Rumors have been circulating for weeks, that Justin Timberlake will once again headline the Super Bowl Halftime Show in 2018, and PopWrapped can exclusively confirm that the rumors are indeed true. Both the NFL and Timberlake are expected to make the official announcement in the coming days. I spoke to several sources, familiar with the deal, who tell me, “The deal is done. The ink is dry.” also stating “Timberlake is not only one of the biggest stars in the world, but has also become a legacy artist since his last Super Bowl performance. He was the first choice to headline.” This will be Timberlake's third Super Bowl Halftime Show performance. He appeared with *NSYNC in 2001 and as a solo artist, with Janet Jackson in 2004.
Perhaps the biggest news we obtained, was that Janet Jackson will indeed be joining him. If you'll remember in 2004, the NFL, and many Americans were in uproar, after Timberlake exposed Jackson's bare breast, at the end of the performance. The incident, which was later dubbed as the “Nipplegate,” caused such backlash, Jackson was blacklisted from performing again. It also quickly prompted the FCC to institute a permanent, five-second delay on all live broadcasts. Following the performance, Timberlake and Jackson publicly apologized for the scandal, although many speculated that the entire incident was a planned publicity stunt. Timberlake exited the scandal relatively unscathed, while Janet absorbed a tremendous amount of heat, perhaps unfairly. In the past, Timberlake admitted that he “could’ve handled it better,” and then a few more years later: “I wish I had supported Janet more.”
Our insider noted, “...Justin's a smart guy. He doesn't want to be crucified for letting Janet take all the heat for the 'breast issue.' It's been almost fifteen years. He's not a kid anymore. Justin has a tremendous amount of respect for Janet, and has always felt bad about how everything went down. There are so many safeguards to ensure that kind of issue could never happen again.” When asked about other possible collaborators, including Nelly and *NSYNC, I was told “Nelly is out, for obvious reasons,” and that ”Justin isn't really interested in another *NSYNC performance, right now. It's just not practical. Bottom line, he only has 12-minutes to deliver. The only strong request that Timberlake had was regarding Janet. It was definitely not an easy sell. Justin has vowed that there will be zero controversy.”
It's worth noting, that since rumors began circulating that Timberlake would once again be featured on the Halftime show, the internet has loudly, and often angrily pointed out the difference in the way Jackson has been punished for the infamous 2004 incident. Not everyone is so keen on the idea on a Janet Jackson feature, however. Dallas Cowboys legend, Michael Irvin definitely wasn't a fan of the idea. When asked by TMZ, how he felt about Jackson joining Timberlake, he curtly stated, “I don't think so.”
With Timberlake's new record lurking just around the corner, a Super Bowl Halftime performance seems like a smart move for everyone involved. What do you think of this news? Let us know in the comments, and be sure to like PopWrapped on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter!