After witnessing the implosions of so many child stars in adulthood – a long list that stretches from Danny Bonaduce to Amanda Bynes – a smooth transition is long overdue.
Fortunately, there’s Justin Timberlake, who has been seemingly immune to bad decisions and embarrassing meltdowns on the road from his childhood days on “The New Mickey Mouse Club.” As a result, he’s a solid second act as a movie star and solo act. If not for a memorable wardrobe malfunction, his record would be spotless.
At the moment, Timberlake is immersed in his musical career. When his 20/20 Experience World Tour stops Friday at Seattle’s KeyArena, he will showcase songs off not one, but two pop albums, “The 20/20 Experience” and “The 20/20 Experience — 2 of 2,” a follow-up featuring 10 new songs.
Both have been well-received by critics, with the two-album project hailed by USA Today as “ambitious as anything” and its second installment praised by People magazine as “a stellar set in its own right.” The follow-up topped the iTunes chart in 45 countries.
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Last week, the album was chosen the best album of 2013 in the People’s Choice Awards, where Timberlake also was chosen male artist and R&B artist of the year. That takes the sting out of the Grammy nominations, where he wasn’t nominated in the top categories.
Meanwhile, he’s still acting. He’s currently featured in the Coen Brothers film “Inside Llewyn Davis.”
And he’s married to actress Jessica Biel after a high-profile bachelorhood that included relationships with Britney Spears and Cameron Diaz.
Oh, he’s funny on “Saturday Night Live,” too.
Put it all together and Timberlake, 32, might be the most well-adjusted pop star ever.
Here’s a timeline of how it happened:
In the cradle of the blues: Justin Randall Timberlake was born Jan. 31, 1981, in Memphis, Tenn., where he was influenced by the Baptist church and the blues. On “Justified,” his 2002 solo debut album, Timberlake would put that background to use: “Growing up where I grew up in Memphis, Tenn., you know, it’s a very blues-influenced (region),” he told the Orlando Sentinel in 2002. “I think you’ll hear a lot of that.”
Searching for stardom: At age 11, Timberlake appeared on the TV talent show “Star Search,” singing country songs under the stage name Justin Randall. For better or worse, his country phase was short-lived.
Wearing mouse ears: In 1993 and 1994, Timberlake moved to Orlando after a successful audition to become a cast member on “The New Mickey Mouse Club,” a kid-friendly variety show produced at Disney-MGM Studios (now known as Disney’s Hollywood Studios). The lineup was a Who’s Who of future stars that included Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, JC Chasez and Ryan Gosling.
Birth of a boy band: Near the end of his “Mouse Club” stint, Timberlake recruited Chasez to join a fledgling boy band being put together by manager Lou Pearlman, who had already used a similar formula to create the Backstreet Boys. In 1995, ’N Sync formed with Timberlake, Chasez, Lance Bass, Joey Fatone and Chris Kirkpatrick.
Teen-pop mania: In 1998, ’N Sync’s self-titled debut album sold 11 million copies on the strength of hits such as “Tearin’ Up My Heart.” Combined with follow-up albums “No Strings Attached” (2000) and “Celebrity” (2001), ’N Sync sold more than 50 million albums and performed at a Super Bowl, a feat that Timberlake would repeat infamously as a solo act.
Justified: Timberlake’s 2002 debut solo album, “Justified,” combined the singer’s pop style with influences that ranged from Michael Jackson’s “Off the Wall” to the blues-oriented sounds of his childhood.
Wardrobe malfunction: Timberlake’s career took a hit two years later, however, when he tore off part of Janet Jackson’s top, exposing her breast for an instant at the Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show. The wardrobe malfunction resulted in Congressional hearings and prompted the Federal Communications Commission to increase the fine for indecency violations from $27,500 to $325,000.
Bringing SexyBack and beyond: After another solo album, “FutureSex/LoveSounds” (2006), Timberlake took a break from music to focus on acting. He starred in a string of popular films, most notably playing Napster founder Sean Parker in “The Social Network” (2010) and teaming with Mila Kunis in the romantic comedy “Friends With Benefits” (2011). Then, it was back to music with “The 20/20 Experience” albums and tour, the latest chapter in an appealing success story.
What: 20/20 Experience World Tour
When: 8 p.m. Friday
Where: KeyArena, Seattle
Cost: $61-$199, but tickets are sold out and can only be purchased on the secondary market
Information: ticketmaster.com, 800-745-3000