Thirteen years after he sent the NFL and TV executives into a tizzy for his part in Janet Jackson's infamous wardrobe malfunction, Justin Timberlake might just be ready to return to a Super Bowl halftime show.
That's the buzz anyway. Us Weekly cites an unnamed insider as its source and follows an earlier report that Timberlake is Pepsi's Super Bowl LII show in February in Minneapolis. Although Jay-Z was named as a co-star, a report on The Source.com recently stated that he has turned down the opportunity. "As of right now," Us Weekly's insider said, "it will just be Justin. No surprise performers."
The NFL still isn't ready to announce anything. "No decisions have been made on the performer(s) and we are not going to speculate on particular artists," NFL spokesperson Brian McCarthy said in an email to The Post, reiterating the league's previous statement. "Along with Pepsi, we know that we will put on a spectacular show. When it is time to announce her name we will do it. Or his name. Or their names."
Jay-Z might not be inclined to partner up, given that the rapper dedicated "The Story of O.J." from his new album to Colin Kaepernick during a recent show in New York. "I want to dedicate this song to anyone that was held back and you overcame," he said.
Because putting on the show is so labor intensive, it takes months to prepare, which means that late September is when reports begin to surface about possible performers, with the NFL gauging reaction before officially committing.
In the February 2003 game, Timberlake ripped off a piece of Jackson's costume, exposing her right breast. CBS quickly issued a statement, The Washington Post reported the next day, saying: "The moment did not conform to CBS broadcast standards, and we'd like to apologize to anyone who was offended." Joe Browne, at the time the NFL's executive vice president, said that MTV, which produced the halftime show, was "unlikely" to do so again. The expressions "wardrobe malfunction" and "nipplegate" came into common usage after that snafu, for which the Federal Communications Commission fined CBS Corp. $550,000. However, a federal appeals court threw that out.