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Critics slam Justin Timberlake’s ‘flat,’ ‘bleak,’ ‘meh’ Super Bowl halftime show

Christopher Polk/Getty Images

There is no debate over the fact that the Philadelphia Eagles won Super Bowl LII last night. The results of Justin Timberlake’s halftime performance, however, are not as cut and dry. This morning, the reviews started pouring in.

Responses ranged from strongly negative to “just kind of meh.” No one really loved even the Prince tribute, many citing Prince’s characterization of virtual duets as “demonic.” A few select quotes:

“The show was dizzying and not in a good way. Too busy. The vocals weren’t loud enough. Timberlake kept moving, but it was more about finding new settings rather than showcasing his fancy dancing.” Star Tribune

“Do you like me? That’s the latent question throbbing at the center of every Justin Timberlake song, and suddenly the answer is no.” The Washington Post

“Often, it sounded as if Mr. Timberlake were merely providing accent riffs to his own songs.” The New York Times

“‘Let me see you put your cell phones up, Minneapolis! Let’s light it up tonight,’ he hollered, in what might be the bleakest stage banter I have ever heard.” The New Yorker

“Timberlake’s set was not great, not terrible, and perhaps only memorable for its noticeable flop sweat. Frankly, it was just kind of meh.” Pitchfork

That is only the beginning of it. Keep reading for more reviews of Timberlake’s performance: the good, the bad and the ugly.

You're bringing sexy WHAT? Hey, Justin Timberlake, it’s hard to dance-dance-dance when we can’t hear-hear-hear what you’re saying!

Posted by Entertainment Weekly on Sunday, February 4, 2018

Justin Timberlake’s Super Bowl halftime show was fine—and defined by what he didn't do.

Posted by The Ringer on Sunday, February 4, 2018

"Justin Timberlake is effectively, if imprecisely, the Tom Brady of music, the boring, fail-safe pick to helm a half-time show."

Posted by The Guardian on Sunday, February 4, 2018

Well, there wasn't a Prince hologram.

Posted by Vox on Sunday, February 4, 2018

At least there was no Prince hologram.

Posted by Los Angeles Times on Monday, February 5, 2018

Our pop music critic wasn't impressed. Many on Twitter seemed to agree.

Posted by Pioneer Press on Sunday, February 4, 2018

What’s your verdict on the halftime show?

  • Titus Kennedy

    Honestly, timing is everything, and sometimes pop stars show their humanity (which is actually much more prevalent than one might think). Could you imagine trying to put together a half-time show that would be noteworthy? Especially after receiving harsh criticism on a brand new work/album? The timing of it all explains why it might not have been the best half-time performance ever. There are so many things to consider. I’d say it was pretty cool that JT stuck around the kid who couldn’t get his phone to work — that showed a lot of poise and professionalism. The media cycle can chew any one up. Not saying that I even like JT, or his music, but I do know that his job has got to be difficult, all the glamour, fame, and money aside.

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  • Roland

    it would have been much better had the music & songs been engaging. Maybe that’s just me. A bunch of meh hip hop excerpts just didn’t cut it for me.