Justin Timberlake returned to the stage of the Grammy Awards for the first time in five years Sunday night. In front of a big band and a horn section, the musician/actor continued a come-back of sorts he started with a pre-Super Bowl performance last week.
He strode onstage after an interesting introduction by Ellen DeGeneres and Beyonce, noted Jessica Goldstein in the Style Blog:
Ellen DeGeneres and Beyonce just introduced Justin Timberlake and it was… well… it started innocently enough. Beyonce saying JT was “a triple threat” and Ellen cutting in to say, “Thank you Beyonce, but I am so much more than that.”
Beyonce, totally breaking, made side-eyes at her co-presenter, and proceeded to almost burst out laughing for the next most excellent thirty seconds of my life.
When they finally got around to saying Justin’s name for real, they made *serious* crazy eyes. I’d make that face too, I guess, if I knew Justin was going to transport us to sepia-toned Kansas for the first half of his set.
The performance itself felt like a boost of star power for the night, says David Malitz of Style Blog:
There were plenty of huge names that performed during the first hour of the show, but the first time it really felt like there were larger-than-life stars on stage was when Jay-Z ran from his seat in the audience to join Justin Timberlake for “Suit and Tie.” The song still lacks that something special, but you can’t deny the buzz that was in the Staples Center.
Timberlake opened with a recently released song, “Suit & Tie,” before delivering “two brand-new, decidedly old-school soul tunes from his forthcoming album,” says Post music critic Chris Richards.
J.T. wasn’t up for any awards, but he probably knows that at the Grammys, hardware isn’t always paramount. There are still millions of hearts and minds to win from behind the microphone. The Grammys telecast reinforced that idea, with more than 30 performers but only 11 trophy presentations.
And if releasing two brand-new songs for the first time in years during the Grammy Awards wasn’t enough to generate buzz, the sepia-toned camera filter stirred some comments on social media, notes Caitlin Dewey on Style Blog:
@vultureOh cool Justin Timberlake is doing his performance in Instagram #grammys
@TVGuideJustin Timberlake is just as amazing in black and white#SuitAndTie #Grammys
@moorehnIt will gratify anyone who made a Beyonce blackout joke that CBS just took the screen black-and-white for Justin Timberlake.
More from the Grammy Awards: