Perhaps the most touching moment of the evening was when Michael’s children, Paris, Prince and Blanket, took the glove-shaped stage before 50,000 devoted fans. “We’re very happy to be here on this special night to honor our father,” said Jackson’s 13-year-old daughter Paris, rocking a “Thriller”-style red leather jacket.
The kids introduced a special video performance by Beyonce, who was not able to attend due to scheduling conflicts. Fourteen-year-old Prince continued, “She carries the torch lit by our father and it gives me great pleasure to introduce this woman.” Queen Bey donned an afro wig as she performed MJ’s hit, “I Wanna Be Where You Are.” (Take a look at Bey’s magical MJ tribute below.)
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Michael’s siblings Marlon, Tito, and Jackie — three-fifths of the original Jackson Five — performed “Blame It on the Boogie” with British boyband JLS. Big sister La Toya Jackson also took the stage and performed for the first time since the mid-90s.
The lineup for the “Michael Forever” show included other stellar acts such as Jamie Foxx, Christina Aguilera, Smokey Robinson, Gladys Knight, Leona Lewis, Cee Lo Green, Yolanda Adams and Ne-Yo, who kicked off the show with a strong rendition of the mega-hit “Billie Jean.”
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The show went by with no hitch until Jennifer Hudson, who was scheduled to close the event, turned out to be a no-show. TMZ reports that Hudson was paid in full and didn’t perform because she claims producers didn’t give her enough time to learn the music. Hudson claims she didn’t attend because of “major production issues,” according to her Twitter page.