Search icon


05th Feb 2018

Justin Timberlake called out for his ‘disrespectful’ Prince tribute at the Super Bowl

Keeley Ryan

It’s been 14 years since he last played the Super Bowl.

But Justin Timberlake’s return to the football field (and the stage on it) was met with mixed reaction from fans.

The singer played the Super Bowl LII half-time show in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

And following the 13 minute show, fans took to social media to weigh in on the 37-year-old’s performance – which included him singing alongside a controversial projection of Prince.

Fans were less than impressed when, after he kicked things off with his new track Filthy, he segued into Rock Your Body – the same song he and Janet Jackson sang in 2004.

He played a number of other hits in the medley, including Cry Me A River, SexyBack, My Love and Until the End of Time. 

After he took to the stage with the Tennessee Kids, he hit up centre field for a dance break with some of his backup dancers – before jumping into The 20/20 Experience setlist, which including Suit & Tie and Mirrors. 

The dad-of-one also controversially performed a tribute to Prince, singing the late musical icon’s I Would Die 4 U. 

Footage of the 57-year-old played behind the former boyband star as Timberlake played on the piano.

He rounded out the performance with Can’t Stop This Feeling, joined by a number of colourful backup dancers.  

The 37-year-old singer’s tribute to Prince was met with social media outrage, however, as Prince has previously said he was against using technology to ‘revive’ deceased artisits.

In a 1998 interview with Guitar World, Prince was asked using hologram technology to perform with an artist from the past.

“Certainly not. That’s the most demonic thing imaginable. 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,” he said. “

“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.”

Here’s how people responded on social media:


Other Twitter users took to the platform to thank Timberlake for the performance, insisting that Prince would have liked it.

The former *NSYNC star was announced at the headliner late last year.

It marked the singer’s third time performing on the Super Bowl half-time stage, according to the NFL – the most of any entertainer.

He played the 2001 Super Bowl with his former N’Sync bandmates, then sang Rock Your Body with Janet Jackson at the 2004 half-time show, which led to a “wardrobe malfunction” on stage.