Justin Timberlake halftime not a crowd pleaser

No Prince hologram during Justin Timberlake’s Super Bowl set Sheila E. promises

Modal Trigger Justin Timberlake Prince and Sheila E. Getty Images

"Minneapolis, Minnesota, this one's for you", he declared, singing a new arrangement of I Would Die 4 U over an archive recording of Prince's vocals, as images of the late superstar were projected behind him.

"I hear the @jimmyfallon show appropriated my sacred word #songversation Last night for a skit", the singer wrote on Twitter Monday (Feb. 5).

What's more, the UofM marching band's journey to the Super Bowl confirms the power of social media.

Rumours had been circulating ahead of the event that the pop star would cover a Prince song, with some even suggesting his performance would feature a hologram of the late singer. The students snagged the gig by creating the #UMNMarchWithJT hashtag back in October then asked everyone they knew to share it.

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In fact, it's been 15 years since a country artist took that stage. The Starliners danced among a sea of high school dancers from other schools surrounding the stage in the early part of the show.

Even his outfit was tame and odd. (It was a step up from his last Super Bowl, where he wore an ill-fitting pair of khaki trousers and an oversized black suit jacket). Clad in a camo suit and a shirt emblazoned with a mountain scene, JT touted his new hipster-meets-mountaineer persona, which has accompanied his recently released (and not very good) album Man of the Woods. Pharrell and Chad Hugo rarely fire a blank, and here they supervise more hits than misses, but on occasion Timberlake does disappear up a musical cul de sacs where you can't see the wood for the trees. Like his nationally televised performance, his new songs lack heart. However, instead of that happening, everyone took out their phone to record it, including a 13-year-old MA boy named Ryan McKenna.

And I mean that he's really proud of it.

Still, Timberlake's whip-crack choreography was so impressive it took a couple of minutes for the true horror of his outfit to really sink in. "It's a way to reach people in a way you can't get anywhere else". Drake's voice is enough to unite America, and a Super Bowl performance that coincided with his newly released tracks would generate unfathomable hype that would energize any crowd - something JT just could not do.

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In an interview from back in Jan., Timberlake also opened up about that moment and how he "stumbled" after Jackson's notorious Super Bowl wardrobe malfunction. "I knew he was going to go viral".

Instead, Timberlake's show (broadcast on a five-second delay that was instigated after the 2004 Super Bowl) was largely controversy-free.

"Sorry Justin that your career is in the toilet at this point; Sorry Justin that nobody liked your last album; Sorry Justin that you're crying like a baby", the face of The Wendy Williams Show began her rant.

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