The song of the summer is now the song of the Oscars. Justin Timberlake opened the 2017 Oscars with a lively performance of his song “Can’t Stop the Feeling” from Trolls, the chart-topping single nominated for Best Original Song. Starting outside the Dolby Theater, a tux-rocking Timberlake danced and sang his way down the aisle to the stage, trailed by dancers in formalwear. As Timberlake danced his heart out onstage, the stars in the audience seemed to be enjoying a respite from the pre-awards tension: Jeff Bridges, Javier Bardem, Charlize Theron, Naomie Harris, Janelle Monáe, Brie Larson, Taraji P. Henson, and Octavia Spencer were among the actors caught on camera dancing. Timberlake also took a charming moment to cut a rug with wife Jessica Biel.
As “Can’t Stop the Feeling” came to an end, Timberlake shifted gears into one of his own favorite songs: “Lovely Day” by Bill Withers. (Timberlake has said that the 1977 R&B hit was a big influence on his Oscar-nominated song.)
It’s the only time in recent memory when the Oscars have opened with the performance of a nominated song. If it’s unorthodox, though, it makes a lot of sense: All the Best Original Song nominees are traditionally performed during the ceremony, so why not start off with a crowd pleaser?