It's not been a particularly great few days for Justin Timberlake. His much-hyped hybrid folk-pop album "Man of the Woods" dropped last Friday and critics were ... well, let’s just say they were not exactly impressed. The NYT’s Jon Caramanica went so far as to declare,“We are now approaching the 12th year of the national delusion that Justin Timberlake remains an essential pop star.” Ouch.
At least he had his Super Bowl halftime show to redeem himself, right? And Timberlake had a lot more than a middling album to seek redemption for. Does the name Janet Jackson ring any bells? The last time JT took the Super Bowl stage resulted in the unfortunate and now infamous 2004 “Nipplegate” that almost sunk both of the artists’ careers.
So, yeah, a lot was riding on this performance. And it was nothing special. In fact, it was panned by a bipartisan majority of sports fans. The songs were fine, the dance moves were okay, the energy was even, and the Prince tribute was — not at all what Prince would've wanted. Images of the Paisley Park legend and Minneapolis native were projected onto a giant drop cloth, and the only takeaway was "God, this isn't a tenth as good as the original's 2007 halftime show (RIP)."
He had the chance to apologize to Janet — and he didn't. He could've brought some special guests to the stage — instead, he was a show boat. Then there was the extra AV rehearsal time which would've gone a long way — instead, he sang into a dead mic for several bars. Finally, making it a selfie-focussed fap-show was just plain sad (you're nearly 40, big guy. That kid you were dancing with? He wasn't filming you — he was Googling "who is Justin Timberlake").
The lesson here is that JT won't be selling out any arenas in the near future.
We do feel kinda bad for him. So here's a small collection of his best moments over the years to remind us of why he was booked in the first place.
Like the time he and Britney Spears hit the red carpet in coordinated, acid wash Canadian tuxedos.
And the time he put his d*ck in a box and America couldn’t wait to unwrap it.
And that time he single handedly brought sexy back.
And then that time he was a mother-lover and we loved it (even though it was weird).
And that other time he was seriously charming and almost upstaged Mila Kunis in "Friends With Benefits."
And finally, that time he rocked cornrows. Actually, you know what? Never mind, that was awful.