Michael Jackson Memorial: A Round-Up
The night the world paid tribute to the King of Pop…
Tuesday, July 7, 2009 - 22:50
Friends, family and famous faces have tonight said their goodbyes to Michael Jackson at an emotional memorial service at the Staples Center, Los Angeles.
The service, which Mariah Carey took to the stage for powerful rendition of Stevie Wonder. The singer, a lifelong friend of Michael and fellow child star on Motown, raised the roof with a flawless, heartfelt delivery of his song Never Dreamed You’d Leave in Summer. “I love you, Michael,” said Wonder. “This is a moment I wished I’d never have to see.”
The memorial then saw basketball stars Usher took to the stage to sing Gone Too Soon. The R&B sensation, who has attributed his whole career to Michael’s inspiration, approached the coffin during his performance – a gesture which left him too upset to finish the song.
Clips were then shown of Michael performing as a child, reminding viewers just how impossibly gifted he was even at that age. Smokey Robinson, writer of Jackson 5 hits such as Who’s Loving You and close friend of Michael, then paid an emotional tribute, which concluded: “Michael will live forever right here. The world will never, ever forget Michael Jackson.”
It was then the turn of Britain’s Got Talent finalist Shaheen Jafargholi, who Michael had apparently invited to join him onstage during his 02 dates after seeing him sing one of his songs on YouTube. Some were worried that the size and importance of the occasion would be too much for the 12-year-old from Swansea but those concerns were quashed by a gigantic rendition of Who’s Lovin’ You, which commanded one of the biggest responses of the night - the sight of another gifted child offering some hope as to the continuation of Jackson’s almighty legacy.
The memorial closed with a tribute from Kenny Ortega, director of the 02 Arena concerts that Jackson never gave, and performances of Heal The World and We Are The World, as produced for the This Is It dates.
The final farewells came from the Jackson family, mainly Marlon, who cried as he spoke of Michael’s inability to live a normal life. "Maybe now, Michael, they will leave you alone,” he said.
Speaking publicly for the first time, Michael’s 11-year-old daughter Paris Michael Katherine Jackson ends the evening on its saddest note: "Ever since I was born, Daddy has been the best father you could ever imagine,” she said, bursting into tears; cradled by Janet Jackson, adding: “I just wanted to say I love him so much."
And with that, the world bid farewell to its greatest entertainer.
Tune-in to MTV News bulletins all this week to watch highlights from tonight's memorial.
Michael Jackson: 1958 - 2009.
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