Justin Timberlake reportedly had plans to include a hologram version of Prince during his Super Bowl halftime show, but changed his mind at the last minute and scrapped the plans amid a large and vocal backlash to the idea online.
As Super Bowl Sunday approached, there were rumors that the halftime show would include a hologram of the late singer at some point during Timberlake’s performance. Many people took to the internet to express their displeasure with the idea, which they saw as disrespectful to the singer’s memory. But the reports were denied, and even Prince’s brother took to Twitter to deny that there was a hologram version of Prince included in the show, People magazine noted.
But a new reports suggested that the hologram was originally planned as part of the show. Page Six reported that Timberlake was the one who nixed the idea when fans of Prince came out so strongly against it.
“He was 100 percent ready to use the hologram but nixed it due to backlash from social media and Prince fans. That’s why he had that sheet up like in your mama’s backyard,” an insider told the outlet.
There were conflicting reports on whether Justin Timberlake ever planned to actually include a hologram of Prince during the Super Bowl halftime performance. A later report from People magazine claimed that there was never a hologram planned, just a projection of Prince performing that was actually used during the show. A hologram takes months to create, the source said, and one was never in the works.
— billboard (@billboard) February 6, 2018
There was already some controversy going into the Super Bowl halftime performance given Justin Timberlake’s inclusion. The singer was part of the most infamous halftime incident, the 2004 show with Janet Jackson where he pulled off a piece of her wardrobe, exposing her nipple to hundreds of millions of viewers. Jackson suffered most of the backlash in the wake of the incident, leading to some anger toward Timberlake among those who believe he did not properly stand up for Jackson.
While Justin Timberlake ended up not using a hologram of Prince, the late singer does have a piece of Super Bowl history. His show in 2007 is considered one of the best in the history of the game.