Justin Timberlake is set to take the stage at the Super Bowl LII halftime show on Sunday, February 4, marking his third appearance during the big game. There have been numerous rumors circulating about who he might bring on stage with him since the news of his performance was released, but Timberlake hasn’t given out any clues about what he might have in store. One thing is for sure, however; Timberlake is going to put on quite a show and the proof is in the pudding.
Previously, Timberlake had performed during Janet Jackson’s halftime show at Super Bowl XXXVIII in 2004, and three years prior at Super Bowl XXXV in 2001 with Aerosmith. You can see that performance in the video above.
Timberlake performed a medley of hits alongside his fellow NSYNC members, and also joined in as part of a once-in-a-lifetime rendition of Aerosmith’s hit song, “Walk This Way,” with his then-girlfriend, Britney Spears, Mary J. Blige, and Nelly. To this day, that Super Bowl halftime performance is known as one of the greatest in history.
The show started off with NSYNC singing their hit single “Bye, Bye, Bye.” At the end of the song, fireworks exploded, and legendary rock group Aerosmith took to the stage to sing, “I Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing.” The popular love song was a smash hit that year, having been featured in the film Armageddon (in which Aerosmith front man Steven Tyler’s daughter, Liv Tyler, starred). Aerosmith kicked it back to NSYNC for “It’s Gonna Be Me,” before Tyler got in on the action and sang Timberlake’s very last line of the song. At this point, everyone watching could feel a major collaboration coming, but they simply couldn’t predict what would happen next.
Aerosmith settled into “Jaded,” which ended with members of NSYNC singing along. Timberlake grabbed the mic to sing “I’m the one that jaded you,” and fireworks went off. All of the guys gathered together, saying hello to the crowd in Tampa, Florida, and then it happened. Fireworks erupted as the band played the intro to “Walk This Way,” the guys started a dance-off of sorts — that included the running man — and they all started singing. An who was next to appear, taking the stage during the second verse? None other than Britney Spears, teaming up with Steven Tyler and eventually with the boys of NSYNC. Cue the next chorus and out came Mary J. Blige, flanked by Timberlake, Lance Bass, and Chris Kirkpatrick. The group continued singing — Spears and Timberlake even got their own special moment together — and just when everyone thought it was over, rapper Nelly joined in. He rapped part of his hit song “E.I.” to the back track before the “Walk This Way” chorus picked up again.
The whole group stood in a line and danced, finishing out the performance, which is still talked about today.
“The NFL should have ended Super Bowls immediately after this performance, because what’s the point anymore? It will never get any better than this,” suggested E! News in 2016.