Justin Timberlake is getting what Janet Jackson will probably never be offered: a shot at Nipplegate redemption. Last night, October 22, Timberlake announced that he’ll be performing at next year’s Super Bowl halftime show, confirming rumors that had been circulating for weeks, by sharing a video involving bad accents, Jimmy Fallon, and shouting.
After it was official last night, Timberlake stopped by the Sunday Night Football broadcast to discuss what he has planned. It sounds like the NFL wants the most anodyne performance possible (via Billboard):
“What I really want to do is take the opportunity to put together a performance that feels like it unifies,” he told Tirico. “I feel like that would be the ultimate accomplishment, and then the icing on the cake is at some point, within that 12 minutes, that everybody is shaking their booty.”
He mentions last year’s bungee jump from Lady Gaga, and assures that his brittle old body won’t be pulling any similar stunts. “People are flying, and Lady Gaga jumped from the top of the stadium or something,” he said. “I don’t know, man. I’m 36 now. I don’t know how much of that I can do anymore.”
Host Mike Tirico also brought up the massive elephant in the room, surrounding the controversy from his notorious 2004 appearance with Jackson, in which the former *NSYNC member exposed Jackson’s breast for a few milliseconds. Tirico asked Timberlake if it came up at all during negotiations, and Timberlake assured that a similar controversy will not be happening again. “That won’t happen this time. There was a little bit of that. But… no, Mike, that’s not going to happen,” Timberlake said.
Unfortunately, one could assume that Jackson is effectively banned from all future Super Bowls—despite her and Timberlake’s joint responsibility in introducing millions of pre-pubescent boys to starburst-shaped nipple shields. Nipplegate led to a widespread crackdown on lewd acts during live broadcasts, a record fine from the FCC, and nearly half a decade’s worth of aging rockstar halftime shows in which no breasts could be exposed.
Nevertheless, I’ll be tuning in next February to find out how many songs from The 20/20 Experience I can remember.