Dancer Tony Bellissimo on the field at Super Bowl LII (via Instagram)
The Super Bowl is America's most-watched television event. Last year, when the incomparable Justin Timberlake took center field for the halftime show, more than 106 million viewers were watching his every move—and that's not even a record!
What's it like to perform for such an incredibly huge audience? Dancer Tony Bellissimo has plenty of experience with high-pressure dance gigs, having worked with artists including Rihanna, Britney Spears, John Legend, and Chris Brown. But stepping out alongside Timberlake during last year's halftime show was a next-level experience. We talked to Bellissimo about how he scored such a coveted job—and how he handled the pressure.
Justin Timberlake and his all-star dancers at the Super Bowl (via YouTube)
Whatever your feelings about the Prince tribute, or the "selfie kid" moment, or the star performer's...bold fashion choices, I think we can all agree on one thing: Last night's Super Bowl halftime show belonged to JT's dancers.
Timberlake rehearsing at the stadium (via YouTube)
In less than a week, Mr. Justin Timberlake and his crew of amazing dancers will take to the biggest stage of their lives: center field at the U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, MN, for the Super Bowl LII halftime show.
We know the performance will be top-notch; we'd expect nothing less from JT. (Although we're guessing that, 15 years after the "nipplegate" scandal, the costumes will be, uh, full-coverage.) But exactly how fabulous will the choreography be? Well, we just got a look at some behind-the-scenes rehearsal footage. And based on the clips, the answer to that question appears to be: very fabulous.
It’s not easy to land a spot on Justin Timberlake’s The 20/20 Experience world tour. But armed with fluid moves, dynamic versatility and a sly sense of humor, 24-year-old Matt Aylward did just that—and much more. He started training at Fancy Feet Dance Studios near Charlotte, NC, at age 13, and went on to perform with Usher and Rihanna and to appear on “Glee” and “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.” In addition to dancing live with Justin every night, he was featured in Timberlake’s “Suit & Tie” video. Read on for The Dirt.
(Photo by Vince Trupsin, courtesy Clear Talent Group)
What did you want to be when you were a kid?
A Power Ranger.
What dancer would you drop everything to see?
If you could work with any performer, past or present, who would it be?
What’s the strangest thing in your dance bag?
A small brush for my beard. #Fearthebeard.
Dance-wise, do you have any bad habits?
I tend to look down while I dance. I'm trying to stop that immediately.
What was your most embarrassing onstage moment?
Having my pants split all the way on stage with Usher.
What’s the most challenging thing about touring?
Being away from my dogs and anything that has to do with luggage!
Oh hey, guess what? Justin Timberlake has done it again.
I know! It's shocking.
JT recently released the music video for "Take Back the Night," and it's pretty great—especially for all the New Yorkers (or NYC lovers) out there. The dance-y, laid-back video includes clips from his performance with Jay-Z at Yankee Stadium a few weeks ago, some shots of a big ol' dance party in a club, and footage of Timberlake having a dance-off with an adorable little boy in Chinatown. (Does anyone know who this kid is? I want to adopt him.) Also, our friend Dana Wilson is alllll over it, looking fabulous as usual. Hi Dana!