Michael Jackson would approve of the video for his single, "Love Never Felt So Good," the Justin Timberlake duet and lead track from his posthumous album "Xscape" released Tuesday.
The clip, which premiered on "The Ellen Degeneres Show" Wednesday, centers on dancers singing the song and recreating Jackson's signature choreography from some of his best music videos "Smooth Criminal," "Bad," "Beat It," "Billie Jean," and "Thriller." When the video shows a snippet of Jackson dancing in the pool hall in "Beat It," walking down the illuminated sidewalk in "Billie Jean," and doing the famous gravity defying forward lean stunt in "Smooth Criminal," the dancers recreate the moments in the next scene.
Wearing a black zipped jacket similar to the one Jackson dons in "Bad," Timberlake blends right in, getting barely more camera time than the dancers. He sings his verse and otherwise films partying shots with the group. This is not a Timberlake video. It's a Jackson tribute from his fans.
During an interview on OWN's "Oprah's Master Class" Sunday, the former 'N Sync singer said he actually wrote the group's song "Gone" for Jackson, but when the late icon decided not to record it, Timberlake sang the song with his bandmates.
After the song was finished, Jackson called Timberlake and suggested they sing it as a duet, but Timberlake did not want to renege on the version with his group. "I said, 'Well, it's already out. We've already cut this song as an 'N Sync' song,'" he said. "I'm on the phone, I'm literally punching myself in the face, saying, 'I can't do that. Could we do 'N Sync featuring Michael Jackson or Michael Jackson featuring 'N Sync?' But he was very absolute about the fact that he wanted it to be a duet between himself and I."
Timberlake credits that conversation with Jackson as a defining moment in his career. "I think it's the first idea that I ever got about doing something on my own because it was the first time I felt the confidence to do it," he said.
"Xscape" offers a mix of original and contemporized versions of previously unreleased Jackson songs. Though the original renditions sound superior because they better capture Jackson's most authentic sound, the modernized "Love Never Felt So Good" with Timberlake is a highlight.