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Justin Timberlake’s halftime show technically did not feature a Prince hologram after all

Prince fans still may not be happy.

Justin Timberlake said he wouldn’t be joined by a Prince hologram during his Super Bowl halftime show on Sunday night. Technically, that was true. But he did perform with a large video projection of Prince as he sang his song ‘I Would Die For U’ as a tribute to him.

Timberlake did not perform with his old *NSYNC friends or Janet Jackson either, but even though the projection of Prince technically wasn’t a hologram, fans still may not be happy.

According to Pitchfork, Sheila E. talked to Timberlake about using a Prince hologram, and Timberlake told her that he wouldn't use one.

TMZ reported that a Prince hologram was scheduled to make an appearance during the show — you know, like when Tupac’s hologram showed up at Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg’s set at Coachella 2012.

Prince was a beloved Minnesotan, a music icon, a previous Super Bowl halftime show performer, a fantastic human being who’s the subject of countless folk tales, and a damn good basketball player even before the Chappelle’s Show sketch. In a 2017 interview, Prince’s sister Tyka Nelson suggested that his hologram could be used for performance “as long as it is of excellent quality.” Timberlake and the Super Bowl are in Minnesota, therefore it seems like a hologram would be a nice tribute to The Purple One.

On the other hand, Prince would’ve hated this. Here’s Prince in a 1998 interview with Guitar World:

Guitar World: “With digital editing, it is now possible to create a situation where you could jam with any artist from the past. Would you ever consider doing something like that?”

Prince: “Certainly not. 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. Also, what they did with that Beatles song [“Free As a Bird”], manipulating John Lennon’s voice to have him singing from across the grave... that’ll never happen to me. To prevent that kind of thing from happening is another reason why I want artistic control.”

For what it’s worth, Sheila E., Prince’s longtime friend who sang backup vocals and played drums on several of his albums, says there won’t be any hologram.

Aside from his likely disapproval, Prince and Justin Timberlake had a little beef going on a decade ago. A month after Timberlake’s 2006 single “SexyBack” was released, Prince reportedly mocked Timberlake at an Emmys afterparty by yelling to a crowd, “For whoever is claiming that they are bringing sexy back, sexy never left!”

Fast-forward to January 2007 when Prince won Best Original Song for “The Song of the Heart” from Happy Feet. Timberlake was the one presenting the award, but Prince wasn’t around to accept it. Timberlake then mocked Prince’s height:

Then in February 2007, Timberlake made a reference to Prince’s diss in his feature on Timbaland’s “Give It To Me”:

We missed you on the charts last week

Damn, that’s right, you wasn’t there

If s-sexy never left, then why’s everybody on my shi-i-it

Don’t hate on me just because you didn’t come up with it

Perhaps he and Prince privately squashed their beef since then, because Timberlake had lots of nice things about him to say during his Super Bowl press conference on Thursday:

“In my opinion, the greatest all-around musician I can think of in popular culture,” Timberlake said. “He’s a huge influence on me. It seems like maybe braggadocious to say but I’m going to say it anyway: The time I got to spend around him, with him, talking about music, those are memories I’ll keep with me forever. Because he’s always been such a big idol of mine, it feels nice to be here.”

How are people reacting to this? Not well! You can apply any and all GIFs that feature a disapproving Prince, and that sums up everyone’s feelings about turning him into a hologram.

I personally side with Team ‘No Prince Hologram,’ but we’ll see what happens. If it turns out to be terrible, then so be it. Prince’s 2007 halftime show exists somewhere on the internet. You should watch that instead.


The worst Super Bowl halftime show ever