During the press conference, Timberlake shot down the idea of having any special guests during his performance, including a much-whispered surprise appearance by Janet Jackson.
“To be honest, I had a ton of grand ideas about special guests. There’s a whole list. I think Vegas has a lot of odds on it, from ‘NSYNC to Jay [JAY-Z] to Chris Stapleton to Janet,” he said, according to People.
But, ultimately, Timberlake decided instead to just bring his longtime band, the Tennessee Kids. “I feel like they’re my special guests and I’m excited to rock the stage.”
The Grammy winning singer also confirmed that he would be playing his hit song, “Can’t Stop the Feeling” and that he would be “doing a few things with this halftime show they’ve never quite done before,” he wouldn’t disclose any more details than that.
“That’s all I am giving away! I’m not giving away anything else, so don’t even try it,” he said.
Double standard accusations
Of course, not everyone is happy about Timberlake returning to the halftime stage.
Back in 2004, a “wardrobe malfunction” forever changed the rules around the Super Bowl halftime show, and Jackson took most of the blame. The stunt, done during a performance with Timberlake, left one of Jackson’s nipple-ring clad, bare breasts exposed on national television. While she was forced to issue an apology, Timberlake’s reputation remained crystal clear.
Ever since the “Nipplegate” controversy, there have been rumors that Jackson was blacklisted from ever coming back to the Super Bowl. Timberlake was also accused at the time of not doing enough to stand up for her, even though he has claimed that the two continue to have a good relationship.
While the NFL has denied those rumors, the fact that Timberlake is back has reopened those wounds for Jackson fans. After all, the white man is back while the Black woman continues to be entrenched in rumors of being blacklisted. Any way you look at it, it’s a bad look.