This year’s Super Bowl was a very interesting game with a close win by the Eagles who won 41-33 against the Patriots. But one of the most intriguing portions of the event was the halftime show performed by Justin Timberlake.
While there were no lip-syncing scandals or high flying acts similar to previous years, there was an overall mixed opinion about Justin Timberlake’s Super Bowl halftime performance. As another opportunity being a halftime performer, the expectations for this year’s show were higher because of his previous show with Janet Jackson and her very inappropriate wardrobe malfunction. This one was a time for him to redeem himself. The show began with Timberlake singing “Filthy” from his new album, “Man of the Woods”, which happened to be his most streamed song as of the day after the Super Bowl. This was perfect timing for Timberlake to perform this track because his album was released two days prior to the event. It is also the first song on the album. After his opening, he continued the performance with more of his older songs such as”Rock Your Body”, “Suit and Tie” and “Cry Me a River”. The song “Mirrors” was also included and was an impressive part to many viewers. I believe that this portion had outstanding visuals that were aesthetically pleasing as well as formations that displayed an accurate representation of what the song was about. The reflective glass used by the dancers during that song created a beautiful shiny effect. Many people, including myself, had come to an agreement that this section was the best and most favored portion of the show.
But the part of the show that most people thought was offensive and controversial was the tribute to the late singer-songwriter Prince. At this section of the show, Timberlake sang “I Would Die 4 U” from one of Prince’s iconic Albums, “Purple Rain”. Prior to the actual halftime performance, there were rumors that Timberlake would be performing with a hologram of the late singer. This did not happen. Instead, there was a projection of Prince on a screen as Timberlake was singing the famous track. The reason being was that in an interview with Guitar World in 1988, Prince has spoken against the use of virtual reality and digital editing. He stated, “Certainly not. That’s the most demonic thing imaginable. Everything is as it is, and as 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,” he continued. “To prevent that kind of thing from happening is another reason why I want artistic control.” A lot of his fans were furious about this action and were not impressed by the outcome of this part and the entire performance.
Towards the end of the show, social media was involved in the event of the Super Bowl Halftime Show. As Justin Timberlake was performing “Can’t Stop the Feeling!”, he was walking through a special section of the audience seating with a pleasant surprise awaiting. A selfie during the event that night taken by a 13-year-old boy, from Massachusetts, named Ryan McKenna of him Timberlake went viral. Even though Timberlake is one of McKenna’s favorite artists, he appeared more intrigued with his phone rather than the actual performance or even the game. With the quick reaction of internet users, he became a meme. The picture used to create this meme was not the famous selfie McKenna took with Timberlake but, the image of him looking down at his phone as well as a Google search of, “Who is Justin Timberlake?”. People believed that he was confused and unaware of who he was sharing a special moment with.
Overall, this year’s Super Bowl halftime performance was very compelling and has been one that will be unforgettable.