ray Roa

Read his 2016 intro letter and disclosures from 2022 and 2021. Ray Roa started freelancing for Creative Loafing Tampa in January 2011 and was hired as music editor in August 2016. He became Editor-In-Chief in August 2019. Past work can be seen at Suburban Apologist, Tampa Bay Times, Consequence of Sound and The...
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