Performing during the Super Bowl halftime show is a huge accomplishment for any star. As a solo artist, Justin Timberlake had his second chance to get it right after his risqué performance with Janet Jackson in 2004, this time around incorporating a Prince tribute that left many fans scratching their heads.

The pop star began by giving fans a taste of his own catalog, including crowd favorites such as “SexyBack,” “Cry Me a River” and “Suit & Tie.” He then launched into a dedication to The Purple One, a move that, while seemingly harmless, has true Prince fans crying foul.



Timberlake was first blasted for his tribute because many felt it was inauthentic. While it’s understandable to show the deceased musician love in his own city, the Tennessee kid infamously took several digs at the ’80s icon on Timberland-produced track “Give It To Me,” back in 2007.


The line is said to have been in response to the prolific songwriter’s own taunting of the Senorita singer, as Prince took a slight dig at JT’s hit “SexyBack.”

“For whoever is claiming they are bringing sexy back, sexy never left,” proclaimed the legend during a 2006 Emmy Awards party, according to Contact Music.

Timberlake also accepted an award on Prince’s behalf during the 2007 Golden Globes, mocking his 5’2 stature in the process.

Fans also aren’t happy with the fact that Timberlake entertained the idea of performing alongside a Prince hologram, a move the man himself said he’d disapprove of. Close friend and drummer Sheila E. expressed the concern to the former N’SYNC member and assured fans he wouldn’t go against the artist’s wish.

Instead, his image was projected on a large billowing sheet behind the stage while JT performed his classic “I Would Die 4 U.”

Though Prince and JT didn’t have the closest relationship, Prince is still clearly one of Timberlake’s biggest musical influences, which may be why he’s attempting to make amends for their falling out, even after his untimely death in 2016. Die-hard Prince fans, however, just aren’t buying it.

Check out reactions below.





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