Super Bowl Halftime Producer Clears The Air On Prince Hologram Controversy

After all the back and forth regarding word of a Prince hologram, Super Bowl LI halftime show producer Ricky Kirshner has finally broken his silence regarding the 11-song set, which saw Justin Timberlake receive less than stellar reviews for including a projection duet of the late icon's "I Would Die 4 U."

In a lengthy interview with Tribune Content Agency, the 10x Emmy-winning producer revealed his frustrations around all the backlash, admitting that Prince's estate gave them permission to use his voice and image during the pop spectacle. 

"They absolutely gave us the audio and authorized Warner Bros. to give us the footage," he admitted. "The idea was to pay tribute to the original Prince banner that we had done 11 years ago — and it was a bit harder to do it with the blowing fans like we did in Miami from a production point of view. But from the way we hung it — not being a tight projection screen and making it look like a banner — and ending it the way we did was a tribute to the way he did it 11 years ago."

As for whether or not Timberlake had a hologram of the Purple Wonder incorporated in his set at one point, Kirshner cleared the air and confirmed that "there was never an idea to have a hologram." 

"I can't speculate as to what someone saw, but I do know that all of our people are not authorized to talk to the press so whoever was there and saw something they shouldn’t have seen shouldn’t have been there to begin with," the producer said of how the rumors of a hologram might have started. "Justin has always said that he reveres Prince — his [2016 Netflix concert film] was dedicated to Prince — we were in Minneapolis, we thought it would be the right thing to do, and I still believe that. I watched the morning news shows in Minneapolis the day after the show and all of them were over the moon that we did something to honor Prince. Just because a few people tweeted that they didn't think we should doesn't make it wrong, in my opinion. It was always the intent to honor Prince."

Photo: Getty Images