Justin Timberlake’s reported plans to use a Prince hologram during his Super Bowl halftime performance did not go over well with fans and friends the late pop icon.
The rumored plan, which has since been debunked by legendary drummer Sheila E., earned a great deal criticism due to the fact that Prince himself had once deemed it “demonic.”
Shortly after initial plans were reported by media outlets, Sheila E. — a longtime Prince friend and drummer — said the Purple One himself wouldn’t have approved. “Prince told me don’t ever let anyone do a hologram me,” she wrote. “Not cool if this happens!”
“I don’t think it’s cool at all,” she added. “You can’t bring him back. He did the best Super Bowl halftime ever. You can’t top that. Having him in a hologram is going to be weird. I won’t be able to watch it.”
Many fans also expressed their disappointment on social media. Even Prince’s sister, Sharon L. Nelson, shared her disapproval on Twitter. “UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES did we approve this,” she wrote, though the decision could have been made without her blessing, according to the Star Tribune.
Hours after her initial objection, Sheila E. took to Twitter to squash the rumors. “Family, I spoke w/Justin 2nite and he shared heartfelt words respect for Prince & the Purple fans,” she wrote. “I look 4wrd 2 seeing what I’m sure is going 2 be a spectacular halftime show. There is no hologram.”
It’s unclear whether Timberlake never intended to incorporate a hologram or if plans were scrapped due to the backlash. Sheila provided hints by retweeting a fan who wrote: “Oh, he listened to Sheila.”
In a 1998 interview with Guitar World, Prince was asked if he would ever use technology to “jam with any artist the past.” His response? “Certainly not,” he said. “That’s the most demonic thing imaginable. Everything is as it is, and it should be. If I was meant to jam with Duke Ellington, we would have lived in the same age. That whole virtual reality thing… it really is demonic. And I am not a demon.”
With Pink singing the national anthem and Timberlake performing during the halftime show, Super Bowl LII is set to air live from Minneapolis’ U.S. Bank Stadium at 6:30 p.m. ET on NBC.