CO. OPINIONS EDITOR
This past Sunday, the Super Bowl marked an impressive defeat of New England’s finest, but before that ending came the eagerly awaited Halftime Show. Everyone and their mother who was not watching the football game came running in once someone screamed “It’s halftime! Lady Gaga is dropping down from the ceiling!” Or, at least we all hoped that would be the case after her memorable performance last year. Instead, we watched Justin Timberlake appear from the crowd.
In the recent rise of the #MeToo movement, as well as #TimesUp, Justin Timberlake seemed an odd choice as a performer for a nationally seen occasion such as the Super Bowl. You may be thinking that his involvement in the infamous Janet Jackson nip-slip is in the past. For those who do not know, during the 2004 Super Bowl, Timberlake ripped Jacksons shirt, revealing her nipple for a brief moment. Apparently, it was originally a planned part of the performance to rip her costume, albeit last minute, that went wrong.
To most millennials, the event of the decade faded into a distant memory that we only remembered as the first time we saw a nipple that was not our own. Except, you probably do not know that as a result of that fiasco, Janet Jackson was forced to record a video apology (Justin Timberlake apologized but never was forced to), for what was an originally a planned part of the performance that went wrong. She was then blacklisted from MTV as well as other music television channels. Justin Timberlake is still a revered pop star in some circles, whereas I have not heard Janet Jackson’s name regularly since 2005.
Besides the blatant misogyny of “Nipplegate,” as it was so quaintly called, JT’s performance at the 2018 Super Bowl was lackluster, to say the least. While the tight choreography was fairly mesmerizing, and the costuming well done, the rest was smoke and mirrors. Literally, the closing rendition of his song “Mirrors” was just the crowd surrounding the stage waving mirrors through the air. He did a brief rendition of Prince’s song “I Would Die 4 U” with a projected image of the artist behind him, which — though it was a beautiful tribute that ended with the lights of Minneapolis turning purple, it brought up the controversy of Prince stating that he never wanted to be a hologram, reportedly calling it “demonic.” According to Vulture.com, permission was given by Prince’s estate to use video clips of his performances. Even so, a translucent projection seems as close to a hologram that you can get without just invoking the ghost of Prince from beyond the grave.
Whatever rich person pop music purgatory he pulled himself out of to perform this year obviously held him for too long. Though I did not view him as the best choice to perform, I was excited to see what he would bring to the stage as a revived performer. At the end of the performance, I was left wondering if this was what a Michael Bublé Halftime Show would feel like: Disappointing, underwhelming, and punctuated by a bunch of 40-year-olds fainting over a declining legend.