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Justin Timberlake Explains Why He Went Forward with His Controversial Prince Tribute

Christopher Polk/Getty Images

I just wanted to use the opportunity to do something special for this city. But most of all for my favorite musician of all time. Yeah. [APPLAUSE] [MUSIC] [MUSIC] [MUSIC] I just felt like I wanted to something for this city, and something for him. That would just be the ultimate homage to what I consider the GOAT of musicians. [APPLAUSE] [MUSIC] [MUSIC] We got the actual vocal stems from I Would Die 4 U, the actual recording. And then we got uncut footage from his performance of it in Purple Rain and somehow, some way but the grace of Probably Prince looking down on us- [LAUGH] It synced up. Like, it was like this crazy serendipitous moment. [BLANK_AUDIO]

Justin Timberlake’s Super Bowl halftime show didn’t include any indecent exposure, but it wasn’t without controversy.

The singer, who performed a medley of his hits during Sunday’s show, went forward with a tribute to the late singer Prince.

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- <p>Christopher Polk/Getty Images</p>
<p>Christopher Polk/Getty Images</p>

“That whole virtual reality thing … it really is demonic. And I am not a demon,” he said in a 1998 interview with Guitar World.

Instead of performing with a digitally edited clip of Prince, Timberlake projected real footage of the late star performing “I Would Die 4 U” as he sang and played piano. Outside, Minneapolis lit up in purple as a tribute to Prince, whose hometown was the Minnesota city.

- &lt;p&gt;Kevin Mazur/WireImage&lt;/p&gt;
<p>Kevin Mazur/WireImage</p>

"And also, I'm not gonna lie to you guys because Questlove is the encyclopedia on music, but also, like, I feel like a gatekeeper on Prince, so if I got the thumbs up from Quest, I'm good,” he added.

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Timberlake was sure to stress that the footage of Prince shown was real and not doctored. "I mean, you have to understand: We got the actual real vocal stems from 'I Would Die 4 U.' The actual recording! And then we got uncut footage of him performance of it in Purple Rain. Somehow, some way, by the grace of—probably Prince looking down on us—it synced up. It was like this crazy serendipitous moment,” he said.

“I just wanted to use the opportunity to do something special for this city, but most of all, for my favorite musician of all time."

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