JT roundup: fan meetings, inspirational stories, + photobombs

Alberta woman’s dream encounter with Justin Timberlake

EDMONTON – Amanda Renneberg is undoubtedly the envy of thousands of Justin Timberlake fans after his concert Monday. Not only did the 27-year-old Sherwood Park woman get a special shout-out from the pop star, but she also had the meeting of her dreams with him before the show.

Global News first spoke to Renneberg in December, after she and her boyfriend, Derek Jones, started an online campaign to help Renneberg get her wish of meeting Timberlake. She explained then that his music inspires her and gives her the motivation to keep fighting her rare neuro-muscular disorder, Friedreich’s Ataxia.

A few days later, the unexpected happened.

“He phoned me! It was so surreal to have my JT ringtone ring, and it was him,” Renneberg recalled, excitedly. “I knew the second he asked for Amanda that it was his voice. I couldn’t believe it.”

Local businessman Fazman Patel had seen Renneberg’s story on Global News and reached out to a contact he had on Timberlake’s team, which set things in motion.

Timberlake told Renneberg during their phone conversation that he was excited to meet her in person. That moment finally arrived before Monday’s sold-out show.

She and her boyfriend met JT and his wife Jessica Biel in the VIP lounge at Rexall Place.

“I couldn’t believe he was standing right in front of me. My mouth just about dropped on the floor,” Renneberg said.

The singer gave her a big hug, and chatted with the pair for about 20 minutes.

He also fulfilled a special request.

“I don’t really like my wheelchair in pictures so much because it’s kind of a new thing to me. And I just wanted him to pick me up,” Renneberg explained.

Her boyfriend admits Timberlake seemed a little surprised by the request at first, but happily obliged.

“You can see the facial expression when he picks Amanda up that he thought it was hilarious that that’s what she wanted – but why not? He thought it was cool.”

After the meeting, the couple was led to a VIP table right beside the stage next to Timberlake’s mother. During the show, Renneberg had another unforgettable moment, when Timberlake gave her a shout-out in front of his 14,500 fans.

“I got my new friend in the house. Her name is Amanda,” Timberlake said between songs. “I got to meet her this afternoon. I love you, sweetheart.”

She got to chat with Timberlake once more after the show, and went home with a bag full of exclusive memorabilia.

Timberlake also invited her and her boyfriend for a second night of VIP treatment Tuesday night.

For Renneberg, the whole experience has been surreal.

“I want to thank him from the bottom of my heart for making a small town girl’s dream come true.”

I don't have too many inspirations in the world, but there's been one person who's been my biggest inspiration for as long as I could remember: Justin Timberlake.

I don't know what it is, but I've always admired the idea of this man who accesses every expression of themselves with a sort of fearless ambition. And Justin Timberlake is a powerhouse with tech investments, platinum albums and an accomplished acting career to tow. But when he announced the surprise release of his highly-anticipated third album, he only solidified the notion for me. So I had to see him in person this go-around for he was, indeed, my biggest inspiration in the world.

A week before the release of his new album at the time, it was announced that he would be performing everyday for a week on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon. I couldn't believe it. I was going to be able to make my dream a reality. So instead of going home for the break, I decided to go to New York City after finishing my midterms. And what I gained from this experience was nothing like I could've ever expected.

Now, how these late-night talk shows typically work is that they're usually shot in the late afternoon with tickets being first-come, first-serve, thus, the reason why I arrived on a very cold Thursday midnight to be admitted to Friday's taping. I eventually did get tickets to the show, sat in an aisle seat, and received a high five from Justin after an epic performance of the History of Rap Four. It all happened so quickly that I couldn't even comprehend what had just occurred.

A couple of hours after what seemed to be an outer-body experience, I decided to go to an evening performance of The Book of Mormons on Broadway and here's where things got even more surreal. While I was in Will Call to pick up tickets for the show, I noticed a man in what I remembered to be a casual, black trench coat step out of a taxi cab in front of the show's theater. Who was it? Could it be? No, I thought. But yes, it was!

Justin Timberlake.

If not only a different environment, this was certainly a different Justin to me. Partly because he was with his wife and I was no longer a part of a subdued studio audience. This was now the real world. And he was walking towards me.

In this very moment, it all started coming back to me for some reason: that awkward phase during my younger years when I had cornrows and wanted to beatbox just like the lead singer of *NSYNC; the man who inspired me to live beyond my dreams with his clever retort -- "A billion dollars" -- in my favorite movie of all-time, The Social Network. I mean, this was Dylan Harper. This was the first man I ever saw Punk'd and my favorite person to host Saturday Night Live. This was my idol and, for the first time in what seemed like a passive experience earlier, he was right there standing in front of me.

As he approached the entrance to the theater, he looked at me with a sort of familiarity from the earlier taping (though doubtful in recent reflection). I still couldn't believe this was happening.

But, what did I do as he shuffled with the masses to fill the theater still maintaining a shifting glance? What did I do during this window in time when he was standing a mere inch away from me? What did I do in the moment that I could've said how much he meant to me after all these years?

I unabashedly turned away in a sort of clumsy nervousness.

I didn't say a thing. I never tried to tell him how much he'd inspired me over the past decade. Or even attempt to give him a one-word critique of his "unbelievable" performance earlier on Fallon. No. I simply turned my back on 18 years of words that I've always wanted to say -- never expressing one. I'd missed a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and during my trek back to the Port Authority, I continued to think about what this experience had truly taught me.

When I returned to my dorm room later that night, I was in a different mindset because I didn't at all regret what had happened. Strange, but I knew that those unspoken words would soon lead to a yearning to be better in my own life. And oddly enough, the words that were left unsaid went into the drive of something else. Something that really did change how I live my life -- forever.

Now, the reason that I'm telling this story is not to at all boast about this unforgettable experience, but to speak of the lesson from the inspiring moment. We've all had it. When our parents surprised us with an unexpected left-turn to go get ice cream on those car rides home from school. Or the time that our teacher inspired us by validating our dreams in suggesting that we audition for a talent show. Whatever it was, there's a certain surge of power that we get like the youthful jolt of energy on Christmas morning. This idea that our wildest dreams can happen at any moment and great things can truly come out of the unexpected.

I never want to lose that feeling.

Hope and optimism are the guiding factors to my life now -- as it should be for everyone. Justin not only taught me this, but drove the idea home in those New York moments. The consistency in his altruism, drive and dynamic career, unlike other artists, has never let me down. And it's really okay to be yourself and express your ambitions to the world, which I've learned through his own life. It only makes us better.

So, as I continue listen to the best-selling album of 2013 (yes, it's his), I think about what an incredible year it's been thanks largely to Justin's inspirational value. And even more so at 19-years-old, I now know that incredible things can happen at any moment. You just have to believe. And with that, I thank Mr. Timberlake.

This is my friend Elizabeth's story, and I share it with permission. Elizabeth and her girlfriends were in Puerto Rico for a bachelorette weekend. While leaving a restaurant in Old San Juan one evening, they spotted a celebrity. Timberlake. Justin Timberlake. As JT exited the building and walked toward his car, one of the girls asked if they could have their picture taken with him. He made eye contact, said nothing, and got in the car -- with the windows conveniently down. Like a good bachelorette, Elizabeth dutifully shouted, "Diiiick!" The car, which had started to pull away, stopped. JT got out and said, "Did you just call me a dick? I'm not a dick because you didn't get what you want!" He makes an excellent point. It is certifiably impossible to please all people, all of the time. An international celebrity knows this very well, and we civilians have our experience with it, too. Mr. Timberlake's candid sta
tement applies directly to unrequited attraction. It's tempting to make Mr. Would-Be-Right a bad guy, simply because you aren't getting what you want; when in reality he hasn't done anything wrong. You can't please everyone all the time and neither can your heartthrob. If his only "crime" is not having the same level of interest that you have, he's not a dick. Don't get me wrong, there is plenty of behavior that makes a guy a dick, which we'll discuss, but he doesn't owe you anything just because you exist. Humbling, yet true. As for the bride-to-be and her gaggle of girls, Elizabeth apologized, and JT stood for what is probably one of the greatest bachelorette photos ever. When Elizabeth posted the pic on Facebook she wrote, "What's up now b/c we SO got what we wanted!!!! Best time ever!!!!!!" It worked out in this case, because Justin didn't have to commit to more than a 30-second pose. Keep in mind it doesn't always go down like this.

Justin Timberlake is on a hot streak: First, a video of him helping out a fan propose to his girlfriend during a concert went viral. Now, an epic photobomb is making the rounds after a user uploaded a snapshot to Reddit under the title "Sometimes you see Justin Timberlake in concert...sometimes he photobombs you."

Much like Beyonce, JT's timing was impeccable and resulted in a selfie these fans never saw coming.

Tip of the hat to you, sir!

Even Macklemore can’t resist a photo opp with Justin Timberlake. During the singer’s show at Seattle’s Key Arena on Friday, Macklemore ran up to the stage to take a selfie with Justin as he was performing “Human Nature.” A security guard, who didn’t recognize the “Thrift Shop” rapper, tried to grab the camera before JT waved off the bodyguard.

Timberlake gave a shout-out to the Seattle MC during the show. “Girls grab a girl, guys grab a guy, it’s the same love in here tonight. Shout out to Macklemore,” he said in reference to Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ hit “Same Love.”

After the show, JT tweeted, “Seattle gets down… For real. Shout out to @macklemore and some of the @Seahawks for coming.”

Watch Mack swoop in for the shot and meet up with JT backstage.

Sources: http://globalnews.ca/news/1083011/alberta-womans-dream-encounter-with-justin-timberlake/, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tywan-wade/justin-timberlake-inspirational-2013_b_4548171.html, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/samara-oshea/justin-timberlake-teaches_b_4532056.html, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/19/justin-timberlake-photobomb_n_4472181.html, http://www.rap-up.com/2014/01/18/macklemore-snaps-selfie-with-justin-timberlake-during-show/