The Mancunion

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Review: Justin Timberlake Super Bowl 2018

A disappointing third appearance at this grandest of pop stages

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Who really lost the Super Bowl in 2018… Was it New England Patriots? Or was it the Philadelphia Eagles? Who knows.

Ultimately, with a performance that was generally underwhelming, the real loser was Justin Timberlake. He has a number of hits — most of which he managed to fit into his 12 minute performance. Yet, somehow it didn’t seem enough.

This was Timberlake’s third appearance at the Super Bowl, following his 2001 performance with N-Sync and his 2004 performance with Janet Jackson (maybe you know it better as the Super Bowl ‘Nipplegate’).

The previous years included Lady Gaga in 2017, who used the platform to voice the fact that she’s an advocate for the LGBTQ+ community, and Beyoncé back in 2013, using the platform to pay tribute to Black Lives Matter. Timberlake missed the opportunity to speak up. Not only that, but he also missed a trick when deciding on guest performances. He could have brought N-Sync back together, got Jay-Z up on stage or even Timberland — any of them would have really taken the performance up a level.

He did, however, ‘sing’ with Prince — a controversial move for many. Why? Because back in 2007 Timberlake dissed Prince on ‘Give It To Me’. This, along with the fact that Timberlake famously mocked Prince’s height at the Golden Globes back in 2007, made it a questionable move. Not only that, is this what Prince really would have wanted? It does have to be mentioned, however, that turning Minneapolis purple in honour of Prince was a nice way to honour the pop legend.

The performance began with Timberlake’s famous pal Jimmy Fallon introducing him. Maybe I’m just a little bit bias, and also a little in love with his new song ‘Filthy’, but the 2018 Half Time Super Bowl Performance started off great! But as soon as he left that room it seemed that, like a lot of performers these days, JT prioritised his dance moves over his vocals. This was obvious for the songs ‘Rock your Body,’ ‘Senorita,’ and ‘Suit and Tie.’ Out of all the songs he sang only two of them — ‘Filthy’ and ‘Mirrors’ — were up to the standard I’d expect from Timberlake.

All in all, the performance was good. It could have been a lot better, but at the same time, there were certain moments where he managed to somewhat pull it back.

Had N-Sync graced the stage as a unit, and had he chosen to focus more on his vocals than his dance moves, the rating would have been higher.

7/10