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Justin Timberlake Bombshell: Michael Jackson Pushed Me to Go Solo

Justin Timberlake recently sat down for an intimate interview for OWN’s Oprah Presents Master Class, and revealed that it was actually the King of Pop himself — Michael Jackson — who pushed him to go solo.

Timberlake recalls writing the 2001 ‘N Sync hit Gone for Michael, but when his team turned the slow jam down, ‘N Sync cut the record instead.

Justin Timberlake recently sat down for an intimate interview for OWN’s Oprah Presents Master Class, and revealed that it was actually the King of Pop himself — Michael Jackson — who pushed him to go solo.

Timberlake recalls writing the 2001 ‘N Sync hit Gone for Michael, but when his team turned the slow jam down, ‘N Sync cut the record instead.

Video: Watch Justin Show Off His Acting Chops in ‘Runner Runner’ Deleted Scene

“It was one of those songs where, it felt a little more personal to me, because I had written it for the biggest artist of all time,” he smiles. “I guess Michael did hear it, and called me on the phone and said that he wanted to cut the record, but he wanted it to be a duet between himself and I. And I said, ‘Well, it’s already out, we’ve already cut the song as an ‘N Sync record … could we do, like, an ‘N Sync featuring Michael Jackson, or Michael Jackson featuring ‘N Sync?’ And he was very absolute about the fact that he wanted it to be a duet between himself and I.”

“I think it’s the first idea that I ever got about doing something on my own because it was the first time I ever really felt the confidence to do it,” he explained.

Timberlake went on to become a highly successful solo artist after leaving ‘N Sync, producing chart-topping and Grammy award-winning albums Justified (2002), Future Sex/LoveSounds (2006) and The 20/20 Experience (2013).

Though according to ‘N Sync member Lance Bass, it was actually P. Diddy who he thought broke the successful boy band up!

“I never heard that story, so I would not blame it on Michael Jackson,” Bass said. “I always thought that it actually came from P.Diddy because P.Diddy was opening up for us at the very last concert and I remember that they were at the bar at one of our, you know, parties and I heard him say, ‘Hey, you should go solo, you know, without the guys.’ And I was like, wait a minute, I’m sitting right here.”

Though he insists that there are no hard feelings.

“We’re brothers,” he said of his relationship with Timberlake now. “It was something we did as kids. We loved it so much but we all had to grow up. I could not be more proud of him.”

Check out the video for the bombshell revelation.

Video: Hear Justin Timberlake and Michael Jackson’s New Duet

Timberlake kicks off the new season of Oprah’s Master Class on May 11 at 10 p.m. on OWN.

Michael Jackson, Justin Timberlake’s Duet Off To More Than ‘Good’ Start

Michael Jackson and Justin Timberlake’s sleek new duet, “Love Never Felt So Good,” will enter the Billboard Hot 100 chart this week following its first few days of availability.

The song appears on “Xscape,” an album of eight tracks of Jackson’s vocals set to new music from Timbaland and J-Roc, Rodney Jerkins, Stargate and John McClain (a former A&M Records executive and co-executor of the Jackson estate). The set arrives May 13.

“Good” premiered on the iHeartRadio Music Awards, broadcast on NBC on May 1, and was then made available for digital purchase. (Instead of Timberlake, Usher danced to the song on the broadcast.)

Fueling its Hot 100 start? Solid initial sales and airplay, which should send the song, available as a solo Jackson recording and in a duet version with Timberlake, onto this week’s Hot 100 in the list’s lower half. Streaming activity since its premiere will also contribute to its debut rank. While “Good” is not yet available across on-demand subscription services, it’s has racked 960,000 views on YouTube so far, split between its official audio clip on Vevo (which was released May 1) and user-generated YouTube clips.

Highlights of the Hot 100 will post on Billboard.com on Wednesday (May 7), while the chart will post in its entirety the following day.

“Good” will mark Jackson’s 49th Hot 100 entry and second since his 2009 death. “Hold My Hand,” with Akon, reached No. 39 in January 2011. That collaboration was released from the posthumous “Michael ” album, which debuted on the Billboard 200 at No. 3 and has sold 540,000 copies in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan.

Jackson boasts 13 Hot 100 No. 1s, the most among solo males in the chart’s 55-year history. Only the Beatles (20) and Mariah Carey (18) have totaled more No. 1s, with Rihanna also having notched 13 leaders.

Highlights of the Hot 100 will post on Billboard.com on Wednesday (May 7), while the chart will post in its entirety the following day.

“Good” will mark Jackson’s 49th Hot 100 entry and second since his 2009 death. “Hold My Hand,” with Akon, reached No. 39 in January 2011. That collaboration was released from the posthumous “Michael ” album, which debuted on the Billboard 200 at No. 3 and has sold 540,000 copies in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan.

Jackson boasts 13 Hot 100 No. 1s, the most among solo males in the chart’s 55-year history. Only the Beatles (20) and Mariah Carey (18) have totaled more No. 1s, with Rihanna also having notched 13 leaders.

STRONG SALES

Industry forecasters suggest that “Good” may have sold more than 60,000 downloads in the week ending Sunday, May 4. That sum would’ve been generated from only three full days of sales, as the song reached retailers late on Thursday (May 1), after its premiere earlier that evening.

Certainly, “Good” is buoyed by the availability of the duet version with Timberlake, which accounts for the bulk of the song’s overall sales. (Both the Jackson solo version and the duet are combined for sales tracking and charting purposes.)

If “Good” debuts with more than 60,000 downloads sold, that would outpace the opening of “Hold My Hand.” That song sold 19,000 in a similar opening time frame, and served as the first radio-promoted single from  “Michael.” It was released on a Friday (Nov. 19, 2010), so it had less than three full days of sales in its first week (ending Nov. 21). “Hold” then sold 44,000 in its first full week of availability (the frame ending Nov. 28).

RADIO ROLLOUT

Meanwhile, “Good” has also garnered a strong response at radio and appears on track for a debut on the 50-position Radio Songs chart. As of this posting, the cut has drawn 31 million all-format radio audience impressions since its first plays on Friday. On this week’s airplay charts (highlights of which will post later today, while the full charts, along with all others, will update on Thursday), it makes multiple debuts, starting on Adult R&B Songs (No. 19), Adult Contemporary (No. 23), R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay (No. 28) and Adult Pop Songs (No. 40).

As part of Clear Channel’s promotional synergy after the premiere of the song on the iHeartRadio Music Awards, “Good” received hourly plays the following day on a multitude of the company’s pop, adult and R&B/hip-hop stations, greatly contributing to its airplay so far.

Still, the station that has played “Good” the most is CBS Radio-owned adult contemporary KYXY San Diego (and, thus, did not contribute to Clear Channel’s concentrated play). The station has given the duet 37 plays (though Sunday). “We loved the song the instant we previewed it,” says KYXY program director Charlie Quinn. “It felt familiar and right in line with audience expectations for a Michael song.”

As for its long-term fortunes, Quinn is optimistic. “Timberlake and the production value definitely elevate it beyond a novelty.”

“Two icons coming together for a great groove,” is how Alex Tear, Clear Channel vp of programming/Miami, top 40 national brand coordinator and PD of Pop Songs reporter WHYI, describes the track. The station has played “Good” 13 times through May 4. “Hearing and watching the debut [of ‘Good’ during the iHeartRadio Music Awards] certainly played a role in inspiring listeners’ passion and for them to request it. News traveled fast across the generations, lighting up social media and text requests all weekend.”

Tear concurs that the song could sustain widespread interest following its splashy start.

“It’s smooth and will certainly have a pop-culture impact. It’s a great way to begin rolling into summer.”

Justin Timberlake Reveals The NSYNC Song That Almost Featured Michael Jackson

Last week, the first single from Michael Jackson’s upcoming album was released online. The track, “Love Never Felt So Good,” featured Justin Timberlake. But JT says that he and the King of Pop nearly first collaborated over a decade ago.

“The first real seed of that was this song I had written, called ‘Gone,’ ” the singer told Oprah Winfrey’s OWN. “It ended up on our third and last album [for *NSYNC]. And it was the first song I kind of cut by myself, and then brought it to the guys and included them. We were having an A&R meeting for the third *NSYNC album at that time, and I said, ‘Well, I have this other song, but I originally wrote it for Michael.’ I originally wrote that song for Michael Jackson.”

Unfortunately for Timberlake, Michael’s people turned the song down. Rather than letting it go to waste, he and his groupmates used it themselves.

And then, once it came out, Michael heard it.

“And he called me on the phone and said that he wanted to cut the record, but he wanted it to be a duet between himself and I,” the “Mirrors” singer recalled. “And I said, ‘It’s already out. We’ve already cut this song as an *NSYNC record.’”

Naturally, he felt a bit of regret.

“I’m on the phone, I’m literally punching myself in the face, because I said, ‘I can’t do that. Could we do an *NSYNC featuring Michael Jackson? Or Michael Jackson featuring *NSYNC?’ And he was very absolute about the fact that he wanted it to be a duet between himself and I.”

Even though that moment didn’t turn out like Justin may have hoped — with a collaboration with Jackson, basically — he still credits it as a turning point in his career.

“I think it’s the first idea I ever got about doing something on my own, because it was the first time I have ever really felt the confidence to do it,” he admitted. “And I knew that the music that I was interested in and was writing at the time was different than what we had previously done. And it felt like a real departure.”

XSCAPE, Jackson’s new album, which features “Love Never Felt So Good” as well as 16 other songs on the deluxe edition and eight total on the standard, drops on May 9.

welcome jt to china!

People of China, prepare to meet Justin Timberlake.

It was announced Thursday that Timberlake is set to make his first appearance there on June 14, as the guest of Chinese pop star Wang Leehom on the final date of Wang’s Music-Man II Fired Up World Tour.

The show will be at Beijing’s Bird Nest Stadium, China’s largest venue, with 91,000 seats. Wang became the first solo pop artist to perform there in 2012. A classically trained musician, he has fused different elements in his tunes, and is “excited to bring Chinese pop music to wider audiences,” noted a release from Timberlake’s publicist.

The release added that “Timberlake and Wang share many similarities in their respective markets. Both are actors, songwriters and musicians who dominate pop charts and social media.”

Andrew Garfield spoofs JT on SNL

Remember that hilarious “Celebrity Family Feud” sketch in which Justin did a spot-on impression of Jimmy Fallon, in front of Jimmy Fallon? Well, this past weekend, host Andrew Garfield did an impression of Justin! And he was pretty damn good! You can watch the sketch on NBC’s website here.

Justin wins at the Radio Disney Music Awards

JT took home the “He’s The One – Best Male Artist” award at the Radio Disney Music Awards (RDMAs), as voted on by kid and tween fans. While the event took place at Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE, Justin was able to accept the award remotely – from Paris!

There was a video of his acceptance “performance” but it has since been taken down by YouTube. I’ll post it when I find another one.

Justin Timberlake leaves massive tip at Germany bar

Germany seems to agree with Justin Timberlake.

The entertainer made the staff at a bar in Cologne, Germany, extremely happy recently by leaving a $3,920 tip after a night out.

Bitterness prevents me from calculating what percentage that is of my annual salary. Let’s move on.

Timberlake was in Germany for his ongoing European tour. MSN.com reported he was partying with friends at the Crystal Cologne nightclub following a personal invitation from the owner.

The group stayed until the early morning hours, enjoying drinks on the house. Timberlake showed his gratitude to staff by leaving a generous $3,920 tip, according to Britain’s The Sun newspaper.

The venue’s owner, Yunus Arslan, told the publication, “He was in a great mood, a real gentleman.”

Obviously.

Watch: Justin Timberlake To Kick Off New Season Of ‘Oprah’s Master Class’

Oprah’s celeb pals are coming back to drop knowledge on an all new season of Oprah’s Master Class.

For season 4, Ms. Winfrey enlists a star-studded line-up that includes Good Morning Americaanchor Robin Roberts, Whoopi Goldberg, Vanessa Williams, and Justin Timberlake, who’ll kick off the highly-anticipated series.

Make sure to catch the premiere on May 11 at 10pm on OWN. Get a first look above.

Justin is nominated for 11 Billboard Awards!

With that number, he’s only behind Lorde and Imagine Dragons who has 12 nominations each. However, Justin can only win up to 10 awards because he has two nominations in the Top R&B Album category (one for each part of 20/20). Unless, of course, we count “Holy Grail” as a Justin nomination and it’s back to 11.

Categories Justin’s nominated in:

  • Top Artist (Miley Cyrus, Imagine Dragons, Bruno Mars, Katy Perry, Justin Timberlake)
  • Top Billboard 200 Album (Beyoncé “Beyoncé”, Luke Bryan “Crash My Party”, Drake “Nothing Was The Same”, Eminem “The Marshall Mathers LP 2″, Justin Timberlake “The 20/20 Experience”)
  • Top Male Artist (Luke Bryan, Drake, Eminem, Bruno Mars, Justin Timberlake)
  • Top Hot 100 Artist (Miley Cyrus, Imagine Dragons, Lorde, Katy Perry, Justin Timberlake)
  • Top Billboard 200 Artist (Beyoncé, Luke Bryan, Eminem, One Direction, Justin Timberlake)
  • Top Radio Songs Artist (Imagine Dragons, Lorde, Bruno Mars, Katy Perry, Justin Timberlake)
  • Top R&B Artist (Beyoncé, Pharrell, Rihanna, Robin Thicke, Justin Timberlake)
  • Top R&B Album (Beyoncé “Beyoncé”, R. Kelly “Black Panties”, Robin Thicke “Blurred Lines”, Justin Timberlake “The 20/20 Experience”Justin Timberlake “The 20/20 Experience (2 of 2)”)
  • Top Radio Song (Avicii “Wake Me Up!”, Lorde “Royals”, Katy Perry “Roar”, Robin Thicke feat. T.I. & Pharrell “Blurred Lines”, Justin Timberlake “Mirrors”)
  • Top R&B Song (Beyoncé feat. Jay Z “Drunk In Love”, Drake feat. Majid Jordan “Hold On, We’re Going Home”, Pharrell “Happy”, Robin Thicke feat. T.I. & Pharrell “Blurred Lines”, Justin Timberlake feat. Jay Z “Suit & Tie”)
  • Top Rap Song (Eminem feat. Rihanna “The Monster”, Jay Z feat. Justin Timberlake “Holy Grail”, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis feat. Ray Dalton “Can’t Hold Us”, Pitbull feat. Ke$ha “Timber”)

Not quite sure why he’s not nominated in the category Top Touring Artist though.

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Check out some of the latest things Justin has been working on.

Runner Runner
Release : 2014
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Nsync Essentials
Release : July 29, 2014
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love never felt so good
Release : May 13, 2014
Peak Chart Position : #20
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not a bad thing
Release : 2/24/2014
Peak Chart Position : #8
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The 20/20 Experience 2 of 2
Release : 9/30/2013
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