In the interest of full disclosure, I did not watch the big sporting event this evening. But after Justin Timberlake wrapped his halftime show, I received a flurry of texts from friends containing the words “selfie,” “teen,” and “excellent meme potential.” Well, folks, my friends were not wrong. During his Super Bowl performance, Timberlake — in the middle of Trolls classic “Can’t Stop the Feeling” — took a selfie with a boy — who we would later learn is 13-year-old Ryan McKenna from Massachusetts — in the crowd. It was awkward, to say the least. The kind of perfect-awkward that, when broadcast to millions, gets screengrabbed, clipped, and tweeted immediately by meme-mongers around the world.
There’s something perfect about the whole thing. McKenna gets his selfie and then the camera just lingers. And the longer it lingers, the more you begin to wonder … Does this kid not know who Justin Timberlake is? How did he escape the endless summer of “Can’t Stop the Feeling” playing on the radio without learning any of the words? Who could he possibly be texting while still standing a foot from Justin Timberlake on live television?
Congratulations to mystery selfie kid for eclipsing Timberlake — and his questionable sartorial choices — at his own show.
Update, February 4, 2018, at 9:46 p.m.: Mystery selfie kid has been identified. His name is Ryan McKenna and he is a 13-year-old seventh-grader from Massachusetts. “My phone is almost dead,” McKenna told the Twin Cities Pioneer Press. “I’ve gotten so many notifications. I’ve got like 36 Snapchats, like 21 DMs, and like 150 follower requests on Instagram.”
Update, February 5, 2018, at 11:04 a.m.: Select All caught up with McKenna who has a very good explanation for why he was staring at his phone. Read the interview in full here.