Justin Timberlake took the stage at the Super Bowl LII halftime show with an image of Prince projected on a giant sheet, but an inside source says that a hologram was the original plan.
According to an unnamed source, Justin Timberlake was "100% ready" to use a hologram of Prince during his halftime performance, but backed out at the last minute due to the overwhelming amount of backlash that was being mounted on social media.
"He was 100% ready to use the hologram but nixed it due to backlash from social media and Prince fans. That's why he had that sheet up like in your mama's backyard," an inside source told Page Six.
Prior to taking the stage for the big halftime show performance, rumors had begun circulating that Timberlake would honor Prince by performing alongside a hologram of the late icon, but social media was quick to point out that Prince once stated that he believed holograms were "demonic."
On Saturday, Shelia E. Drummer, a longtime friend of Prince, tweeted after she met with Timberlake that a hologram wasn't in the plans.
"Family, I spoke w/Justin 2nite and he shared heartfelt words of respect for Prince & the Purple fans…There is no hologram."
Family, I spoke w/Justin 2nite and he shared heartfelt words of respect for Prince & the Purple fans. I look 4wrd 2 seeing what I’m sure is going 2 be a spectacular halftime show. There is no hologram. 🙏🏽💋 pic.twitter.com/mhVXBfBa1B— SheilaEdrummer (@SheilaEdrummer) February 4, 2018
Whether or not a hologram was nixed at the last minute, Timberlake still found a way to pay tribute to the late singer during his nearly 14-minute-long Pepsi Super Bowl Halftime Show. Timberlake took a break from performing his own chart-toppers to break into a version of "I Would Die 4 U" on the piano, with a projection of Prince towering above him, though the tribute was ripped by many on social media, who found it distasteful.
His tribute to Prince wasn't the only thing that had social media buzzing. At some points during his performance, Timberlake's microphone was muted, with the vocals for "Suit and Tie" sounding like whispers to the crowd and at-home viewers. And while there were no wardrobe malfunctions, Timberlake's outfit caused a lot of talk online.