How Will Justin Timberlake's Super Bowl Halftime Show Rank?


Justin Timberlake isn’t giving away much about his performance at Sunday’s Super Bowl halftime show.

At a press conference on Thursday, Timberlake insisted there will be no N’Sync reunion and no special appearances by JAY-Z, Chris Stapleton or Janet Jackson.

“To be honest, I had a ton of grand ideas about special guests,” he said. “But this year, I'm just excited. My band The Tennessee Kids, they're my special guests, and I'm excited this year to rock the stage.”

Timberlake wouldn’t reveal the set list, other than to say his smash hit “Can’t Stop the Feeling” will be on it. Surely we'll also hear something from his new album Man of the Woods.

If Timberlake is serious about not having special guests, he’ll be the second halftime act to perform without any since The Who in 2010 (Lady Gaga had no special guests last year) and only the ninth artist ever to go it alone.

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It will be Timberlake’s third time performing in the Super Bowl halftime show – previously he performed in 2001 as part of N’Sync and then in 2004 as a solo artist.

The 37-year-old pop star will become the second artist to do the big show more than twice, after musician Al Hirt, who performed in 1967, 1970, 1972 and 1978. (Youth ensemble Up With People entertained in 1976, 1980, 1982 and 1986 but had different performers.)

Several acts have done the halftime show twice, including Beyoncé, Nelly, Bruno Mars and Gloria Estefan.

Only two Canadians have had the honour of headlining halftime at the Super Bowl: Shania Twain in 2003 and Dan Aykroyd, as part of the Blues Brothers, in 1997.

As we wait to see what Timberlake delivers on Sunday, here is a look back at five of the most memorable Super Bowl halftime shows:

Lady Gaga (2017)

There were a million reasons to love what the pop superstar did during the halftime show. She was lowered onto the stage (after appearing in a pre-taped clip that showed her jumping from the roof) and belted out a high-energy set of her biggest hits.

Katy Perry (2015)

Four costumes, a giant glittering tiger, lots of hits, and appearances by Lenny Kravitz and Missy Elliott? Let’s not forget those dancing sharks that quickly become meme fodder. Watch it here.

Beyoncé (2013) 

Who run the world? Beyoncé, of course. Queen Bey reunited with Destiny’s Child members Michelle Williams and Kelly Rowland for a set that included hits like “Single Ladies” and “Bootylicious.” How could you not be crazy in love?

Prince (2007)

There were wind and rain by the time Prince took to the stage in Dolphin Stadium in Miami, but he rocked out anyway. He performed some covers, including Queen’s “We Will Rock You” and Foo Fighters’ “Best of You,” but also did his own hits like (aptly) “Purple Rain.” There was even a deliberately phallic guitar silhouette.

Michael Jackson (1993)

OK, so he mostly lip-synced, but Michael Jackson delivered an explosive performance at the Super Bowl in Pasadena. In a show filled with dancing, pyro and other special effects, he stormed through hits like “Billie Jean,” “Black or White,” and “Jam.” Things got more serious with “We Are the World” and “Heal the World.” Jackson's entrance ranks among the best – lookalikes appeared atop billboards before the King of Pop himself blasted through the floor of the stage.

The Super Bowl airs Sunday on CTV.