Justin Timberlake delivered an emotional – and rather lengthy – acceptance speech at the Memphis Music Hall of Fame at the weekend, as he reacted jubilantly to being inducted.

The former ‘NSYNC star stood on stage for just under half an hour thanking friends, family and fans and cracking jokes. On Saturday night (October 17th), 34 year old Timberlake was inducted into the Hall of Fame in the city he grew up in. After an introduction to the stage by his friend Jimmy Fallon, he choked back the tears as he acknowledged those who had helped him on his way to success.

Justin TimberlakeJustin Timberlake was inducted into the Memphis Music Hall of Fame

“This is the f—ing coolest thing that has ever happened to me,” began Timberlake, who was born and raised in Memphis. “This is really, really a surprise for me to be honoured here tonight. I felt like it was sort of unwarranted when I first looked at the list of my fellow inductees, but I’ve also never been one to turn down a reason to come home and spend time in the city that I grew up in that holds such a special place in my heart.”

Sipping at a small glass of tequila throughout his speech, Timberlake then joked: “I’m literally about to become the weird uncle that got drunk at your wedding and took the microphone at the reception.”

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Touchingly, the singer, who is currently composing the soundtrack to the upcoming 2016 movie The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, thanked his family. “First, I want to thank my beautiful, loving, and incredibly understanding-of-her-husband’s-shortcomings wife, Jessica [Biel],” he said. “Baby, I love you. More than I could put into words and more than any song I could ever write.”

Then he acknowledged the influence of his father, stepdad and mother, calling them his “original entourage”, before humbly thanking those Memphis artists who had come before him.

“I am truly honoured to merely stand on the shoulders of all these legends that I grew up listening to, that I grew up admiring,” he said. “And to say I stand alongside them now… Memphis, the greatest city in the world, and the Memphis Music Hall of Fame, you have given me and my family... the greatest honour this evening, and made us all very proud, and I only hope that I can continue to return the favour for as long as I live and breathe.”

During the ceremony, the Associated Press reports that Timberlake also performed a version of Otis Redding’s ‘Sittin’ On the Dock of the Bay’ with fellow Hall of Fame inductee Sam Moore (of Sam & Dave).

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