Michael Jackson Tribute Concert: 5 Mishaps Leading Up to the U.K. Show
The show must go on -- that is undoubtedly the mantra of participants and driving forces behind the Michael Forever tribute concert to Michael Jackson.
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While Christina Aguilera, Smokey Robinson, Gladys Knight, Leona Lewis, Cee Lo Green and more will take the stage on Oct. 8 in Cardiff, Wales, the show suffered more than a few setbacks along the way. The Global Live Event faced criticism from the get-go due to unfortunate timing and a lack of support from the entire Jackson clan. Though Katherine, La Toya, Tito and Jackie Jackson have thrown their full support behind the tribute (and will be in attendance during the show), siblings Janet, Jermaine and Randy Jackson have actively refused to partake in the festivities.
And that was only the beginning. Below, find a list of the most notable trials and tribulations surrounding the event and what attendees can expect from the show itself.
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1. Poor Timing: While Michael's siblings are all happy to celebrate his legacy, Janet, Jermaine and Randy have vocalized their displeasure with the scheduling. Dr. Conrad Murray is currently on trial facing involuntary manslaughter charges in relation to their brother's death.
When asked whether she would deliver a performance during the Michael Forever show, Janet responded: "Because of the trial, the timing of this tribute to our brother would be too difficult for me." Jermaine and Randy noted, "While we wholeheartedly support the spirit of a tribute that honors our brother, we find it impossible to support an event that is due to take place during the criminal trial surrounding Michael's death."
Unfazed by the timing, Tito's three sons -- dubbed 3T -- will lend their vocal stylings to the program. Mother Katherine has stated that the concert is "exactly the way Michael would have wanted to be remembered." Michael's three children will also be in attendance.
2. The Black Eyed Peas Exit: After excitedly announcing that they would be joining the show's lineup, the Peas pulled out at the last minute citing "unavoidable circumstances." It remains unclear exactly what circumstances cropped up so suddenly.
"We all owe Michael such a lot," will.i.am had earlier stated. "The Black Eyed Peas wouldn't miss being at the Millennium Stadium for this gig."
3. The KISS Factor: Organizers outraged loyal Michael fans by initially inviting rockers KISS to perform at the show after outspoken lead singer Gene Simmons had famously referred to Michael as a pedophile. "We have listened to Michael's fans and are grateful to have been alerted to these unfortunate statements," said Chris Hunt, head of Global Live Events.
KISS was promptly dropped from the list of performers.
4. Poor Ticket Sales: As of Friday evening, Hunt had stated that ticket sales were going "so well," with 40,000 already sold. The catch? Millennium stadium maintains a 50,000 capacity -- that's 10,000 unsold tickets on the eve of the performance.
"I think it's easy to underestimate this," he continued. "I think it will be a hugely emotional evening."
Clearly anticipating a higher demand, organizers had originally stated that fans seeking tickets would be entered into a lottery, after which randomly selected individuals would be given the opportunity to purchase tickets.
5. The Facebook Flop: Aside from steep cost (upwards of $100 per ticket), perhaps sales were lower than expected due to Milyoni's promise to live-stream the entire show via Facebook for less than $5 per viewer. Alas, the social networking site's first ever live pay-per-view event was cancelled in the eleventh hour.
"Due to legal challenges brought by the music labels that own the rights to Michael Jackson's lyrics, we have been notified by concert promoters Global Live Events and Ridgeline Entertainment that the live broadcast of the Michael Forever tribute concert has been cancelled," the statement read.
All fans who pre-purchased access to the live-stream will be refunded using Facebook Credits or Pay-Pal.
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Regardless of setbacks, fans can expect some impressive names on the Oct. 8 lineup. Aside from the aforementioned artists, Jamie Foxx will host, while Jennifer Hudson, Ne-Yo, Alien Ant Farm, Alexandra Burke, JLS, Diversity and Craig David are all expected to perform. Beyonce (and her baby bump) are slated to make a satellite appearance during the program, as well.
Meanwhile, Murray will enter the third week of his criminal trial on Monday, Oct. 10 in Los Angeles.