U.S. first lady Michelle Obama speaks as musicians Mavis Staples (L) and Justin Timberlake (2nd L) listen during an interactive student workshop at the State Dining Room of the White House April 9, 2013 in Washington, DC.

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama speaks as musicians Mavis Staples (L) and Justin Timberlake (2nd L) listen during an interactive student workshop at the State Dining Room of the White House April 9, 2013 in Washington, DC.

*Michelle Obama got a kick out of folks’ reaction to Justin Timberlake at her home today, where he will join other musicians for tonight’s White House concert celebrating the soul music of Memphis.

FLOTUS found herself having to calm down a bunch of invited middle and high school students from across the country when JT showed up for today’s workshop, “Soulsville, USA: The History of Memphis Soul,” in the State Dining Room. 

 

“Oh, watching you all’s faces — priceless,” she said, according to a White House transcript. “Priceless. See, you never know what’s going to happen at the White House. Okay, let’s breathe. Come on. Everyone, let’s breathe, even the moms.”

The first lady spoke at length on the importance of the music of Memphis and gave Timberlake a shout-out for his work ethic.

Musicians Justin Timberlake (2nd L) speaks as Charlie Musselwhite (R) and Mavis Staples (L) listen during an interactive student workshop at the State Dining Room of the White House April 9, 2013 in Washington, DC

Musicians Justin Timberlake (2nd L) speaks as Charlie Musselwhite (R) and Mavis Staples (L) listen during an interactive student workshop at the State Dining Room of the White House April 9, 2013 in Washington, DC

The “Suit & Tie” singer, who had on neither, sported casual wear as he told attendees about “feeling linked” to the Memphis sound.

Timberlake will perform this evening with Mavis Staples, Ben Harper, Charlie Musselwhite, Sam Moore and Alabama Shakes at tonight’s 10th installment of the “In Performance at the White House” series. Stax icon Booker T. Jones is the musical director.

first lady Michelle Obama speaks as musicians (L-R) Justin Timberlake, Charlie Musselwhite, and Ben Harper listen during an interactive student workshop at the State Dining Room of the White House April 9, 2013 in Washington, DC

First Lady Michelle Obama speaks as musicians (L-R) Justin Timberlake, Charlie Musselwhite, and Ben Harper listen during an interactive student workshop at the State Dining Room of the White House April 9, 2013 in Washington, DC

You can watch tonight’s concert live at 7 p.m. EST on WhiteHouse.gov — and PBS will air the event on April 16.