Justin Timberlake has been the next big thing for a long time.

Even Michael Jackson, the King of Pop, recognized it, way back in Justin's N'Sync days.

While Timberlake is on a duet with MJ on the upcoming posthumous record from Jackson's camp, another one almost happened more than a decade ago.

Jackson was ready to record a duet with JT, but the song he had in mind had already been recorded and included on N'Sync's final album (and one of my favs) Celebrity.

Justin Timberlake wrote the haunting Gone, and the story is that Jackson was interested in it.

Justin told the story to ABC.

"He {Michael Jackson] said he wanted to cut the record, but he wanted it to be a duet between himself and I," Timberlake recalled. "And I said, 'Well, it's already out, we've already cut the song as an 'N SYNC record.' I'm on the phone and I'm literally punching myself in the face."

"I said, 'I can't do that. Can we do, like, 'N SYNC featuring Michael Jackson, or Michael Jackson featuring 'N SYNC?'" he continued. "And he was very absolute about the fact that he wanted it to be a duet between himself and I."

I wonder what the song would have sounded like with MJ and JT. Hard to say, and it's even hard for me to imagine that the song could be better. I think it's some of N'Sync's best work. Including Michael Jackson is the only way I could ever imagine it being any better, but it was not be, and now we will never know.