You’ve probably heard, but the plan for the SBLII halftime show apparently was for Justin Timberlake to sing with a hologram of Prince, who famously was from Minnesota (where the Super Bowl took place). Various people, including Sheila E, objected, partly on the grounds of this old quote from Prince himself:

GW: With digital editing, it is now possible to create a situation where you could jam with any artist from the past. Would you ever consider doing something like that?

0{+> : Certainly not. 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. Also, what they did with that Beatles song [“Free As a Bird”], manipulating John Lennon’s voice to have him singing from across the grave… that’ll never happen to me. To prevent that kind of thing from happening is another reason why I want artistic control.

In the end, Justin projected actual Prince footage onto a giant sheet and played along with it. Yes, that’s better than a digitally manipulated hologram, and it’s definitely not Prince performing a fresh jam from the Great Beyond, giving iTunes something new to sell in which he had no say. But my instinct is that he wouldn’t have been all that hot for a duet, either; that Prince would’ve applied that same logic to this sort of thing and suggested that if they were meant to duet, they would have when they had the chance. The image of Prince up there, a purple hue all over the Dome, was really powerful. Frankly, I’d have admired Justin tremendously if he’d just sat down in the darkness for five minutes and let Prince have the stage all to himself, with no accompaniment, before picking up with perhaps a snippet of a cover and then the closing number. But I think we all know how willing Mr. Pop-and-Lock (tm Lainey) would be to let that happen. THAT would have been a tribute; what Justin did do was just fancy karaoke that felt less about Prince and more about what he got to do with Prince. Some legends need no live accompaniment.

I dipped in and out of the commercials, but it didn’t look like anything was noteworthy until this little gem from Eli Manning and Odell Beckham Jr.

That had me RIGHT up until it turned out to be a really earnest YAY NFL ad, rather than for something like… I don’t know, the joys of finding the right athletic socks. Honestly, that’s the most interesting Eli Manning has ever been, and that includes those two great Super Bowl wins. Easily my favorite ad of the night, although the Amazon Echo ad where Hannibal Lecter is the voice of Alexa seemed all right too.

[Photos: Photo by Dave Shopland/BPI/REX/Shutterstock, Matt Slocum/AP/REX/Shutterstock, Erik S. Lesser/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock, Eric Gay/AP/REX/Shutterstock, Craig Lassig/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock, Michael Zorn/Invision/AP/REX/Shutterstock, imageSPACE/SilverHub/REX/Shutterstock]