Justin Timberlake’s Super Bowl halftime performances tend to make headlines for their controversy, as his 2004 incident with Janet Jackson’s nipple shows.
But this year, the drama started — and ended — even before the performance.
When news broke yesterday that Timberlake’s performance this year would include a holographic appearance by the late singer Prince, who passed away in 2016, Prince’s close friend Sheila E. Drummer took to Twitter to express her dismay.
“Prince told me don’t ever let anyone do a hologram of me. Not cool if this happens!” She tweeted with a news release on her late friend’s virtual appearance.
Indeed, in a 1998 interview with Guitar World, Prince himself said as much.
He was asked if he would ever perform with a digital representation of an artist from the past, and he said:
“That’s the most demonic thing imaginable. Everything is as it is, and it should be. If I was meant to jam with Duke Ellington, we would have lived in the same age. That whole virtual reality thing… it really is demonic. And I am not a demon.”
Drummer’s tweet — and Prince’s sentiments — apparently made it back to Timberlake himself, because a few hours later, she updated Prince fans on Twitter, saying that she had spoken to Timberlake “and he shared heartfelt words of respect for Prince & the Purple fans.”
So, the verdict is that there will be no Prince performance at the Super Bowl this year or, if the artist posthumously gets his way, in any subsequent years.
And given that Timberlake has already quashed rumors of guest appearances from everyone from *NSync and Janet Jackson, it looks like Timberlake will be appearing with just his band, the Tennessee Kids, in front of the expected audience of over 100 million. And that’s A-OK with us.