Justin Timberlake's Super Bowl halftime show in Minneapolis invokes Prince homage

PHOTO: Justin Timberlake performs at "A Concert for Charlottesville," at University of Virginias Scott Stadium on Sept. 24, 2017 in Charlottesville, Va.PlayABC Photo Illustration, Kevin Mazur/Getty Images
WATCH Must-see moments of Justin Timberlake's Super Bowl halftime show

Justin Timberlake's Super Bowl performed a medley of hits at the Super Bowl LII halftime show.

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Timberlake emerged with an entourage of dancers from beneath the U.S. Bank Stadium in what appeared to be a laser-filled dance club.

Once above-ground Timberlake performed mainstays like “Sexyback” and “Cry Me A River” and then danced on the NFL crest to a marching band beat for the track “Suit & Tie.”

PHOTO: Justin Timberlake performs during halftime of the NFL Super Bowl 52 football game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the New England Patriots, Feb. 4, 2018, in Minneapolis.Matt Slocum/AP
Justin Timberlake performs during halftime of the NFL Super Bowl 52 football game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the New England Patriots, Feb. 4, 2018, in Minneapolis.

But the biggest takeaway, beyond magically lighting up the streets, was when the pop star struck the keys of a massive, white grand piano that was bathing in purple light as a scrum overhead was emblazoned with Prince's likeness during a cover of “I Would Die 4 U.”

Rumors had been swirling that Timberlake would perform alongside a Prince hologram, but the idea was criticized by fans of the late superstar who died in an accidental opoid overdose.

Channeling Prince was a clear effort by Timberlake to make amends for fallout back in 2007 when Timberlake on the track "Give It To Me" included a dig at Prince in one of the lyrics.

It was widely believed to be Timberlake's retort to Prince, who made a comment during an Emmy Awards after party in 2006 where he said: "For whoever is claiming they are bringing sexy back, sexy never left!”

Another highlight at the end of the halftime show was when Timberlake took a selfie with a 13-year-old boy. The boy, whose first name is Ryan, is from Scituate, Massachusetts -- and is a huge Patriots fan.

The wait was over after much anticipation.

So many hoped Timberlake might take the stage with his band, The Tennessee Kids, some followers of Janet Jackson are still holding a grudge for the botched Super Bowl performance in 2004 when Timberlake mistakenly ripped off a piece of Jackson's costume, showing off...well, too much.

Regardless of which side you were on, all eyes were on Timberlake Sunday night in Minneapolis.

It wasn't the "Rock Your Body" singer's first time at the big game.

He took the halftime stage for the first time alongside his band *NSYNC in 2001 and later with Jackson three years later.

PHOTO: Mary J. Blige, Justin Timberlake, Britney Spears and Steven Tyler of Aerosmith perform at MTVs Superbowl halftime show at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., Jan. 28, 2001.Jeff Kravitz/Getty Images, FILE
Mary J. Blige, Justin Timberlake, Britney Spears and Steven Tyler of Aerosmith perform at MTV's Superbowl halftime show at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., Jan. 28, 2001.

Prior to taking the stage all to himself, Timberlake, 37, hinted what to expect.

No special guests

PHOTO: Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake perform during the half-time show at Super Bowl XXXVIII.Bill Baptist/WireImage via Getty Images, FILE
Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake perform during the half-time show at Super Bowl XXXVIII.

It didn't happen.

"I had a ton of grand ideas about special guests, from 'N SYNC to Jay [-Z] to Chris Stapleton to Janet," Timberlake told reporters Thursday at a press conference in Minneapolis. "But this year...my band, The Tennessee Kids, I feel like they're my special guests, and I'm excited to rock the stage."

After much buzz about Jackson might join Timberlake to the stage to redo the duo's performance 14 years after her wardrobe malfunction, she put such rumors to bed Saturday.

"To put to rest any speculation or rumors as to whether I will be performing at the Super Bowl tomorrow; I will not," she wrote in a statement posted to social media. “Thank you for your support and I do look forward to seeing you all very soon.”

It was Prince on a long screen, not a hologram

PHOTO: (L-R) Lance Bass, JC Chasez, Justin Timberlake, Joey Fatone and Chris Kirkpatrick of N Sync perform during the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards at the Barclays Center, Aug. 25, 2013 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City.Jeff Kravitz/Getty Images, FILE
(L-R) Lance Bass, JC Chasez, Justin Timberlake, Joey Fatone and Chris Kirkpatrick of N Sync perform during the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards at the Barclays Center, Aug. 25, 2013 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City.

Initially, TMZ reported Saturday that since the Super Bowl was in Minneapolis, the birthplace of late music icon Prince, Timberlake planned to honor the Purple One during the halftime show.

The same report claimed that Timberlake planned to use a Prince hologram, upsetting many fans, including his longtime collaborator and friend, drummer Sheila E.

Sheila E. took to Twitter late Saturday night to let fans know that she spoke to Timberlake and there will be no hologram.

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