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You can often gauge how an awards show ceremony will go up its opening performance. Some shows go with the prerecorded montage, others go with the live performance. The 2017 Academy Awards opted to go for the latter, but surprisingly, the opening number wasn't from familiar stock. Instead, music superstar Justin Timberlake handled getting people pumped and ready for the 2016 movie celebration, and you can check it out the highlights below.
When the ceremony opened up, it didn't look like anything out of the ordinary. Some people were lingering outside of the theater, and it looked like we were just getting more behind-the-scenes looks. Then things kicked up a notch when Justin Timberlake, started singing "Can't Stop The Feeling," one of the hits songs from the animated movie Trolls (where Timberlake voiced the character Branch) which is also nominated for a Best Original Song Oscar. Followed by well-dressed backup dancers, he got the crowd going with the upbeat lyrics, eventually making his way up to the stage.
Now with a city set looming in the back with the musicians, Timberlake and his dancers finished up the energetic number, but that wasn't the end. He then segued into a number he knew the crowd was familiar with, specifically Denzel Washington: ""Lovely Day," originally sung by Bill Withers. The whole thing finished off by transitioning back into "Can't Stop The Feeling," only this time, Timberlake was joined on stage by his wife Jessica Biel and other celebrities. Once the performance was done, host Jimmy Kimmel joked to Timberlake that with a performance like that, the other members of NSYNC will probably let him back in the boy band.
In terms of opening the Academy Awards ceremony on a strong note, Justin Timberlake fulfilled that and then some. Rather than go for an overly-complicated opening, the Academy Awards folks made a wise choice going with quality over quantity. Timberlake and the gang hit it out of the park with their performance, and even as the ceremony continues, I don't know if I'll be able to get those songs out of my head. All this being said, it would have been great if there could been some callbacks to some of the other Oscar contenders this year. Maybe we could have at least gotten Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone-lookalikes bringing in some La La Land flavor with the other dancers? Anyway, that's just a minor quibble. Overall, this was one of the Academy Awards' best musical performances.
While Justin Timberlake has the performing out of the way, he still has to wait for whether "Can't Stop The Feeling" (which Timberlake worked on with Max Martin and Karl Johan Schuster) will win the Best Original Song Oscar. Its competition includes "Audition (The Fools Who Dream)" from La La Land, "City of Star" from La La Land, "The Empty Chair" from Jim: The James Foley Story and "How Far I'll Go" from Moana.