24 Hours

The one thing that saves me during my day is performing.  I can stand spend twenty minutes in the make up chair dealing with eye liner and crap like that.  I can stand getting shuttled downstairs on the slow ass elevator and pushed around before I get mobbed by the crowd and have my ears screamed out, but only because I get to be on stage.  The stage is the one place in the world that makes it all go away and makes everything that I've done that day, that week, that year and in my life worth it all.

As soon as Like I Love You starts to play I can feel the beat in my chest and I think of me and Pharrell in the studio in Virgina Beach, and me and Hugo hanging out at the clubs and I remember the fact that my mother and my brothers are watching and that the whole world is celebrating the fact that I'm up here on this stage.  This is home and there isn't a place on the world that I'd rather be.

Mickey, Gary, Pete, Wilson, my band members, take their positions.  Marc, Zeke, Polly, and Annie get behind the microphones to sing back up,  while Haylee and Marissa hide a little behind the band waiting for their cue.

I bow my head, take a deep breath and try to make my voice as low as I can get it as I start the song.  For an instant I feel completely alone.  When I look around none of the other guys are there.  I thought that it was just the VMAs that would feel this way, but now I realize that it's real and that this is the way that things are going to be from now on.

Just somethin' about you
Way I'm lookin' at you, whatever
You keep lookin' at me
You're gettin' scared now
Right?

I cock my head to the side and even though they can't see the expression on my face I can hear from the screaming that they are paying attention to the way I'm posed and are almost ready for me to turn around.  I have to tease them a little bit.  That's what this whole business is about.  The anticipation usually is better than the actual song or dance move or lyric.  They're all waiting for me to do something.

Donít feel me baby

When I turn around the crowd goes wild and I have to pause for just a minute before I start the routine I'm supposed to do.

It's just Justin
Feel good right?
Listen

My feet slide across the stage.  I can't even think of how to describe it.  They know what to do on their own and I find myself just letting them lead me.

I kinda noticed something one night
In your colorful face
Its kinda weird to me
since you're so fine
If its up to me your face'll change

If you smile then that should set the tone (just be limber)
and if you let go the music should move your bones (just remember)
sing this song with me

My eyes search the crowd and I make eye contact with a few people, but it's Vivian that I'm looking for and I don't see her.  I look ont he side of the stage, in the back of the crowd and when I turn around I look by Troy and the drumset and the guitars and I don't see her.

Ain't nobody love ya like i love ya
You're a good girl and thats what makes me trust ya
HEY!
Late at night i talk to you
you will know the difference when i touch ya

I shake the feeling of worry from my head as I move across the stage.  I reach out to a few girls and get fingertips.  I know that it's such a tease to do that, but I know they love it and it'll keep me in their good graces if I try to make it look like I want to get my fans involved in my show.  It's not my fault that I'm kept from them for most of my day, but really it's become a safety issue, not only for me, but for them too.

People are so phony
Nosy cuz they lonely
arent you sick of the same thing
They say so and so is datin
love you or they hatin
and it doesnt matter anyway
cuz we're here tonight

I'm supposed to stay serious during this song, but I can't help but to goof off.  I mean I'm having too much fun up here to let this slide by without enjoying it.

If you smile then that should set the tone (just be limber baby)
and if you let go the music should move your bones (baby just remember)
Sing this song with me

Ain't nobody love ya like i love ya
You're a good girl and thats what makes me trust ya
HEY!
Late at night i talk to you
you will know the difference when i touch ya

When the chorus comes up the fans are already screaming the words.  It amazes me that they know the song and it's only been out for a few weeks.  I know they used to do that with NSYNC, but I always felt like there were five guys for them to be interested in and I wasn't sure how many fans would switch over and just be there for me.

Yah You know i could make you happy
I could change your life

If you give me that chance to be your man
(I wont let you down baby)
If you give me that chance to be your man
(Here baby put on my jacket)
And then

Maybe we'll fly the night away
(I just wanna love ya baby, yah yah yah)
Maybe we'll fly the night away
(I just wanna love ya baby)
Girl

The song finishes and I take my bow and try not to breathe too hard into the microphone.  Carson appears from no where and we start talking about the song and I thank the fans before they cut away to more videos for the TRL countdown.

Despite the fact that the whole crowd is yelling at me to come and pose for pictures I make my way to the back and lean towards Troy who hands me a towel knowing that's not why I'm standing there talking to him.  "Seen Vivian?"

Troy looks around for a minute, "Nope."

"Shit."  I wipe my face and look around the crowd pretending to be looking at the fans when really the person that I am looking for has disappeared.  "Where the hell did she go?"

Troy took the towel back and shrugged.  "She's probably up there booking you for a million and one more interviews.  Why?"

"That's exactly what I don't want her to be doing," I say trying to cover up for the way I'm acting.

Carson finally does the intro back from watching other videos and I make my way up to the front of the stage.

We chat for a few minutes about the album and the whole time I'm looking at the camera, but the hairs on the back of my neck are standing on end.  I know that someone is behind me.  I pray that it isn't Britney.  I know they'd never throw us together on camera, but a part of my brain thinks about it.

"Ok."  The Carson looks at me with this huge smile on his face.  " So what does it feel like to perform without the other boys and do you know what they think of your solo music?"

I feel like I've been asked this question before, but at this point EVERYTHING sounds just about the same.  I roll my eyes at the term boys and try not to reach out and hit the guy.  I would hope that at this level of the game that they'd get a professional in here to talk, but it looks like that idea is out the window.

"A double question!"  I try to laugh off the fact that people always do that to me.  They want one question answered but they ask two instead.  "It is weird and very different." 

When I turn around to motion towards the stage and the band I see Vivian standing off to the side.  She's got a worried look on her face again, like she had on the phone earlier this morning and then again after Britney and I had words in the hallway.

"I look around and there's not four people around me anymore. Then I had to realize there were dancers behind me and that they don't have to sing. They get paid to dance and they're really good at it."  I hate myself for saying that.  I feel like I'm kissing their asses now.  Of course they're good or they wouldn't be working with me...and that's not a personal choice...too many people have their hands in my career to let some novice on the stage with me.  "So, I had to step up my game a lot. Before, if I was slacking slightly I could just say 'But man I'm trying to sing!' Now I have to be able to keep up with them."  I don't mention that usually I'm the one in the studio longer than they are trying to make my moves my own versus the way that the others do theirs.  "I'm having a good time though."

"That's good to hear."  Carson motions towards the stage with his hand and nods to me so that I know that I need to get ready for the second song.  He moves a little and then introduces Cry Me A River.

This song kills me.  It killed me to write it, killed me to sing it and for a moment the thought runs through my mind that I might throw up on this stage because of the words I have to sing.

The beat of the song starts and I put the microphone to my lips.  Just as I tip my head up I catch a glimpse of Britney.  In all the world, why does she have to be standing on the scaffolding on the right side of the stage?  I see Jamie Lynn and Rob and Fi and Lynne standing there watching.  Britney has a jacket on now with a hood, but even the dumbest person could see it was her considering the enterage that was with her.

When I do my first turn in the choreography I raise my hand and pump it to the beat and catch Vivian's eyes.  She's watching Britney and there is fear on her face.

That look, that simple look she gives me, sends a fire through me and all the hurt and pain that I've been feeling for the last few weeks comes out in m voice bringing a pained and hurt sound to my voice.

You were my sun
You were my earth
But you didn't know all the ways I loved you, no
So you took a chance,
And made other plans.
But I bet you didn't think your thing would come crashing down, no

Without me knowing it, my eyes lift to the sky then scan over towards her.  I can see her standing there now with her arms across her chest.  She's not excited at all, but it seems as if Jamie Lynn likes the song and is arguing to stay to liste to the rest of it, by the way she's tugging on Lynn's arm.

You don't have to say, what you did
I already know, I found out from him
Now there's just no chance
For you and me, there'll never be
And don't it make you sad about it

I narrow my eyes and turn my attention back towards the crowd knowing I'll never hear the end of it.  I decide to just sing the next stanza to her then let the audience have the rest of my performance.

You told me you loved me
Why did you leave me, all alone?
Now you tell me you need me
When you call me, on the phone
Girl I refuse, you must have me confused
With some other guy
Your bridges were burned, and now it's your turn
To cry, cry me a river
Cry me a river...
Cry me a river
Cry me a river, yeah yeah

Britney turns away from the crowd and walks back into the building, but Jamie Lynn stands there with Lynne and Fi.

I know that they say
That some things are better left unsaid
It wasn't like you only talked to him and you know it
(Don't act like you don't know it)
All of these things people told me
Keep messing with my head
(Messing with my head)
You should've picked honesty
Then you may not have blown it (yeah)

You don't have to say, what you did,
(Don't have to say, what you did) I already know, I found out from him
(I already know, uh)
Now there's just no chance, for you and me, there'll never be
(No chance, you and me)
And don't it make you sad about it

My feet get caught up into the choreography and my mind clears for a minute.  My heartrate eases despite the dancing I'm doing and everything else in the world fades away.  I can't hear the crowd or the music or even my own voice.  It's this calm silence that takes over as if I'm in this other world.

You told me you loved me
Why did you leave me, all alone (all alone)
Now you tell me you need me
When you call me, on the phone (when you call me on the phone)
Girl I refuse, you must have me confused
With some other guy (I'm not like them baby)
Your bridges were burned, and now it's your turn (It's your turn)
To cry, cry me a river
(Go on and just)
Cry me a river (Go on and just)
Cry me a river
(Baby go on and just)
Cry me a river, yea yea

My brain finally kicks in and as I'm doing the echoes for the last few lines I grab up the extra microphone and tuck the other one in my back pocket.  I set myself in the middle of the stage, far enough back so that the dancers can circle around me like we've planned.  In the song Timbaland sings the deep beat about damage being done, but production wise he can't travel so I've planned to beat box through that stanza of the song.

The cheers erupt as I stop and start to sing the next stanza.

You don't have to say, what you did,
(Don't have to say, what you did) I already know, I found out from him
(I already know, uh)
Now there's just no chance, for you and me, there'll never be
(No chance, you and me)
And don't it make you sad about it

Cry me a river (Go on and just)
Cry me a river (Baby go on and just)
Cry me a river (You can go on and just)
Cry me a river, yea yea

I tip my head to the side and make a cocky little face and look up to see that now Jamie Lynne, Lynne, Fi and Rob are now back in the building.  I hate the way this is going, but at least she's getting the clue that it was her fault in all of this.

Cry me a river (Baby go on and just)
Cry me a river (Go on and just)
Cry me a river (Cause I've already cried)
Cry me a river, yea yea (Ain't gonna cry no more, yea-yea)

Cry me a river
Cry me a river, oh
Cry me a river, oh
Cry me a river, oh

Cry me a river, oh (Cry me, cry me)
Cry me a river, oh (Cry me, cry me)
Cry me a river, oh (Cry me, cry me)
Cry me a river, oh (Cry me, cry me)
Cry me a river, oh (Cry me, cry me)
Cry me a river, oh (Cry me, cry me)
Cry me a river (Cry me, cry me)

The song ends and I hit my last pose.  My chest hurts from trying to suck in air and my legs are shaking from the dancing, but despite it all, I love this.


Carson's question about Justin's career came from Part 6 and originally  from :  http://www.bbc.co.uk/totp/artists/t/timberlake_justin/underthegrill/page1.shtml


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