Justin Timberlake took his show on the road on Wednesday, performing at the BRIT Awards in London (because Americans are not the only ones happy to have him back in music full-time). The singer shared new material from his upcoming album, The 20/20 Experience, in the same dapper dress we’ve come to expect and with Instagram filters ready to transport us to the days of the original Rat Pack, should we not fully understand his whole shtick by now.
Rather than recycle a recent live gig for those across the pond, or build further anticipation for his upcoming set at the Wireless Festival with the Jay-Z-assisted “Suit & Tie,” Timberlake dropped “Mirrors” on the star-studded crowd composed of U.K. natives and famous anglophiles. He condensed the sprawling eight-minute track into a neat five minutes–which is still long by award show standards. Didn’t the camera have quick cuts between Taylor Swift and Harry Styles to make?
Lights soared, there was dramatic clapping, and a 13-piece band threatened to overpower his own vocals at times, suggesting that the JT music and the JT movement hasn’t found its balance quite yet. This time there was no Hov to liven the crowd, or at least instruct them to wake up with applause mid-song, and Timberlake opted to do without the punctuating staccato (“you are, you are the love of my life”) breakdown, which obviously makes me wonder if there’s trouble in paradise. (Far-fetched, yes, but a girl can dream.) I would have preferred to see something more energetic than casual strutting across the stage, but like his standing microphone, I’m willing to be dragged wherever JT dares to take me.
[Photo: Getty Images] [Video: Mr. World Premiere]