Justin Timberlake performs Prince tribute at Super Bowl halftime show

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Justin Timberlake performing a tribute to Prince at halftime in Super Bowl LII.

On the was-it-or-wasn’t-it-a-hologram debate, Jay Gabler at The Current says, “Leading up to the Super Bowl tonight, Prince fans were consumed with a rumor that the late icon would join halftime headliner in the form of a hologram. TMZ and the Star Tribune reported the hologram was happening, but Prince’s siblings disputed the reports. Fans noted that Prince himself called the idea of performing via virtual reality ‘demonic.’ … What happened was a virtual duet between Timberlake and Prince, with Purple Rain footage projected on a billowing sheet as Timberlake sat at a piano and sang “I Would Die 4 U.” That one was for us, and so was a vast stunt that appeared to swath East Town in purple light, with an enormous Love Symbol ringing the stadium.” So just so we know for next time, is a sheet less demonic than a hologram?

Tim Nelson and Cody Nelson at MPR report: “Police removed 17 protesters after a group blocked Metro Transit light rail trains on the Green Line near the University of Minnesota’s West Bank for about an hour Sunday afternoon. Metro Transit officers removed, but did not arrest the protesters, said transit spokesman Howie Padilla. … A separate planned protest and rally was underway at Chicago and Franklin avenues. More than 100 protesters marched into downtown Minneapolis just before the Super Bowl started Sunday evening, blocking traffic and temporarily impeding one of the entrances to U.S. Bank Stadium.”

Three hours? KSTP-TV reports: “Officials at Minneapolis-St.Paul International Airport are preparing for the busiest day of departures in the airport’s history. The airport is expecting 70,000 people to fly out of Monday, which is twice as many as the typical day. Phil Burke, the Director of Operations at MSP, is encouraging travelers to get to the ticket counter three hours before they depart.”

About that kid who took the selfie. In the PiPress, Dane Mizutani tells us: “With megastar Justin Timberlake walking right toward him during the Super Bowl LII halftime show at U.S. Bank Stadium, 13-year-old Ryan McKenna knew he had to take his shot. He quickly stopped the video he was recording and raced to open the camera app on his iPhone. ‘I just thought to myself, ‘I’ll never get this opportunity again in my whole life,’  McKenna said. ‘I just went for it.’ In that moment, little Ryan McKenna went viral. … McKenna is a seventh-grader at Derby Academy in Hingham, Mass. He flew in around noon on Sunday and the family had plans to fly out early on Monday morning. That is, if McKenna’s suddenly busy schedule permits it. He’s already scheduled to do a hit on Good Morning America, so that might affect the original flight plans.”

As for JT himself: PiPress music critic Ross Raihala says: “For 13 minutes, the former boy bander danced and pranced around the field, mugged for the cameras and struggled to make any real impact or connection. This is the guy someone thought was worth bringing back to the Big Game for a third time? … he’s shown more enthusiasm on Instagram than he did Sunday. He opened with ‘Filthy,’the aimless first single from his meandering new album ‘Man of the Woods’. From there, he dipped into his back catalog of hits – ‘Rock Your Body’, ‘SexyBack’ and ‘Cry Me a River’ among them – which tended to fade away into each other. The appearance of the University of Minnesota Marching Band during ‘Suit and Tie’ helped brighten things up a bit.” 

Oh, and discounted LII souvenirs? Hannah Covington of the Strib reports, “It didn’t take long. In fact, it didn’t even take until kickoff Sunday before Super Bowl volunteer gear had started popping up for sale on sites like Craigslist. The bright blue-and-purple-themed outfit has been nearly ubiquitous across downtown in recent days, making it easy for visitors to spot those able to point them in the right direction. But by Sunday afternoon, some volunteers were ready to shed their Super Bowl uniform, already working to resell parkas, striped scarves, ‘Bold North’ mittens and other swag.” I assume the NFL is getting an 80 percent cut?

But: it was a pretty entertaining game. Says Dan Wetzel for Yahoo Sports, “In the wildest shootout in Super Bowl history, unheralded Nick Foles outdueled legendary Tom Brady to lead the Philadelphia Eagles to a Super Bowl title, defeating the New England Patriots 41-33. … The game was an offensive classic, setting multiple Super Bowl records, including most yards gained … and that came before the start of the fourth quarter. By the time it was over, both teams had combined for 1,151 yards, 143 plays and a single punt.”

For the Philadelphia Inquirer, Bob Ford, who is obviously totally unbiased, writes: “Nothing could have prepared the team or its followers, however, for what took place in U.S. Bank Stadium on Sunday night in the 52nd and best Super Bowl ever presented by the NFL.”

More important than all that, though: There’s an ice fishing investigation. The Star Tribune’s Dennis Anderson reports: “For the first time since the Brainerd Jaycees $150,000 Ice Fishing Extravaganza was launched in 1991, a major investigation is underway to determine whether some of this year’s competing anglers, including the winner of a new pickup truck, deceived contest organizers. Contest officials confirmed this week that they are investigating whether three men from Ohio, a father, a son and another relative, legitimately caught the fish they say they did, earning first, third and 98th places among the 150 prize winners on Jan. 27.”

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