05/02/2018 17:30 GMT

Justin Timberlake Speaks Out Over Controversial Prince Tribute During Super Bowl Performance

Not everyone was a fan of the tribute.

Justin Timberlake has opened up about his decision to include a tribute to Prince in his Super Bowl Halftime Show performance.

On Sunday (4 February), hours before Justin was due to take to the stage in Minneapolis, it was rumoured that he would be including a hologram of Prince during his Halftime Show.

These rumours were met with a negative reception online, particularly due to the ‘Purple Rain’ singer having previously expressed disdain for holograms of dead celebrities being used during live performances, as well as Prince and Justin Timberlake’s past beef.

When the Halftime Show eventually took place, a tribute to Prince was included, though this amounted to a giant projection of the late pop icon being shown in the stadium, with Justin opening up to Jimmy Fallon about how the tribute came to be a part of his performance.

Justin on 'The Tonight Show'

Just hours after taking to the stage, Justin told Jimmy Kimmel: “It’s a moment for me if I’m being quite honest, because [Prince] has always been the pinnacle of musicianship for me...

“The serendipity and synergy that we would be in Minneapolis, and that he’s such a special thing here aside from what he is all over the world, I just felt like I wanted to do something for this city and something for him that would just be the ultimate homage to what I consider the G.O.A.T. [greatest of all time] of musicians.”

To rapturous applause from the studio audience, Justin added that he had spoken to Questlove, the frontman of Jimmy’s house band The Roots, who he described as an “encyclopedia on music” and “the gatekeeper on Prince”, and got his personal “thumbs up” over the tribute.

Christopher Polk via Getty Images
The tribute featured a projection, not a hologram

In life, Prince and Justin Timberlake had a brief spat when the former said during an awards show acceptance speech: “Whoever is claiming that they are bringing sexy back, sexy never left.”

JT responded with a lyrical diss in the Timbaland track ‘Give It To Me’, where he was heard singing: “We missed you on the charts last week. Damn, that’s right, you wasn’t there.

“Now if sexy never left, then why is everybody on my shit? Don’t hate on me just because you didn’t come up with it.”

Christopher Polk via Getty Images
Justin Timberlake at the Super Bowl

Justin’s overall performance at the Super Bowl got a mixed reception from viewers, particularly in comparison with performers in recent years like Beyoncé, Lady Gaga and Katy Perry.

Meanwhile, Pink’s rendition of the US national anthem at the beginning of the Super Bowl also divided social media users, with the ‘So What’ singer posting a strong message for her detractors.

Watch Justin’s full ‘Tonight Show’ interview above.

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