Photo by Amanda Koellner
Word came last week that JAY-Z had turned down an offer to perform at the 2018 Super Bowl halftime show as an act of solidarity with the unemployed Colin Kaepernick. While the NFL said at the time that “no decisions have been made on the performer(s),” it now appears one of Hov’s frequent collaborators may get the billing: Justin Timberlake.
Us Weekly is reporting that JT is “finalizing” a deal to headline the halftime show. There’s even a chance that JAY may tag along as support, though it appears that the NFL is focusing on one performer for now. Of course, the last time Timberlake played the Big Game with a special guest, he ended up introducing the phrase “wardrobe malfunction” into the lexicon and changing the way the game was broadcast.
It’s hard to forget the infamous “Nipplegate” incident of 2004, during which Timberlake “accidentally” removed a piece of Janet Jackson’s outfit, revealing her bare breast and pierced nipple to the world for the briefest of seconds. The Federal Communications Commission fined CBS, who broadcast that year’s game, $550,000 and imposed a rule that the Super Bowl must forever be aired on a five-second delay. For the artists, the incident essentially tanked Jackson’s career, with major corporations like Viacom (which owned MTV and CBS) and Clear Channel Communications blacklisting Jackson’s music and videos.
Timberlake’s was barely scratched in the aftermath and his career was allowed to flourish over the years. While it still makes perfect sense for an artist of his caliber to headline the Super Bowl halftime show, one would hope if he does indeed return, he’d do so with at least a nod of an apology towards Jackson.
In the meantime, Timberlake recently returned to the live stage with a headlining appearance at the Pilgrimage Music Festival. To open his set, he covered Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come”.