By Amy Ryan
Updated August 03, 2020 at 07:43 PM EDT
Credit: Taylor Hicks: Jean Baptiste Lacroix/; Justin Timberlake: George Chin/

Is it time to tell the Soul Patrol to stand down? Justin Timberlake is (Sexy)back-tracking on his earlier trash-talking about Taylor Hicks. Actually, it’s sort of a non-apology apology, with JT’s publicist telling the Associated Press that the singer’s remarks ”were taken completely out of context.” Hmm, I didn’t realize there was a context in which ”He can’t carry a tune in a bucket” doesn’t come off as an insult.

Maybe the ”out of context” part referred to Timberlake’s remarks about the difficulties of sudden fame: ”If he has any skeletons whatsoever; if, God forbid, he’s gay, and all these people in Mississippi who voted for him are like, ‘Oh, my God, I voted for a queer!’ It’s just too much pressure.” I’ll buy that he wasn’t actually trying to imply that Taylor is gay or has other skeletons; he just said it in a clumsy way that should have riled not only Hicks but the entire state of Mississippi.

To his credit, Hicks himself has kept admirably silent about the whole affair. Still, someone must have pressured Timberlake into damage-control mode. Is the lesson here that you shouldn’t risk the wrath of the Soul Patrol, or that people who live in crass houses shouldn’t throw stones?

Pick a side, people: Team Soul Patrol or Team SexyBack?

addCredit(“Taylor Hicks: Jean Baptiste Lacroix/; Justin Timberlake: George Chin/”)