His performance has been universally panned by the press.
I point you to:
So the question becomes, where does this leave popular opinion? Does this hurt his career or does the sheer fact of his appearance help him? No doubt Timberlake sold tickets for his tour last night, although his album is considered to be a complete stiff. So his fans support him, and those who don’t don’t. But one thing we’ve learned, is to be ubiquitous, to be considered all-encompassing, there must be a positive vibe about you and your career, and with this performance JT seems to have turned the corner, arguably to his detriment.
This has been the first time this has happened with a Super Bowl appearance. Seen as a marketing opportunity, there’s always been scuttlebutt about the performance but no negative outcomes were experienced, unless you count the people talking about Janet Jackson’s career, but maybe she just didn’t have another hit…
So, once again, you can always say no, and sometimes should.
If you’re courting the press, know the press can turn against you.
And we know if your album is a hit or a stiff within a day now, that’s what streaming service data will tell you.
So you’re best to go your own way, reinvent the paradigm, be happy you’ve got your core audience and prey upon it, because the bigger you want to be, the more chance you have to fall.
P.S. Press, especially traditional media, means less than ever before, but when the stars align and the outlets agree, it can sway national opinion/conventional wisdom.