Now that we know for sure that Justin Timberlake is playing the Super Bowl LII in Minneapolis on Feb. 4, the speculation has begun cranking up over who he might invite to the party. The name that keeps coming up is, obviously, Janet Jackson, the legendary pop and R&B star who joined JT the last time he headlined the halftime extravaganza in 2004, in a performance since defined by its infamous “wardrobe malfunction.”
The exposure of Jackson’s breast — when Timberlake tore away one of the cups of her bra — exploded into a major controversy, leading to a reported 200,000-plus complaints to the Federal Communications Commission, a backlash against Jackson, and a $550,000 fine against CBS from the FCC; that fine was tossed by the Supreme Court in 2012. The incident also lead to a five-second delay being implemented by the FCC for future live televised events.
In an interview Sunday night (Oct. 22) announcing the performance, Timberlake said unequivocally, “that won’t happen this time.” But, we wondered, is Jackson welcome to re-join Timberlake should he choose to invite her back? “Nobody is banned,” an NFL spokesperson told Billboard when asked if Jackson — who has not done any work with the league since 2004 — is on any kind of blacklist because of the controversy.
Would Jackson be allowed to join the show if Timberlake wanted to make a kind of public apology by way of including the iconic pop star a second time? “We have no clue who will be performing at all,” the spokesperson said.
A spokesperson for Jackson could not be reached by Billboard for comment at press time.