Fourteen years after his controversial performance alongside Janet Jackson at the Super Bowl, Justin Timberlake returned to headline Sunday’s Pepsi Halftime Show at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis on Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 4). Following recent halftime performers Lady Gaga, Beyoncé, Bruno Mars, Coldplay, and Katy Perry, the pop superstar delivered an electrifying dance-heavy medley of his biggest hits, including an homage to Prince.
Starting off on a stage inside the arena, Timberlake—decked out in a Stella McCartney leather black fringe jacket, red bandana, and camouflage pants with his own limited edition Air Jordan III JTH sneakers—kicked off his 13-minute set with his Timbaland-produced single “Filthy.” He and his dancers then emerged onto a lit-up catwalk to “Rock Your Body” before making their way onto the field for “SexyBack.” Joined by the Tennessee Kids, he delivered “My Love” and showed off his fancy footwork, dancing to “Cry Me a River” over the NFL logo on the field.
Perched atop a glowing box in the middle of the stadium, he delved into 2013’s “Suit & Tie,” while a marching band backed him up.
But the highlight came when he took a seat at a white piano for his ballad “Until the End of Time,” which he turned into a mash-up of “I Would Die 4 U.” As original footage of Prince performing the song was projected onto a curtain, he dueted with the late icon.
“Two fingers in the air for Prince tonight,” said J.T. as the stadium and city of Minneapolis lit up in purple with the Prince symbol in honor of the hometown legend.
Following “Mirrors,” he capped off his exhilarating set with “Can’t Stop the Feeling!” As dancers hit the field in colorful outfits, J.T. headed into the stands to dance with the audience, snapping a selfie with a young fan before the lights went down.
The performance didn’t come without some controversy. There were earlier reports that Timberlake planned to incorporate a “hologram” of Prince, but after speaking with J.T., Prince’s longtime friend Sheila E. announced that a hologram would not be involved in the performance, in keeping with the late singer’s wishes.
Timberlake’s former bandmates *NSYNC and Janet Jackson also did not make surprise cameos. On Saturday, Janet cleared up the rumors, while her fans declared Super Bowl Sunday “Janet Jackson Appreciation Day,” sharing their love for the singer on social media.
Timberlake, who released his latest album Man of the Woods on Friday (Feb. 2), will bring his live show to arenas this spring. His “Man of the Woods Tour” kicks off March 13 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto.