The Super Bowl, which is probably the Second Most American Day for America (the first being the Fourth of July hopefully), which glued thousands of families to their couches last Sunday to watch the underdog story of the Philadelphia Eagles as the team scored its first Super Bowl title.
Patriots fans were flustered, but you know who was even more frustrated? The sorry souls who were underwhelmed and exasperated with Justin Timberlake’s Halftime performance, regretting giving the program more visibility than it deserved.
And, in all honesty, people who thought Timberlake’s performance was, to say the least, disappointed have a right to think so.
The pop singer opened up with “Filthy,” presumably one of the worst songs in his catalog. I mean, opening up with the line “haters gon’ say it’s fake” can only gather so much praise and inevitably make you the laughing stock of music outlets everywhere.
Criminally-raunchy lyrics aside (“Put your filthy hands all over me”? Don’t mind if I don’t), the opening setting of a nightclub-concert hybrid with cropped-top women filming the superstar was uninspiring and anticlimactic considering how blown away the Super Bowl Halftime performance is supposed to make you feel, not to mention borderline insensitive considering the traction the #MeToo movement has been gaining recently.
The rest of the performance almost felt like Timberlake’s attempt at digging himself out of the hole his opener put him in (spoiler alert: he didn’t succeed).
In true Y2K boy-band fashion, *NSYNC – I mean, Timberlake followed up with “Rock Your Body” as he strutted down the runway with facile choreography that pales in comparison to Beyonce’s.
Then again, you wouldn’t want to ask too much of Justin Timberlake by requesting dance moves that didn’t revolve around a swinging microphone, which is where “Suit & Tie” found itself floundering despite being backed up by a massive marching band.
“SexyBack,” “My Love,” and “Cry Me a River” also appeared in the performance, but they seemed to be sung more because Timberlake had to fill up his time slot with something and those were the only songs that were left rather than forming a set to remember. All three were presented in the same formula of “Filthy” and “Rock Your Body”: a choreography-drizzled, superfluously-lighted rave.
And then there was the gravestone to Timberlake’s Halftime show: his “tribute to Prince.” While some may consider allotting almost two out of the 13 minutes Timberlake had to Prince a respectful honor, others believe that casting the cultural icon to a background sheet was not the best thing to do, especially considering the controversy surrounding Sheila E.’s statement concerning Prince’s stance on holograms.
Either way, reducing Prince to something as illusive and artificial as a projection almost seemed to disfigure the posthumous singer.
So why bother talking about the closing numbers of Timberlake’s performance? The audience was already set on their perception about his last fifteen minutes of fame beforehand. At least US Ambassador Nikki Haley liked the show…probably because it didn’t have enough substance to get her riled up about like the Grammys.