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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
Justin Timberlake will not be playing, announces a man from the lip of the stage, rubbing the back of his own neck ruefully. JT’s been battling laryngitis; doctors have decided he should not perform. But a replacement has been lined up for tonight’s performance – and it’s Tom Jones!
This lamest of April fools tricks no one, least of all those sitting in the swanky VIP Experience lounge bar in the middle of the audience, supping cocktails at little tables. Timberlake is soon with us, in silhouette, as brass fanfares around him; his voice, in perfect condition, jackknifes from yearning falsetto to toned tenor to staccato rapping for more than two hours. The April fool, meanwhile, is one of only three tiny lapses of judgment in an evening of otherwise unrelenting class – pop so good we probably need a new name for the stuff, to distinguish it from the piffle by numbers atop the charts (She Looks So Perfect by Aussie boy band 5 Seconds of Summer, at the time of writing).
It seems unfair to pick any lint at all from a set that takes a decade of top-calibre pop R&B, rewinds it gloriously to the era of rhythm & blues big bands and adds a Tennessee flavour. Rock Your Body is an early audiovisual thrill, sinuous and dazzling. The back wall of the stage is a giant flattened beehive divided up into pulsating white hexagons, serving as a light show or a screen, or the rippling skin on a bass bin. JT’s oldest solo hit Like I Love You is utterly transformed by the surfeit of able musicians. “Drummmms!” Timberlake declares, activating two percussionists like he’s flicking a switch. But it’s precisely because Timberlake’s 20/20 Experience is so spectacularly focused, so gleaming, that the tiny specks stand out.
Really, Timberlake should not say: “I’m a London bloke” in a Dick Van Dyke accent (even if, at a distance, Timberlake does look like David Beckham, and if Timberlake might actually be slyly quoting Jay-Z orKanye West’s rap on Estelle’s American Boy). And why is a dairy-white grand piano rising from the bowels of the stage, ready for a cliched piano ballad moment, Until the End of Time? The 20/20 Experience – more satisfying, end to end, than the double album in two parts from which it takes its name – otherwise displays a total intolerance for stadium-pop cheese.
Timberlake is, instead, a glutton for funk showmanship – an older and much more exacting tradition. Oh, to have been a fly on the wall at the tuba player auditions. The brass section and backing vocalists of Timberlake’s 15-strong Tennessee Kids big band can not only dance, they never actually stop jiving or twirling trumpets. There is a spectacular moment at the climax of Holy Grail – Timberlake’s show-stealing guest spot on the last Jay-Z record – where it slips seamlessly into Cry Me a River and then back again. Up front, Timberlake is surrounded by guitarists, strafing the audience top to bottom, all in time, while the entire rest of the band (plus six dancers) are arrayed behind them like a battalion, slapping their arms down, hip-hop style, also in perfect split-second sync.
He spoils us, basically. The set’s luxuriant opener, Pusha Love Girl, explores every alternative arrangement possible for a good 10 minutes. “You got me hopped up on it,” squeals Timberlake, tapping his outstretched arm like a dope fiend. The intelligence and economy of Timberlake’s dance moves are worth a Luke Jennings review of their own: twirls, moonwalks and tiny little twitches, in cahoots with flurries of percussion or changes in lighting.
How has this excellence happened? Timberlake, 33, started out as just more boy band cannon fodder. Since leaving NSync, his solo career has read like a manual on how to transcend expectation. Timberlake’s hit rate in the singles may have declined of late, but his cultural game has stepped up incrementally, with assured film roles (The Social Network, among others), comedy turns (Saturday Night Live doesn’t suffer fools) and a body of work that just seems to keep finding extra folds in the fabric of pop. There are no confetti cannons or fireworks tonight. Very little is gratuitous or pointless. For two hours everything is pretty much justified.