MINNEAPOLIS – Fourteen years after pulling off the most infamous Super Bowl halftime show in NFL history, Justin Timberlake is returning to the world's biggest stage this weekend, and it doesn't sound like he'll be bringing Janet Jackson with him.
Back in February 2004, Timberlake and Jackson became one of the first duos ever to go viral after their famous "wardrobe malfunction" that left Jackson's nipple exposed to the world for one brief second. Although Jackson's body part was on screen for only an instant, it changed the media world as we know it: The seven-second delay became nearly standard in all live performances, but it helped lead to the invention of YouTube.
Although Timberlake will be making his return to the Super Bowl stage on Sunday for the first time since 2004, Jackson won't be joining him. During a wide-ranging press conference on Thursday, Timberlake pretty much shot down the idea of reuniting with N'Sync or bringing Jackson back.
"No," Timberlake said, when asked if N'Sync or Jackson would be on stage at halftime. "To be honest, I had a ton of grand ideas about special guests. There's a whole list. I think Vegas has a lot of odds on it, I heard. From N'Sync to [Jessica Biel] to Chris Stapleton to Janet, 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. It's going to be a lot of fun."
The halftime performer holds a press conference every year at the Super Bowl and one of the biggest ironies about the press conference is that the performer never wants to talk about their actual halftime performance. Like all performers before him, Timberlake was tight-lipped about what we might see at halftime of Super Bowl LII.
"Without giving too much away, we're doing things with this halftime show that they've never quite done before. I'm excited to do that," Timberlake said. "I always like to push, to be able to do something like that. It's a moment where you have the opportunity to bring so many people together through what I think is the greatest art form, which I think is music. That has been sort of the ethos and inspiration behind putting the set list together and managing how the visuals would all sort of come together."
Although Timberlake didn't want to talk about many details from his show, he did reveal one song that he will be singing on Super Sunday.
"I think the odds are good that I may have a little 'Can't Stop the Feeling' in the show," Timberlake said. "That's all I'm giving away. I'm not giving away anything else, so don't even try it."
Thursday's press conference came one day after Timberlake's 36th birthday, so the media decided to serenade him with a rendition of "Happy Birthday" that might go down as the worst "Happy Birthday" performance of all-time.
Hopefully, Timberlake sounds better than that at his halftime show.
With the Super Bowl in Minnesota, there's a good chance that we'll see Timberlake perform at least one Prince song. Although he wouldn't confirm that, he did pay his respects to the iconic Minnesota singer, who died in April 2016.
"The greatest all-around musician who I can think of in popular culture," Timberlake said, when asked about Prince. "The time I get to spend around him, with him, talking about music, those are memories I'll take with me forever because he's always been such a big idol of mine."
As a matter of fact, Timberlake is such a big Prince fan that he made plans to visit Paisley Park on Thursday night.
"We're doing a listening party at Paisley Park and I'm pinching myself," Timberlake said. "There's a lot of bucket list things that are happening this week for me, and that's definitely at the top of that list."
Finally, if you're wondering who Timberlake might be cheering for on Sunday, the answer is neither team. Although the singer admitted to having a man crush on Brady, he only supports one team and he made that clear near the end of his press conference.
The halftime show on Sunday will mark the third time that Timberlake has performed at the Super Bowl, giving him the NFL record for most halftime performances by one singer. Timberlake was also part of the halftime show as a member of N'Sync back in January 2001.