With the Super Bowl less than two weeks away, it’s always fun to reminisce about memorable halftime shows — and Thursday marks the 20th anniversary of what’s arguably the most iconic performance of them all.
On Jan. 28, 2001, Aerosmith and NSync headlined Super Bowl XXXV. The show, appropriately titled “The Kings of Rock and Pop,” also featured surprise appearances from Britney Spears, Mary J. Blige, Nelly, Tremors and The Earthquake Horns.
The spectacle really had it all. Peek 2000’s fashion (Spears performed with a tube sock on her arm), nostalgic relationships (this was when the “Oops!…I Did It Again” singer and Timberlake were an item) and some serious hits (“Bye Bye Bye,” “It’s Gonna Be Me,” “Walk This Way” and more). Nsync’s Joey Fatone still thinks it’s “really cool” to this day — minus their outfits.
“It was one of those amazing moments. You have rock royalty and then you have us schleppy Nsync pop guys,” he reminisces to Yahoo Entertainment this week. “It was amazing. It was one of those surreal moments that will go down in history, which is really cool. It’s one of those things in my life that I can say people are going to see this for years and years.”
According to Fatone, who was promoting his partnership with Heluva Good!, the reason “it was so iconic” is because MTV got involved.
“It was the first time MTV, I think, produced the halftime show,” he explains. “They really wanted to bring an eclectic group of people together, artists that are at the top of the game. You had old with the new. It was just a great combination. It kind of worked.”
Fatone says of the back-and-forth medley with Aerosmith, “It wasn’t a showcase of all Nsync. It wasn’t us singing all of our songs and it wasn’t Aerosmith singing all of their songs. It was kind of a celebration — and that’s what Super Bowl is all about — of unity. It’s a celebration of sportsmanship and it’s a celebration of artists because halftime is an important part now of Super Bowl.”
The Super Bowl halftime show is also a celebration of fashion.
Fatone admitted he rewatched their performance “within the last year” and had a laugh about what everyone was wearing.
“I was wearing a long denim jacket with, I think, an American flag on a sweater of some sort? It was definitely interesting,” he chuckles. “It was weird. It was a weird outfit. We all wore weird outfits! It is what it is. What are you going to do? It was definitely odd.”
Twenty years later and Fatone is hoping to be back in Tampa, Fla. for Super Bowl LV, this time as a guest. But if he’s not able to go he has a backup plan.
“If it all falls through, I’ll still be partying at my house. I’ve got the essential Heluva Good! dips — French Onion and Nacho Queso Supreme — drinks and chips,” he shares. “I love Super Bowl weekend because it’s a party and I love to party — and I like to eat.”
Fatone plans to virtually celebrate either way with good friend, Boyz II Men member Shawn Stockman. They want to help best buds have fun in a socially distanced way with the Heluva Good! Virtual Snacking Buddy — a moveable snacking robot with an iPad. Fans can enter to win one here.
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