As Timberlake sat down at a piano to cover the song, archived footage of the late music icon was projected onto a large sheet. It was not done with CGI and animation as some fans feared.
On Saturday, sources who have seen Timberlake's halftime performance reported to TMZ that the "Can't Stop the Feeling!" singer would dedicate a portion of his set to pay tribute to the late music icon. That tribute was said to include the use of hologram technology to recreate the Prince's likeness.
There were no specific details about what song the hologram would be synced with or what the set up would be like.
Prince fans were immediately offended by the notion that Prince would be animated in such a way. The "Purple Rain" singer himself said that he did not want his likeness used in such a way after his death.
"That's the most demonic thing imaginable," Prince told Guitar World in 1998. "Everything is as it is, and it should be. If I was meant to jam with Duke Ellington, we would have lived in the same age. That whole virtual reality thing... it really is demonic. And I am not a demon."
He continued, "Also, what they did with that Beatles song ["Free As a Bird"], manipulating John Lennon's voice to have him singing from across the grave... that'll never happen to me. To prevent that kind of thing from happening is another reason why I want artistic control."
During the backlash, Prince's longtime drummer and friend Sheila E. got in contact with Timberlake. The pop star apparently told her there would be no use of a hologram during the halftime show.
"Family, I spoke [with] Justin [tonight] and he shared heartfelt words of respect for Prince [and] the Purple fans," she wrote. "I look [forward to] seeing what I'm sure is going [to] be a spectacular halftime show. 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
It appears the original reports mistook the projection for a full-blown hologram.
The use of hologram technology, which uses electronic panels and CGI to make it appear as if a performer is on stage, has been rising in frequency in recent years.0comments
Michael Jackson, Tupac Shakur, Ronnie James Dio, Eazy E and Ol' Dirty Bastard are among the musicians that have been "resurrected" through the technology in recent years. Jackson appeared at the Billboard Music Awards in 2014, and the others appeared at music festivals and other live events over the years.
Super Bowl LII is airing on NBC.