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January 17, 2014 at 11:02 AM

After a white-hot year, Justin Timberlake plays KeyArena

Jus3775By almost any measure of pop stardom, 2013 was an extraordinary year for Justin Timberlake.

The still-boyish-looking former lead singer for ’N Sync and one-time Mouseketeer was the year’s top-selling artist, biggest music-award winner and best-dressed male celebrity, with GQ choosing him as its “most stylish man of the year.”

Timberlake, who brings his lavish “20/20 Experience” concert tour to KeyArena on Friday, also managed memorable roles in two movies, “Runner Runner” (co-starring with Ben Affleck) and “Inside Llweyn Davis,” the Coen Brothers comedy-drama about New York City’s folk scene in 1961.

Based on his musical output in 2013, Timberlake is nominated for 42 awards, including seven Grammy Awards. Amazon picked “The 20/20 Experience” as best pop album of the year, and iTunes declared him artist of the year — and “20/20” the No. 1 top-selling album.

The Memphis-born entertainer is also the recipient of multiple American Music Awards and MTV Video Music Awards, among them the prestigious Michael Jackson Vanguard Award. Last week, he swept the musical categories at the People’s Choice Awards, nabbing the trophies for favorite album, male artist and R&B artist.

For the first time since 2005, a solo male artist — Timberlake — is No. 1 on the year-end Top Billboard 200 Albums Chart. (Rapper 50 Cent was the last to do so, with “The Massacre.”)

Timberlake’s 2013 album, “The 20/20 Experience,” sold 968,000 copies in its first week last March.

“The 20/20 Experience” — a blend of pop, funk, R&B, soul and other styles — yielded the hit singles “Suit & Tie” (with Jay-Z), “Mirrors” and “Pusher Love Girl.” The album’s sequel, the grittier, less-appealing “The 20/20 Experience (2 of 2),” made its debut at No. 1 on the Oct. 19 Billboard album chart, adding to the mania that has kept the singer into the stratosphere.

So why is Timberlake so popular? Perhaps a key is his length of service, with fans who have been on board since his days with ’N Sync. They’ve grown up with him, and their tastes have evolved with him.

His music encompasses a wide array of styles, with a dose of nostalgia geared to 30-somethings like himself. His music is classy and sophisticated, while maintaining an edge. Sometimes compared to Frank Sinatra, he has combined his music and film careers into a winning package.

For his current “20/20 Experience” tour, Timberlake has been arriving on stage in a black-and-white tuxedo, as if prepared to accept another award. The singer, dancer and showman is backed by the Tennessee Kids — an 11-piece band, including four horn players, as well as four background singers.

The groove-fest features a generous selection of songs from the current albums, as well as Timberlake’s 2006 record, “FutureSex/LoveSounds.” The previous leg of the tour included covers of songs by Jay-Z, Elvis Presley (“Heartbreak Hotel”), Kool & the Gang (“Jungle Boogie”), Michael Jackson and Bell Biv DeVoe.

8 p.m. Friday, KeyArena; $45-$175 (800-745-3000 or

Comments | Topics: Justin Timberlake, KeyArena


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