No hologram, but still a Prince tribute in Justin Timberlake's halftime show

Chris Riemenschneider, Star Tribune (Minneapolis) on

Published in Entertainment News

"I think it'd be something Minnesota could be proud of," Lillehei said, "but it sounds like his family doesn't want it, so we should be Minnesota Nice and respect their wishes."

Prince was on Timberlake's mind at his NFL-run news conference Thursday, which preceded a listening party for his new album that night at Prince's studio-turned-museum Paisley Park in Chanhassen.

"The time I got to spend around him, with him, talking about music, those are memories that I will take with me forever," Timberlake said, calling Prince "the greatest all-around musician I can think of in popular culture."

The backlash to the hologram idea was as swift and exact as a Tom Brady spiral, with Prince's family and longtime associate Sheila E. -- who performed at an NFL pregame party Sunday at the Armory -- joining the chorus of fans against the idea. Sheila said she spoke with Timberlake late Saturday and was assured "there is no hologram."

Timberlake still faces a certain level of sour feelings over the controversial "wardrobe" stunt at the 2004 Super Bowl in Houston, where he infamously pulled at halftime headliner Janet Jackson's top and exposed her breast on live TV. Some thought he might bring back Jackson to this Super Bowl to rectify the stunt, but he said at Thursday's news conference he would have no guests and wanted to let his own band shine.

He and his crew may have sounded good on TV, but inside the stadium their hard-bopping grooves were muddied by U.S. Bank Stadium's notoriously bouncy acoustics.

Filling her duty as singer of the national anthem, Pink faced even more daunting circumstances: She was conspicuously ailing from the flu two nights earlier at her Armory pregame concert. But the resilient pop star showed her mettle at game time Sunday. Wearing a silvery jacket, the Philadelphia-area native born Alecia Moore stepped up with a soaring rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner" that had even fans in Patriots gear cheering her victory.


While many anthem singers lip-sync to a prerecorded version to sidestep the echoey acoustics at most stadiums, it sure looked and sounded as if it was all done live inside the stadium Sunday. The fact that Pink removed a cough drop from her mouth just before the first note was a good sign that she was delivering it in the moment.

The pregame music also included a tender version of "America the Beautiful," delivered by Broadway star Leslie Odom Jr. of "Hamilton" fame with help from two children's choirs, Bloomington-based Angelica Cantanti Youth Choirs and St. Paul's ComMUSICation.

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