Justin Timberlake backs away from his comments that Taylor Hicks “can’t carry a tune in a bucket”

Justin Timberlake recently told Vanity Fair’s Fashion Rocks supplement that Taylor Hicks is a talentless hack who may be gay or have other “skeletons” in his closet.

About American Idol itself, Justin said, “I have a strange relationship with that show. I despise it, and yet I’m completely fascinated.” Sounds like the rest of us, really. But then he went on to comment directly about fifth season winner Taylor Hicks’ lack of talent.

“The guy who won — people think he looks so normal, and he’s so sweet, and he’s so earnest, but he can’t carry a tune in a bucket. Do you realize how much pressure it is to put on somebody all of a sudden?” Justin also said, “If he has any skeletons whatsoever; if, God forbid, he’s gay, and all these people in Mississippi who voted for him are like, ‘Oh, my God, I voted for a queer!’ It’s just too much pressure.”

But yesterday, Justin Timberlake’s rep said these thoughts “were taken completely out of context. He has tremendous affection for Taylor Hicks’ success,” Ken Sunshine told the AP. “He would never say anything that personal about somebody he’s never met. He only wishes him the best.”

Timberlake backtracks after criticizing Hicks [AP]