James was, of course, referring to an infamous 1984 incident, during which the late Michael Jackson's hair was set on fire by faulty pyrotechnics on the set of a Pepsi commerical. It was obviously James's attempt, failed or otherwise, at a joke--and it was a little amusing to see Ryan squirm like that. But according to TMZ, the Jackson family didn't find the remark very funny, and now James is under fire, so to speak.
"We were shocked to see this. It's nothing to make light of and everybody should be focusing on who was responsible for Michael's death," a Jackson family rep told TMZ. The source added that Michael's father, Joe Jackson, was particularly peeved that no one at Fox deemed it necessary to edit James's comment out of "Idol's" tape-delayed broadcasts in later time zones.
The young singer took to his Twitter page today to address the controversy, insisting that he never meant to make fun of the late King Of Pop (any more than he likely meant to give Pepsi free advertising). "For anyone talkin..I said pepsi NOT MJ! I have no disrespect for Michael. I grew up singing his art," James tweeted. "I guess youll take it how you want it...Talkin about MJs passing is too soon. Making a reference to an incident 25 years ago..not too soon. The stab was at pepsi people."
Incidentally, James's tweets about his faux pas have since been removed, possibly because the "Idol" powers-that-be didn't want one of their star contestants mentioning the dreaded P-word any more or drawing attention to an incident that may hurt his chances in the competition.
So what do you think? Was James's "Pepsi moment" comment out of line, or just an innocent slip-up?
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