The 13-year-old Scituate, Massachusetts, native did his first in-studio interview on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, airing Friday, during which he revealed he pushed his way through the U.S. Bank Stadium crowd to stand beside Timberlake.
“I got myself there, I pushed through. I was elbowing people but I got there. I was there with him,” McKenna told host Ellen DeGeneres.
“I saw all the memes. The iPhone 6 – that thing’s slow,” the young Patriots fan said about the viral photo of him distracted by his phone while Timberlake belted out the lyrics to “Can’t Stop the Feeling” next to him.
“I had to get the camera back up to get the selfie,” McKenna continued.
Then, the moment he least expected: DeGeneres surprised the teenager with a phone call from Timberlake.
“Ryan, it’s nice to meet you finally,” said the former ‘NSYNC band member.
“I knew that I wanted to end the performance with ‘Can’t Stop the Feeling’ because I knew how people respond to that song and cut to Ryan,” Timberlake recalled of the scene-stealing seventh-grader.
“It was so unexpected that you came down. Because all of this has happened, I thought to myself I want to meet you properly,” the Man of the Woods hitmaker said, surprising McKenna with four VIP tickets to his Boston concert in April.
“Ryan, I look forward to meeting you and our second selfie together,” Timberlake told him.
Following his unexpected television debut, McKenna has appeared on morning talk shows, like Good Morning America and Today, even revealing that he’s gained 8,000 more followers on Snapchat.
The Ellen DeGeneres Show airs weekdays in syndication (check local listings).