Timberlake’s tribute to Prince in the Purple One’s hometown did not go down well.
If you are going to conjure up the spectre of Prince during a Super Bowl halftime performance, you better serve the iconic showman’s memory well. That is the sentiment of Super Bowl viewers of Justin Timberlake’s show during Super Bowl LII last night (4 February).
Timberlake played his hits during a rapid-fire medley, including Rock Your Body, SexyBack, Cry Me a River and Senorita. But it was his ‘duet’ with a towering projection of Prince, singing I Would Die 4 U, that proved the most controversial part of the show.
The tribute to Prince, in his hometown of Minneapolis, Minnesota, was controversial due to comments the late artist made in an interview in 1998 when asked if he would perform with the hologram of a dead artist.
“That’s the most demonic thing imaginable,” he told Guitar World. “Everything is as it is, and it should be. If I was meant to jam with Duke Ellington, we would have lived in the same age.
“That whole virtual reality thing… it really is demonic. And I am not a demon. Also, what they did with that Beatles song [Free as a Bird], manipulating John Lennon’s voice to have him singing from across the grave… that’ll never happen to me.
“To prevent that kind of thing from happening is another reason why I want artistic control.”
Viewers reacted in their droves on Twitter, with one user saying: “Wow its wild Justin Timberlake did a tribute to Prince considering Prince hated him and literally wrote a song about how awful he was.”
“Hologram/Projection. Same f**king difference! The point was Prince did not want his image, voice, performances ever used in duets after his [death]EVER! What aren’t you guys understanding?! IT WAS WRONG! And Justin Timberlake owes an APOLOGY,” wrote another.
Disgruntled viewer Sliogan added:
There were fans of the performance including actor Rob Lowe and singer Nick Jonas but most were underwhelmed.
Comedian David Adkins, known by his stage name Sinbad, did not hold back: “Okay punkass Justin Timberlake. You was cool till you pulled that Prince bulls**t. You dissed Prince on a track of yours and you dissed him onstage when you lowered the mic stand onstage when prince won an award. Later for ya ass.”
Justin Timberlake clearly missed the boat. No Britney, No *NSYNC, No Janet, No Shark, No Nipple. #SuperBowl
To honor #Prince would be to respect his wishes, not to capitalize off of him for your own name. #JustinTimberlake is disgusting.
So…no Prince hologram, no members of the Revolution onstage, no members of Nsync onstage, Prince projected onto a big sheet…Justin Timberlake was his usual smooth self, but this Super Bowl halftime show was a little underwhelming… #superbowl
Terrible show #JustinTimberlake. Mic doesnât work, too many instruments at the same time, impossible to understand a thing. Terrible.
me watching the halftime performance #JustinTimberlake pic.twitter.com/c3uOlkMHtE
Congrats to #JustinTimberlake
That was officially the worst half time #superbowl show of all time