In his first performance since his controversial Super Bowl Halftime Show earlier this month, the “Filthy” crooner sang his duet with the country star at Wednesday’s award show live from London’s O2 Arena.
Opening with “Midnight Summer Jam,” Timberlake then played the opening lines of his and Stapleton’s duet on a drum machine before welcoming the country star to the stage. Throughout their performance, around 200 backing dancers appeared through the crowd to join the two.
“#britawards tomorrow night…” Timberlake, 37, captioned an Instagram photo on stage with Singleton from rehearsals on Tuesday. “I’m the one in the beanie.”
The country singer, 39, also shared the post. He added, “I’m the one in the cowboy hat.”
This isn’t the first time the two music powerhouses have joined forces. They previously performed Stapleton’s cover of George Jones’ song “Tennessee Whiskey” and Timberlake’s “Drink You Away” together at the 2015 CMA Awards. The duo linked up again at the Pilgrimage Music Festival in September to play “Tennessee Whiskey,” “Fire Away,” and “Sometimes I Cry.”
“Having Justin in the room elevates everybody,” Stapleton told EW in 2015 after the CMA performance. “Not just everybody on the stage, but everybody in the room. He’s that guy, he has that kind of talent.”
“Say Something” marks the third single off Timberlake’s new album Man of the Woods, and the singer said in an interview with Beats 1‘s Zane Lowe that the tune was partially inspired by “recent misunderstandings.”
“We wrote the song almost a year ago, so a lot of weird things were happening, and they still are, in the world,” he explained. “It was the first song we wrote together. He kind of came in and I thought to myself, it would be really cool to see if we wrote something and we just let Timbaland and Danja just dress it and just see what happens.”
After showing Stapleton some of the music he had been working on, they discussed writing about Timberlake’s desire to assert himself when he was misinterpreted.
“I want to speak up and I want to say something but I just don’t want to get caught in the rhythm of something because if the rhythm goes off, the train goes off the tracks,” the former *NSYNC member said. “And [Stapleton] was just like, ‘OK, I’ll be right back.'”
- With reporting by PHIL BOUCHER