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Rarely, if ever, has the performance of the national anthem been the top musical moment at the Super Bowl. But that was the case Sunday. 

In part, that’s because Pink did the show-must-go-on thing with verve on "The Star-Spangled Banner," while Justin Timberlake’s halftime performance was, despite some sharp production and impressive dancing, lackluster.

The primary culprit there, for at least half of the 13-minute halftime show, was Timberlake’s vocals, which were buried in the mix, creating sonic mush. And the bang-bang-bang medley of snippets of Timberlake hits didn’t work in favor of any of the songs.

Give him credit for starting with “Filthy,” a new song off “Man of the Woods,” the album he released Friday and which evidently inspired his attire.

But the best song in Timberlake’s show, by far, was “I Would Die 4 U,” the Prince tribute -- you knew one was coming. Wish Prince was still with us to have sung it.

And, I have to ask, how many times in 13 minutes did Timberlake shout out Minneapolis? It had to be five or six. That’s irritating when it’s spread out over an hour-plus in an arena concert. Yo Justin, your real audience was on their couches, not in the stadium.

As for Alicia Moore, aka Pink, she came into Sunday afternoon in a battle with the flu. Seconds before the anthem began, she tossed away a throat lozenge, then she nailed the tough-to-sing song.

Who cares that she didn’t crush the modulated high note on “free”? If nothing else, that proved there was no lip-syncing going on. Can’t hardly wait to see her in person again when she returns to Pinnacle Bank Arena on March 6.

A final nonmusical thought -- as aggressively average as Timberlake’s halftime show was, it was far better than any of the commercials in the first half.


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