Justin Timberlake tore through a bevy of his hits including “Suit & Tie,” “Rock Your Body,” “SexyBack” and his new song, “Filthy,” during his performance at the Super Bowl LII Halftime Show.
Timberlake spanned several eras and styles he’s hit through his career. He opened the 13-minutes set flanked by laser lights and dancing with fans backstage for the funky “Filthy” before sliding into a choreographed “Rock Your Body” before heading to the stage, in the middle of the field. A slowed-down groove of a horn-punctuated “SexyBack” was backed by his band, The Tennessee Kids. The horn-fueled, rocking “My Love” followed, which included a lot of jumping around. “Cry Me a River” was turned into a celebratory affair versus the emotionally resonant original.
Timberlake danced onto the field for “Suit & Tie” and a medley of slow jams, which featured him playing the piano for “Until the End of Time.” Since the show was in Minneapolis, Timberlake also sang Prince’s “I Would Die 4 U” in front of a projection of Prince as a pseudo-duet. An overhead shot showed the arena was covered in purple lighting that morphed into Prince’s trademark symbol in a touching tribute.
“Paying tribute to Prince was something JT highlighted as an important moment for this show, and we spent quite a bit of time ensuring this moment would be true to his legacy,” said the performance’s creative visual lead, Fireplay’s Nick Whitehouse, to Rolling Stone. “Ultimately, Justin decided that the only person who could do Prince justice is Prince.”
Timberlake then delivered a handclap-buoyed “Mirrors” and “Can’t Stop the Feeling,” which included the pop star scaling stairs in the venue to greet the audience. Dancers dressed in colorful outfits kept the energy up on the field, concluding the halftime.
Timberlake’s set marked his record-setting third time playing the Super Bowl, following appearances at Super Bowls XXXV and XXXVII. The latter performance, in 2004, became infamous when Janet Jackson joined the singer onstage and Timberlake, during a rendition of “Rock Your Body,” reached and pulled off a piece of Jackson’s bustier, exposing her breast.
In a recent interview with Zane Lowe, Timberlake spoke about the wardrobe malfunction, saying, “I stumbled through it … to be quite honest, I had my wires crossed. It’s just something that you have to look back on and go, ‘OK, you can’t change what’s happened, but you can move forward and learn from it … It’s just one of those things were you go, like, ‘Yeah, what do you want me to say?’ We’re not going to do that again.”
Timberlake released his new album, Man of the Woods, last Friday. The pop star will kick off a North American tour in support of the record March 13th in Toronto.