Stop The Presses!

Michael Jackson’s Grammy Tribute Goes Beyond Remembering His Music, Reinforces His Message

Stop The Presses!

All the music-themed award shows have paid their respects to Michael Jackson with heartfelt tributes. But the Grammys topped them all Sunday night because they not only displayed the King of Pop's music but captured the sentiment of one of the issues closest to his heart--saving the planet.

Then for the shocking finale, Jackson's two eldest children, Prince Michael and Paris, accepted the Grammys' Lifetime Achievement on their father's behalf. (Michael's youngest son, Prince II aka "Blanket," remained backstage.)

Instead of offering a medley of his biggest records, Celine Dion, Usher, Carrie Underwood, Jennifer Hudson, and Smokey Robinson joined for a performance of Jackson's "Earth Song" as a 3D version of the video from This Is It played in the background. Additionally, some of Jackson's lead vocals were also used for the live rendition.

The featured artists were great choices and offered broad, diverse appeal to the sound of the record. It also made "Earth Song" bigger, like the global anthem "We Are The World" that Jackson co-wrote along with Lionel Richie 25 years ago.

Smokey said he was honored to be a part of the tribute. "I hope that people were listening to even more so than seeing," Robinson said to press backstage. "This is it for us. We need to be aware of what we're doing and do something about it before it's too late."

The most moving part of the song was its climax, when each of the performers had a moment to get front-and-center and belt. Hudson shined here, as it was a gospel moment that suited her well. Underwood also captured the passion of the record.

The 3D element was a nice touch, but only offered a few bonuses of dandelions and a fluttering butterfly. But this segment was clearly about the message not the special effects.

After the performance, Lionel Richie, who introduced the performance, announced that Jackson's children and their cousins (Tito Jackson's sons) would be accepting their dad's award.

Seeing Jackson's kids walk out was emotional. It was sad because seeing them reminded me of their daily struggle of coping with their father's death. But seeing them was also a joyous experience because they looked vibrant and beautiful. He would be proud.

They appear to have matured so much since we last saw them at the memorial in July. But even more impactful was their composure and strength.

Big brother Prince Michael had the stage presence of his dad as he boldly approached the microphone with his sister and offered an acceptance speech that signaled that he and his siblings were OK.

"[We] like to thank the fans, our father loved you so much," Prince Michael said. "Our father was always concerned about the planet."

Prince Michael added that his father's music had a universal theme of love. "We will continue to spread his message," he said.

Backstage after the tribute, Prince Michael, Paris, and "Blanket" posed with Lionel Richie for an historical, cross-generational photo opp.

As cool as the other award show tributes were, I honestly think this presentation is closer to what Jackson would have wanted. It was not just about him, but about all of us.

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