Justin Timberlake Laughs at Origin of 'It's Gonna Be May' Meme

*NSYNC Relives Iconic Hit Through Viral Meme Antics

by Zain ul Abedin
Justin Timberlake Laughs at Origin of 'It's Gonna Be May' Meme
© Amy Sussman/Getty Images

As May approaches, Justin Timberlake has playfully addressed the unique pronunciation in *NSYNC's hit song "It's Gonna Be Me," which inadvertently gave rise to the viral "It's Gonna Be May" meme. The pop star humorously reflected on this enduring quirk in a recent social media video, where he responded to a challenge posed by influencer @umgabi on TikTok.

The challenge asked participants to share a word they once mispronounced that continues to haunt them, to which Timberlake wittily replied by highlighting the word "me" from the iconic song.

The meme, which becomes particularly popular every April, features various images of Timberlake captioned with "It's gonna be May," poking fun at his distinctive vocal style in the song.

This phenomenon began decades ago when fans noticed how Timberlake sang "me" sounded more like "May." This annual resurgence of the meme has become a beloved ritual among fans, signaling the imminent arrival of May.

Band Embraces Meme Fun

Timberlake's bandmate, Joey Fatone, recently told PEOPLE magazine that the *NSYNC members enjoy the meme, often exchanging the funniest versions via group text.

Fatone reminisced about a meme depicting Timberlake as a character from the Night's Watch in "Game of Thrones," highlighting the playful camaraderie among the group members. The origin of this unique pronunciation was a creative decision by producer Max Martin, aiming for a vocal style that would stand out.

However, neither Martin nor the band anticipated this stylistic choice would spark a viral sensation. Fatone noted that while the pronunciation was meant to sound catchy and distinct, it was never expected to evolve beyond the song's lyrics.

Reflecting on the phenomenon, Timberlake has embraced the humor it brings. In a previous interview on "Hot Ones" with his bandmates JC Chasez, Lance Bass, and Chris Kirkpatrick, Timberlake recounted the recording session where Martin corrected his pronunciation, emphasizing "May" instead of a more straightforward "me." This light-hearted moment in the studio has since morphed into an annual pop culture moment, demonstrating how a simple twist in pronunciation can capture the imagination of millions worldwide, year after year.

Justin Timberlake