Justin Timberlake Made A Janet Jackson Reference At The Super Bowl & You Prob Missed It

by Alexandra Strickler
Andy Lyons/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images

The Super Bowl halftime show has kicked off, and I have to say, I'm loving all these throwback Justin Timberlake jams. But what seems to be capturing fans' attention most during the performance is Justin Timberlake's Janet Jackson reference at the Super Bowl, which was so subtle, you probably missed it. Hell, I'm pretty sure I did at first, but that's probably because I was mentally transporting back to the early 2000s, when "Cry Me A River," "SexyBack," and "Rock Your Body" were all socially appropriate songs to be in love with and play over and over again on your iPod classic — #TBT.

I'll admit, since Timberlake literally just released his newest album Man Of The Woods a couple days ago, I was expecting he'd seize the opportunity of headlining the Super Bowl halftime show to play and promote some of his new music. And, don't get me wrong, I'm actually loving J.T.'s new music, but it totally does not compare to his classics from back in the day. It's probably just a nostalgia thing for me, but I digress.

Anyway, without a doubt, one of the most highly anticipated details of this year's Super Bowl halftime show was whether or not Timberlake would surprise us all and bring Janet Jackson out on stage to join him.

While J.T.'s halftime show didn't actually include Jackson, he did perform the same song he sang during that infamous Super Bowl wardrobe malfunction back in 2004.

Twitter had some feelings about Timberlake choosing to perform "Rock Your Body" during this year's Super Bowl halftime show.

There was one moment in particular during the performance that people are really calling out.

Some really weren't happy that "Rock Your Body" was the song that J.T. danced along to as he first made his way onto the main stage.

I mean, yeah, when you put it that way, I guess Justin Timberlake HAS thrown a lot of shade throughout his career.

I'm definitely salty about the no-show for NSYNC, too. Big mistake, NFL — HUGE.

In case you need a refresher of what exactly went down back in 2004 during Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson's Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime performance, you can watch the viral moment here:

Truly, the only thing that may have been even more subtle than Justin Timberlake's low-key Janet Jackson reference in his Super Bowl halftime performance this year, was the actual moment the wardrobe malfunction in question happened during the Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show. It obviously has since become one of the most talked-about moments in TV history, but TBH, I hardly even caught the live moment when it happened all those years ago. It all just happened so fast! Granted, I was like, 10 years old at the time, and I probably had no idea what was really happening, but still.

Basically, here's what happened: Jackson and Timberlake were dancing together onstage to J.T.'s song "Rock Your Body," and he started to sing this verse:

Talk to me boy, no disrespect, I don't mean no harm. Talk to me boy, I can't wait to have you in my arms. Talk to me boy, hurry up 'cause you're taking too long. Talk to me boy, better have you naked by the end of this song

And as Timberlake sang that last line, "better have you naked by the end of this song," the choreography apparently called for him to "rip" off Jackson's clothes, as if he were literally stripping her naked, much like the lyrics suggest. Except, Timberlake actually did expose Jackson's bare breast, and then the world lost its mind.

Shortly after, MTV, the channel that produced the Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show, issued a statement about the incident:

The tearing of Janet Jackson's costume was unrehearsed, unplanned, completely unintentional and was inconsistent with assurances we had about the content of the performance. MTV regrets this incident occurred and we apologize to anyone who was offended by it.

While Janet Jackson may not have made an appearance at the 2018 Super Bowl halftime show, fans still made sure to show her some love with the #JanetJacksonAppreciationDay hashtag on Twitter.

Let's face it, we are not worthy of Jackson's greatness.

For real though, who needs Justin Timberlake when you're JANET JACKSON??

Fans think the queen deserves to be celebrated and appreciated all day, every day.

Slay all day, queen. Slay all freaking day.