How the Flaming Lips made Justin Timberlake cool

 

Think about Justin Timberlake’s position in popular culture right now. Dude is absolutely everywhere. He’s what they call in da biz, a classic triple-threat (he sings, dances and acts). Heck, the dude could probably be a octuple threat if he wanted to be (writing, painting, sculpting, trapeze, Grand Canyon-jumping).

But it’s hard to remember that once upon a time, JT was only a double-threat, singing and dancing with N’Sync. Yes, there was a time when he wasn’t so unabashedly accepted by every breathing human on the planet.

Before he hosted “Saturday Night Live” for the first time a decade ago, most people just knew him as the dude from that boy band who was the only person to be able to say he had gotten busy with Britney Spears.

RELATED: JT ON HIS MOST RECENT “SNL” MOMENT

Sure, he had a few awesome solo singles by that time, but it wasn’t until the “SNL” appearance in October of 2003 that he began to achieve universal acceptance and the world learned just how funny he was.

But by the time he did “SNL,” JT had already started popping up in strange places, and we think we’ve located the first, in this odd, forgotten clip from the summer of 2003, where he sat in with the Flaming Lips on the British TV show, “Top of the Pops.”

He took off a giant dolphin mask before the performance and happily filled in the bottom end and sang along as Wayne Coyne sang about Yoshimi battling pink robots.

From then on, when he sang, “Don’t be so quick to walk away,” we made sure we stuck around.

Justin Timberlake and the Flaming Lips enjoyed some tender time together in 2003. (PHOTO CREDIT: Theo Wargo/WireImage)
Justin Timberlake and the Flaming Lips enjoyed some tender time together in 2003.
(PHOTO CREDIT: Theo Wargo/WireImage)


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