From watching Justin Timberlake performing at the Super Bowl LII Halftime Show, I can say this was easily the most enjoyable halftime show I’ve seen but it was also the most forgettable.
Much like everything else with the Super Bowl from the commercials to the game itself, it felt very safe this year in that it avoided more riskier and political topics. Unlike previous halftime shows, there weren’t any noteworthy or memorable moments to talk about with Timberlake’s show aside from a few.
What the show did get right for me was that it was what I expected a halftime show to be like: a single act performing a medley of their greatest hits.
He opened the show up with “Filthy,” the lead off single from his latest album, “Man of the Woods,” that came out two days before, and ended it perfectly with “Can’t Stop the Feeling,” going into the crowd.
If there was one memorable moment it was what didn’t have to do with JT’s music but with his virtual duet with the late Prince in honor of the Super Bowl being held in Minneapolis, Prince’s hometown. With Prince on a projection screen, Justin sang his “I Would Die 4 U” from the “Purple Rain” soundtrack while showing the area around the stadium lighting up in purple to form the symbol Prince used as his name for a while in the 90s.
While I understand why many felt the tribute was disrespectful given Prince’s comments on virtual duets along with Timberlake’s questionable moments from mocking Prince’s short height at the 2007 Golden Globes to dissing him in his verse on the collab diss track “Give It To Me” after Prince proclaimed sexy never left after Timberlake’s “SexyBack” became a big hit, I thought it was a nice hometown tribute to one of their own and also glad he didn’t bring out a Prince hologram as they had originally planned to.
I honestly think a lot of the backlash to the Halftime Show is due to the larger backlash Timberlake is facing from his latest album and singles which has led many to re-examine his past behavior including his last halftime performance in 2004 that resulted in the infamous “wardrobe malfunction” with Janet Jackson in which he largely skated by without consequences as Janet dealt with all the backlash with Justin not doing much to stand by her.
In the end, while the show was enjoyable to watch I don’t see many people remembering it when they look back at halftime shows.