Justin Timberlake’s “Filthy” Halftime Show

The “Man of the Woods” underwhelms on Sunday’s stage

Vincent Bufano, Senior Reporter

Justin Timberlake headlined the NFL Super Bowl Halftime Show for a second time last Sunday. He is receiving backlash and mixed reviews from critics about his performance. Timberlake seemed to blend in with his numerous backup dancers with a wardrobe that was hideously mismatched, and which had no cohesive theme. Timberlake himself garnered confusion and laughs for his ensemble. Individuals took to Twitter to express and compare his woodsy outfit to outrageous paintings and other memes, shaming him for an extremely ugly ensemble.

The singer/actor delivered a quite underwhelming performance with mediocre, robotic dancing. It was a huge let down to see him sing his best songs but not give his best performance. Timberlake sang songs like “Rock Your Body,” “Mirrors,” and “Sexy Back,” but it was hard to decipher whether he was really singing or not as it was extremely difficult to hear his voice during the set. The “Super Bowl Selfie Kid” seen towards the end of the performance attempting several times to get a picture with the “Can’t Stop The Feeling” singer seemed to steal the show, going viral on social media that night. After snapping a selfie, the kid was seen staring at his phone as if he was confused, and he acted as if he did not know who Timberlake was thus generating mass funny reactions. Days prior, rumors claimed the American singer would perform alongside a purple hologram of the late Prince–the actual duet was chilling, with Prince’s image projected onto white fabric. (In fact, in a decade-old interview, Prince himself once referred to tributes like this using technology as “demonic.”)

During the lead-up for his big concert, Justin also dropped an album called “Man of The Woods,” a work he claimed would go back “to his roots.” Not only did his longtime fans trash the album, critics were not in love with it, either. Music reviewers such as Entertainment Weekly, NME, and The Guardian graciously gave Justin an accumulative 3 out of five stars. Metacritic, a widely appreciated rating service which gives mainstream artists a percentage out of 100, provided the singer with a 57 out of 100. His lacking Superbowl appearance could have been because he just took the opportunity as free promotion for his new record.

This past Sunday’s show was Justin’s return to the Superbowl stage, 14 years after his joint act with pop sensation Janet Jackson, one of the most controversial performances in history.

That year, after singing the line “bet I’ll have you naked by the end of this song,” from his hit “Rock Your Body,” Timberlake ripped a large portion of Janet’s costume off, ultimately exposing her right breast to an unprepared 90 million viewers. While it seemed like Timberlake was excused for the action, Jackson was met with a slew of hate, and she was ultimately banned from ever performing a halftime show again. It’s hard to believe Justin was granted access back onto the stage over a decade later.

Timberlake is a very talented and well respected man and although his performance had its ups, there was absolutely no wow factor. Just take a look at last year’s performer. Lady Gaga sang live the entire show, danced hard and full out, and, oh, did I mention she jumped from the rooftop of the stadium? Justin failed to deliver a special and impactful performance. Maybe he should stay, as he says, “A Man Of The Woods” and NOT do the Super Bowl next time.