Justin Timberlake has tried to emulate quite a few different musicians over the years; many of his moves used to belong to legends like Michael Jackson and Prince. It appears that Timberlake is using using Katy Perry as his female role model, though. That might seem crazy, but JT's behavior almost perfectly mirrors Perry's.
It's not just that Timberlake headlined the 2018 Super Bowl halftime show, like Katy Perry did three years earlier. (Although, of course, this was not JT's first Super Bowl performance.) The two musicians are also similar because of the political nature of some of their music and the somewhat disappointing lead singles from their recent albums. While they both have some massively huge hits (Timberlake put out more than a few bangers), their careers are going off in some weird, risky new directions. When you look at these parallels between Timberlake and Perry, you'll wonder if JT has suddenly selected her as his new career compass.
Neither Of Them Are Considered Inappropriate Anymore
Katy Perry burst onto the scene in 2008 with song "I Kissed A Girl," a provocative tune that some found inappropriate. However, Perry headlined the 2015 Super Bowl halftime show, indicating that she became safe enough to appeal to the big game's mass audience. Of course, one of the big reasons Super Bowl producers like to play it safe is because of the 2004 halftime show incident.
But while Justin Timberlake was a more edgy choice 14 years ago, he suddenly became safe enough to perform at the Super Bowl in 2018. It seems like neither Perry nor JT are considered inappropriate any longer.
They Make 'Woke' Pop Music Instead Of Their Previous Crowd-Pleasers
In 2017, Katy Perry released new album Witness, and it took her in a new direction. She referred to it as "purposeful pop." The album accompanied Perry's freshly minted political persona, which made its way to the forefront in 2016 when the pop star campaigned for Hillary Clinton.
In 2018, Justin Timberlake also decided to turn to show off his "woke" side. This is especially true in his "Supplies" video; JT joins a protest and survives an apocalypse.
They Both Get Upstaged By More Interesting Performers
Not many people talked about Katy Perry's halftime performance after the 2015 Super Bowl. Instead, it was all about a totally different performer - Left Shark. This uncoordinated sea creature stole the show, and the internet could not get enough of it.
Justin Timberlake also got upstaged at the Super Bowl. Two people were more interesting than he was in 2018. First, a giant projected image of Prince was more engaging when the two performed a virtual duet of "I Would Die 4 U." After Prince, there was the "Selfie Kid," who Justin made sure to take a picture with when the kid was just scrolling through his phone.
Their Lead Singles Are Rather Disappointing
On 2017 album Witness, Katy Perry's lead single, "Chained To The Rhythm," peaked at number four on the Billboard chart. That might not seem all that bad, but the lead singles from her previous three albums ("I Kissed A Girl," "California Gurls," and "Roar") all peaked at number one.
For Justin Timberlake, lead single "Filthy," from his Man of the Woods album, only peaked at number nine. This falls short of "Can't Stop The Feeling," his song from the Trolls soundtrack, which reached number one.