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Justin Timberlake is a masterful live performer – which made Sunday’s Super Bowl performance about the only sure bet.

The only thing? It wasn’t iconic. Remember Gaga jumping into the audience? Beyonce having a showdown? Heck, even JT messing with Janet Jackson? Those stuck.

Sunday’s performance was a lot like a highlight reel of his concert work. He rolled through lots of songs, did a lot of infectious dancing and managed to play with the crowd like no other.

His best moment: paying tribute to Prince, complete with screen image and purple lighting. He did it the right way and gave the Minnesota legend his due. (Even better: Minneapolis lit up, too.)

Working the crowd with “Can’t Stop the Feeling,” Timberlake looked like he was enjoying himself.

But he might have pulled one of his “Man of the Woods” collaborators on the stage, particularly since this was the week he dropped the new CD. The most we got from that project was his Stella McCartney suit, a camouflage number that looked like it could be duplicated during a judicious trip through the aisles of Bomgaars or Cabela’s.

Because the anticipation was there for an NSYNC reunion, Timberlake could have masterminded his own wardrobe malfunction and still disappointed. Still, a “Bye Bye Bye” sequence might have been fun.

Timberlake, though, doesn’t need his old partners to score during the Super Bowl.

He did a fine job and, yes, the performance will hold up. Bringing “Sexy” back takes time. And, as we all know, a man of the woods has to pace himself.

Sunday’s mini-concert was just the start of the J.T.’s big year.



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