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Akon Says Michael Jackson Won’t Be Singing Live. 31-05-'09

Akon has disappointed scores of fans who have splashed out on tickets for Michael Jackson's comeback concerts by insisting the King of Pop won't be singing live.

The R&B star, who has previously collaborated with the Thriller hitmaker, admits Jackson won't be showing off his vocals during This Is It, his upcoming seven-month London residency, and will instead rely on a pre-recorded track.

He says, "Michael singing I'm not so sure about. He will perform but not sing."

He added: "It's going to be amazing, I can definitely tell you that. I'm going to have front row tickets. I will have the best tickets in the house and will be so close to the stage you will think that I am on it."

Jackson is scheduled to kick off This Is It in July (13).

Source: hollywoodrag / Billie Jean

Michael Jackson 'More Shows To Be Pulled'? 29-05-'09

Michael Jackson could postpone even more shows on his comeback residency, reports a UK newspaper.

Jackon has already rearranged the first four gigs of his lengthy 50-date stretch at the O2 Arena in London, and it's feared more concerts could go the same way.

The Sun claims Michael could need radiotherapy treatment as he has allegedly been diagnosed with skin cancer.

An insider tells the publication: "Michael has a devil of a decision. The temptation is to go for treatment which will allow him to perform."

"The last thing he wants to do is let his fans down. But it may be that radiation is still needed."

"That can have nasty side effects and leave him unable to sing."

However, a spokesman for Jackson previously denied the King of Pop is in bad health and put the cancellations down to organisers needing more time for preparations.

Source: AngryApe / Billie Jean

Michael Jackson Spent Fortune On Statues. 27-05-'09

Michael Jackson splashed out almost £4 million on statues of children.

The 'Thriller' singer - who was cleared of child abuse allegations in 2005 - purchased the life-size bronze monuments of kids holding hands, dancing and playing on slides to display in his Neverland home.

Jackson is said to have made the purchases - which were revealed in court documents filed by his ex-publicist Raymone Bain - while his huge debts piled up, using money from the £16 million he received for "Personal expenses" after selling his half of the ATV Music Publishing company to Sony in 2006.

In the court documents, Bain, who is suing Jackson for £33 million, claimed: "The magnitude of his spending is legendary as he has earned and dissipated several fortunes.

"Mr. Jackson's pattern has been to spend to the brink of insolvency and then borrow against his assets to further feed his spending would give any other individual a moment of pause.

Source: femalefirst.co.uk / Billie Jean

Jackson Fans 'Unlikely' To Get Their Ticket Money Back. 26-05-'09

Michael Jackson fans who bought concert tickets on unofficial resale sites are "unlikely" to get their money back following the postponement of the opening shows of the pop star's tour.

People will be offered tickets for alternative dates or a full refund, including booking fees, if they bought tickets through official agents Ticketmaster.co.uk or Viagogo.co.uk. However, those who bought them from popular resale sites such as eBay.com, or any of the array of sites that have popped up offering secondhand tickets at inflated prices, may be left disappointed.

Jonathan Brown, secretary of the Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers, said: "Major ticket sellers and resale marketplaces that take customer protection seriously guarantee refunds. However, people who have bought tickets from individual or unauthorised resellers might be left out in the cold, with little chance of getting their money back or being offered a ticket for the new dates."

Brown added: "One guarantee of protection is to look for the 'star' mark when buying tickets. Our members always offer a full refund, including booking fees, if an event is cancelled or postponed."

A spokeswoman for eBay.com said: "We have moved quickly to ensure that tickets for the affected dates are removed from eBay and we will also continue to prevent sellers from listing tickets for these particular dates."

Source: ebaytrafficexposed / Billie Jean

Thriller 25 Eco Style CD Album. 24-05-'09

Sony Music Poland has released an (Eco Style) version of Thriller the 25th Anniversary Edition CD.

Track listing:

1. Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'
2. Baby Be Mine
3. The Girl Is Mine
4. Thriller
5. Beat It
6. Billie Jean
7. Human Nature
8. P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)
9. The Lady In My Life
10. Vincent Price Intro
11. The Girl Is Mine 2008 with will.i.am
12. P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing) with will.i.am
13. Wanna Be Startin' Somethin' 2008 with Akon
14. Beat It 2008 featuring Fergie
15. Billie Jean featuring Kanye West
16. For All Time (Previously Unreleased)

Source: SonyBMG Poland / Billie Jean

Michael’s Sea Dragon In Kentucky. 24-05-'09

Beech Bend Amusement Park has opened for the Summer season and features Michael’s Sea Dragon ride from his Neverland Ranch. After Neverland closed, some rides were put up for auction and Beech Bend bid for and won the Sea Dragon at this auction.

The Sea Dragon is in the form of a pirate ship which swings to and fro to a height of 65 feet. It also has a sound system which will play Michael’s music.

Source: wkbo.com / Billie Jean

Michael Jackson Doctor Visit In Beverly Hills. 22-05-'09

Michael Jackson was spotted out in Los Angeles at the doctor's office in Beverly Hills all smiles and waving to fans before jumping into his waiting limo. This is the "King of Pop's" third trip to the doctors this week during which he announced that his 50-date tour has been delayed by five day.

On Wednesday the 50-year-old megastar postponed several of the first dates of his This Is It tour because he reportedly needs more time to rehearse before embarking on a 50-concert run, originally scheduled to begin on July 8. Jackson's first concert has been penciled in five nights later, while three shows that were due to take place in early July have been rescheduled until March 2010.

The tour's promoters, AEG Live, released the following statement explaining the decision: "We wanted to ensure that all of Michael's fans attending the concerts get the same quality in staging and level of entertainment.

It is AEG Live's sincere hope that those lucky enough to have purchased tickets will have enough time to change their personal schedules and travel plans if they are coming from outside of London ... We understand the inconvenience this may have caused and for this reason we have secured some excellent hotel deals for Michael Jackson fans traveling to London on these rescheduled dates."

Source: Billie Jean

Press Conference On Rescheduled Concerts. 21-05-'09

Citing challenges presented by a “massive and technically complex show,” “This Is It” director Kenny Ortega and Randy Phillips, chief executive of AEG Live, announced in a video press conference today that the first 4 of Michael Jackson’s will be rescheduled. The opening show will take place July 13, pushed back from its original start date of July 8. Three makeup performances will take place in March 2010.

“There’s nothing nefarious,” Phillips said. “There’s nothing going on with his health. This is strictly a production issue.”

Kenny Ortega promised Jackson fans that the concerts will be worth the wait, featuring special effects, elaborate costumes bejeweled with Swarovski crystals, “stunts” and plenty of the Gloved One’s iconic choreography, as well as fresh dance moves.

“I want to apologize for any inconvenience for fans and ticket holders,” Ortega said. “We are going to give you a show that makes up for this.”

Source: LA Times / Billie Jean

First Four London O2 Shows Have Been Rescheduled. 20-05-'09

Ticketmaster issued a press release confirming that "due to the sheer magnitude of the 'This Is It' concerts at the O2 Arena promoters and producers AEG Live and Kenny Ortega, Michael’s directorial partner and creative collaborator have elected to move back a few of the opening shows in order to meet the challenges presented by such a massive and technically complex show. Organisers are determined that all Michael’s legions of fans attending the opening nights get the same quality of staging and level of entertainment..."

The dates affected include: July 8th, 2009 (moved to July 13th, 2009), July 10th, 2009 (moved to March 1st, 2010), July 12th, 2009 (moved to March 3rd, 2010), and July 14th, 2009 (moved to March 6th, 2010). No other dates are affected by the rescheduling.

Continuing on, the statement reads: "Kenny and Michael are, at the same time, both creative pioneers and perfectionists. This show has grown in size and scope, thereby, necessitating more lead time for manufacture of the set, programming the content for the massive video elements, and, most importantly, more time for full production and dress rehearsals in the world’s busiest arena, the O2. As much as we agonized over this change in the original schedule, we are sure the fans will understand when they experience the level of entertainment Michael Jackson intends to deliver while also ensuring the safety of the musicians, cast and crew and the crisp execution of the production. It is AEG Live’s sincere hope that those lucky enough to have purchased tickets will have enough time to change their personal schedules and travel plans if they are coming from outside of London. We do not want anyone to miss this once-in-a-lifetime experience...

Michael, who is directly involved with all aspects of the styling/choreography/band selection and rehearsals, is working around the clock to ensure this is the show to end all shows! Kenny Ortega, Michael’s directorial partner and creative collaborator said, 'After directing the Dangerous and HIStory tours, I know what the fans expect and myself and the team want to deliver a flawless production. We apologise to all disappointed Michael Jackson fans and remain extremely dedicated and focused on creating an exceptional live music experience.'"

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Source: Ticketmaster / Billie Jean

New Benchmark For Live Entertainment. 19-05-'09

500 Dancers Fly to Los Angeles for Extraordinary Auditions.

Amazing Innovations in Staging and Set - New Benchmark for Live Entertainment

Rehearsals for the Michael Jackson shows are well underway and already the King of Pop is hard at work preparing his concerts with show director Kenny Ortega and contributing choreographer and dancer from the Dangerous and HIStory tours, Travis Payne.

Shrouded in secrecy and the subject of much speculation as to their content, the shows have created a level of excitement never witnessed before. Fittingly, for such an out of this world show, rehearsals are taking place south of Silicone Valley, west of the NASA Space Center!

One of the highlights of rehearsals has been the dance auditions. With over 5,000 applications received, the number was narrowed down to 500 potential candidates, flying into California from all over America, and as far away as Australia, Canada, Japan, Europe, UK, and South America. They are some of the greatest dancers the world has to offer, and they were there for one reason - Michael! His influence inspired many of them to become dancers in the first place.

The competition was intense during the 3 days of auditioning at the Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE in Los Angeles. Michael Jackson was present along with Kenny and Travis to make the final selections. The challenge to secure a place in the show became a reality for fewer and fewer as the level of competition increased. Dancers were tested on their strength, skill, style, creativity, fitness, commitment and execution

Ortega says, “The level of dancers that we saw at the auditions was incredible. Michael was extremely hands on throughout the process in working with the dancers and selecting the final candidates. It was an exciting, intense and highly creative process and not an easy decision in the end.”

For your front row seat at the auditions log onto www.MichaelJacksonLive.com for behind-the-scene footage.

The final line-up of just 12 dancers includes an exceptional mix of international performers. Selected to perform alongside Michael Jackson at London’s O2 arena are US dancers Charles Kapow, Ricardo Reid, Tyne Stecklein, Misha Hamilton, Mekia Cox, Nicholas Bass, Danielle Rueda-Watts and Christopher Grant. As well as, Timor Steffens from Germany, Australian dancer Shannon Holtzapffel, Daniel Celbre and Devin Jamieson from Canada.

Randy Phillips, President & CEO of AEG Live, commented, “Watching Mike and Kenny create this spectacle using the greatest repertoire in contemporary music is one of the most exciting experiences in my career in live entertainment. The fans who are flocking to see Michael Jackson’s return to the stage will not be disappointed. From the special effects to the quality of the dancers and musicians, we are setting a new standard for major arena shows”.

Be clear that this is not just a concert, “This Is It” will be a fully integrated musical experience combining theatre, film, music and the latest advances in technology. Movies, music and movement all rolled into one! . Michael is present at rehearsals overseeing every detail day in day out and constantly pushing the bar slightly higher.

Ortega adds, “It is an intense and exciting creative period. Onstage with the greatest entertainer of our time, we have a strong, talented, dynamic group of dancers and musicians. These are artists whose talent, dedication, skill and passion for performing with their idol is felt every hour of every day spent rehearsing. What is going to take place on that stage at The O2 arena in July will truly be inspiring.”

By the end of the 50 concerts, 750,000 fans will have witnessed one of the greatest musical events in history. This will be the last chance to see the King of Pop in London - a historic stage show, and once in a lifetime concert experience - this really is it!

Note To Editors - One of the world’s most popular entertainers, Michael Jackson has sold over 750 million units worldwide and is one of the very few artists to be inducted twice into the US Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The Guinness Book of World Records has recognised Michael Jackson as the Most Successful Entertainer of All Time and Thriller as The Biggest Selling Album of All Time. Jackson won 13 Grammy Awards and received the American Music Award’s Artist of the Century Award.

Michael Jackson’s “This Is It” 50 concerts sold out in a matter of hours on March 13th smashing box office records.

Production Notes:

Kenny Ortega, Producer / Director
Travis Payne, Associate Director /Choreographer
Michael Cotten, Production Designer
Patrick Woodroffe, Lighting Designer
Michael Bearden , Musical Director
Bugzee Hougdahl, Production
Robb Wagner, Screen Producer
Kenny Ortega, the renowned Director, Producer, Choreographer and creative talent is hard at work collaborating with Michael Jackson in the overall design and direction for the upcoming ‘This Is It’ concert shows.

Ortega previously worked on Michael Jackson’s Dangerous and HIStory tours, some of the most spectacular shows ever staged. Ortega, having once been in partnership with Gene Kelly, is most recently known for his work as the Director and Choreographer of Disney’s, High School Musical 1, 2 & 3. Ortega also Produced and Directed the Barbra Streisand’s Millennium concert tour and is a two time Emmy award winner for his work as Director and Choreographer of the 2002 Winter Olympics opening and closing ceremonies in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Source: Billie Jean

Michael "Is As Healthy As Can Be". 19-05-'09

In response to a recent rumour spread by a British tabloid claiming that Michael Jackson has been diagnosed with skin cancer, Randy Phillips, president and CEO of AEG Live, said that the rumour is not true:

"He's as healthy as he can be -- no health problems whatsoever."

Phillips said he asked Michael Jackson point-blank about the skin cancer rumour, and the entertainer just brushed it off and laughed.

"He's used to rumours like this. He's been famous ever since he was 5. He doesn't read the newspapers or watch news reports."

He also had an answer for an item in the British tabloid that said Jackson had been "making regular trips to a dermatologist in Beverly Hills."

"Michael is very close friends with his dermatologist. It's as simple as that."

Michael Jackson had already passed a stringent physical exam before he and AEG signed the contract for the London shows.

"And he'll have to take another before the shows start," he offered.

Phillips also said that a tour with sister Janet Jackson and other performing members of the Jackson family was "never in the works, at least from Michael Jackson's side."

"Never say never, but right now, he's focusing on his own show. It's not about his family.

He's working out every day with his choreographers and his dancers. He's in better shape at 50 than I was at 30," Phillips laughed.

Phillips also took the opportunity to knock down a couple of other rumours.

"For now, he has no plans for his kids to be in the show. And there are no elephants. No elephants in the show, and he's not dying of cancer."

Phillips also confirmed again that the London shows were the first step in a multi-phase package with Michael Jackson that he called "more than a 360-degree deal." There are also plans for recorded music and movies, including a 3-D live concert film and a 3-D movie based on Jackson's 1983 "Thriller" music video. He didn't rule out a tour or a concert residency in another city, stating it would most likely start in Europe, then roll out to Asia, North America and South America.

Source: CNN / Billie Jean

Michael Jackson Shopping At Tom's Toys. 17-05-'09

Michael Jackson takes his children over for a treat at Tom's Toys after visiting a medical building earlier Friday morning.

Michael was unmasked … perhaps in an attempt to prove to the world that he is not suffering from skin cancer as one British report alleges.

Source: x17online / Billie Jean

Michael Jackson Denies Skin Cancer Rumours. 17-05-'09

Michael Jackson's official spokesperson, Dr. Tohme Tohme, has issued a statement to deny the latest batch of health rumours, telling the media: "[The skin cancer rumours are] not true...Michael Jackson is in the best of health...He is great... in perfect health...he doesn't have any diseases whatsoever."

It seems that every few weeks a new tabloid-driven report surfaces alleging that Michael Jackson has contracted a new and potentially fatal disease. Over the past six months, the majority of such reports have originated from gossipmonger Ian Halperin, who plans to release at least two salacious books and one film on Michael Jackson over the next two months to best capitalize off of Michael Jackson's sold-out O2 shows. Ian, you may recall, is the person who started the widespread rumours that Michael Jackson was suffering from a whole slew of rare and deadly diseases including Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, chronic gastrointestinal bleeding, severe emphysema, blindness in one eye, muteness, lung and liver diseases, severe back and leg pain, bedridden and on his final days. It was also alleged that Michael Jackson is suffering from a severe MRSA-style staph infection (flesh eating virus) and extreme frailty, amongst other fabricated conditions. Most recently, tabloid reports surfaced proclaiming that Michael Jackson was battling skin cancer; the reports quoted anonymous sources and the unnamed spokesperson of a fictitious publicist as confirmation.

Source: NYDN / Billie Jean

Magician Alonzo Says He Is Involved In Concerts. 16-05-'09

It seems Michael is still adding more bells and whistles to what promises to be an extraordinary spectacle not to miss - the 'This Is It' concerts in London (UK).

On Friday, E! Online talked to magician Ed Alonzo, who most recently worked on Britney Spears' Circus tour. He said he will be involved in the Michael Jackson concerts and will create some magical moments for the shows.

"I met with Michael Jackson a couple of days ago and am now officially creating magic and illusions for his concert.
I will not be performing in the show as I do with Britney. I'm just creating the magic that Michael has requested in his vision."

Instead, Michael will take the magic into his own hands. Alonzo said the entertainer "has a great knowledge of magic and has performed illusions in his shows before."

"Michael has two routines in mind so far using magic elements that I am creating. I have to show him a demo of the effects next week. Then the props are to be built and he will start rehearsals. I will teach him the effects and help in staging them."

Ed Alonzo is one of America's most famous comedy magicians who is known for his retro-style costuming. He has done Command Performances in London, multiyear headline contracts in Las Vegas, and international tv appearances. He has also won the title 'Stage Magician Of The Year' for two consecutive years, and 'Comedy Magician Of The Year' for another two consecutive years from the internationally recognized Academy of Magical Arts. Ed is currently on tour with Britney Spears performing a magic production number with her playing the magicians assistant.

Source: MJFC / Billie Jean

Jacksons Deny Involvement In Family Concert. 16-05-'09

Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon, and Randy Jackson have put out a press release where they comment on recent rumours that the Jackson family is planning a family reunion concert:

Beverly Hills, CA, May 15, 2009 — In an official statement issued today The Jacksons (Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon and Randy Jackson) have denied they were in any way involved with a proposed Jackson 5 reunion concert in Texas on the third of July claimed this week by New Jersey concert promoters AllGood Entertainment.

According to The Jacksons' manager, Danny O'Donovan, the original members of the Jackson 5, and younger brother, Randy, who later joined Michael and his older brothers performing as The Jacksons, were never approached about participating in the purported Texas concert event with Michael and sister, Janet.

The Jacksons have said they will support Michael in fighting any legal action brought by AllGood Entertainment with regard to the promoter's claim about a concert in Texas Stadium on July 3.

O'Donovan said "There is absolutely no merit in this claim, and we had no knowledge of any contract, with anyone, for a so-called family tour reunion. In fact, The Jacksons were never even approached about it and no offer was ever made to them."

All of the Jackson brothers are thrilled that Michael is returning to the live stage this summer and are totally in support of his historic 50 concert run at London's O2 Arena. They eagerly look forward to seeing and enjoying his "This Is It!" concert event.

Source: Dany O'Donovan Entertainment Group / Billie Jean

George Sampson Auditioning For Michael Jackson. 15-05-'09

Former Britain’s Got Talent winner George Sampson has been asked to fly to LA and audition for a part in Michael Jackson’s London comeback shows.

According to The Sun, Jackson’s choreographer Kenny Ortega instigated the meeting which is rumoured to be taking place within the week.

“George couldn’t believe it when he got the call-up,” a source told the newspaper.

“His mum has had to scrape him from the ceiling every morning since he was told he would be auditioning for Jackson.

“He has been rehearsing morning, noon and night to get his routines sharpened up for his big chance.

“He’s nervous but he’s used to performing under pressure.”

Source: unrealitytv / Billie Jean

New MJ Album: The Hits. 16-05-'09

On July 8, 2009, in conjunction with the start of Michael's concert's in London, Song BMG will release a compilation titled "The Hits." The album will be a 2 CD set containing classics from the Jackson 5, The Jacksons and Michael's solo career.

Track list:

CD 1:
1. I Want You Back
2. ABC
3. The Love You Save
4. Got To Be There
5. Rockin' Robin
6. Ben
7. Blame It On The Boogie
8. Shake Your Body (Down To The Ground)
9. Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough
10. Off The Wall
11. Rock With You
12. She's Out Of My Life
13. Can You Feel It
14. The Girl Is Mine
15. Billie Jean
16. Beat It
17. Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'
18. Human Nature
19. P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)
20. I Just Can't Stop Loving You
21. Thriller

CD 2:
1. Bad
2. The Way You Make Me Feel
3. Man In The Mirror
4. Dirty Diana
5. Another Part Of Me
6. Smooth Criminal (Radio Edit)
7. Leave Me Alone
8. Black Or White
9. Remember The Time
10. In The Closet
11. Who Is It
12. Heal The World
13. Will You Be There
14. You Are Not Alone
15. Earth Song
16. They Don't Care About Us
17. Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'

Note: According to Sony Music, Off The Wall 30 (celebrating the 30th anniversary of Off The Wall) shall be released in 2010.

Source: Sony BMG / Billie Jean

Video Messages To Michael. 15-05-'09

Filmmaker Larry Nimmer is looking for fans who want to submit video messages for his upcoming documentary.

Mr. Nimmer is planning to release a new, positive documentary on Michael Jackson soon. He developed the idea for "Michael Jackson: The Untold Story of Neverland" after having been hired by Michael Jackson's defence team during the child molestation trial in 2005. In his documentary Mr. Nimmer investigates the family of the accuser and reveals that they have "anything but a squeaky clean past." Two other culprits that he points out are the media and the Santa Barbara District Attorney's office.

"I’m announcing to fans of Michael Jackson that I’m asking for “Video Messages to Michael” of 30 seconds or under to include in the “Extras” section of my new DVD documentary “Michael Jackson: The Untold Story of Neverland”. I’ll plan on giving a special copy of the DVD, with the messages, to Michael when it’s complete.

I’ll accept any message to Michael that doesn’t exceed 30 seconds (as long as it’s not something unfriendly). Video messages can be posted to any YouTube site (or other easily downloadable site). Once the video message has been posted, please send a link to me at my email address, larry@nimmer.net This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it and I’ll download it to include on the DVD. You can also email me video files that are .mov or .wmv. I’ll plan on using the first 100 messages that I receive, up to the deadline of May 28, 2009.

FYI, I hope to have the DVD available for sale starting June, 2009. My current plans are to have it available to purchase on Amazon and I’ll be donating 10% of the profits to a Michael Jackson charity. Everybody who sends me a video message will be notified when the DVD is for sale.

My documentary, “Michael Jackson: The Untold Story of Neverland”, is a positive view of Michael Jackson. As I worked for the MJ defence team during his 2005 trial, I have an insider’s view of the unfounded charges against Michael. You can find a review of my new documentary at http://mjjrealrealm.spaces.live.com/blog/cns!A679A9B694DD1478!3000.entry . The documentary portrays the molestation charges and shows how the jury, and others, found them to be false. The documentary is also an inside look at Neverland which was created as a place for young people to escape their everyday problems and simply enjoy themselves. The documentary also takes a look at Michael’s career and the man behind the headlines.

I look forward to getting your messages.

Best wishes,
Larry Nimmer"

Source: nimmer / Billie Jean

Michael Jackson Planning Moonwalk-Eclipsing Move. 14-05-'09

Michael Jackson's moonwalk is arguably the most iconic dance move to ever hit a concert stage, but it looks like the King of Pop is hoping to one-up his signature slide — with the help of "High School Musical" director Kenny Ortega.

In preparation for his upcoming 50-show stint at London's O2 Arena, Jackson has been holed up at a warehouse near the Burbank, California, airport rehearsing with Ortega and a team of renowned choreographers, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The highly anticipated tour has been threatened by a lawsuit, but that hasn't stopped the pop star from planning an over-the-top, true-to-MJ-form production.

"It's going to be the biggest, most technologically advanced arena show — and the most expensive — ever mounted," Randy Phillips, chief executive of concert promotion company AEG Live, told the newspaper.

As for the top-secret sequel to the moonwalk, Phillips said he was "sworn to secrecy" but that Jackson is working closely with Ortega to deliver a memorable move everyone will be talking about.

Ortega has worked with MJ in the past, collaborating with him on his Dangerous and HIStory tours. Ortega was quick to sign on to direct the shows, even working around his commitments to the "Footloose" remake.

"My answer without a beat was nothing could keep me away," Ortega said in a statement, hailing MJ as "the greatest entertainer of our generation."

The 50-show run kicks off at the O2 Arena on July 8.

Source: MTV / Billie Jean

Creative Team For Tour. 13-05-'09

More information has emerged on the creative team involved in Michael Jackson's 'This Is It' tour in London. A list of some of the people involved is featured below:

Creator & Director: Michael Jackson
Co-Creator & Director: Kenny Ortega
Associate Director & Choreographer: Travis Payne
Associate Producer: Alif Sankey
Assistant Choreographers: Stacy Walker, Tony Testa
Production Designer: Michael Cotten
Dancers: Chucky Klapow, Shannon Holtzapffel
Coach for Michael Jackson: David Elsewhere Bernal
Casting Director: Gregg Smith
Lighting Designer: Patrick Woodroffe

Source: MSA Agency / Outside Organization / Billie Jean

AEG Live CEO Randy Phillips Speaks To Billboard. 13-05-'09

AEG Live CEO Randy Phillips set the record straight today in an interview with Billboard magazine regarding Michael Jackson’s upcoming concerts in London. Speaking about the shows and the rehearsals in process, Phillips said:

"Originally we tried to keep the show down to 90 minutes, but Michael has so many must-do songs in his repertoire that the shows now will be two-plus hours."

While Phillips would not disclose the specific details of the production, he did indicate that shows would be a multi-media experience with “the most cutting edge ever employed on a tour. We're using technology that's never been used before in live entertainment."

Moreover, Phillips says AEG Live is well-insured for the event. "We have one policy in place and we're negotiating for an even larger binder," says Phillips. "We have insured the production costs. In order to get the first part of the insurance in place [Jackson] had to have a physical, and he passed it with flying colours."

Phillips also called the rehearsal process, "Exciting. We're using two sound stages, and Michael's working in one with production designers and choreographer/director Kenny Ortega and associate director Travis Payne. And in the other one the dancers and the band - killer musicians - are rehearsing the set and the choreography for each song."

Michael is now working out specific songs, and a top-to-bottom dress will rehearsal ready in a month. "Michael's in incredible physical shape, he's got tremendous stamina, he's been working out aerobically preparing for this, and he is totally engaged," Phillips says. "He sounds like Michael Jackson. He is laser-focused on making this the greatest entertainment event that fans have ever seen."

Although a range of legal matters by former Michael Jackson associates have recently attempted to disrupt the shows, Phillips indicated that all are "completely meritless and have not impacted rehearsals in any way. We have a bona fide contract, the deal's in place, he's performing, we're performing."

Many great seats are still available at reasonable prices through our ticket partner Viagogo. Ticket prices start as low as £117 for many shows.

Source: Billboard / Billie Jean

More Concert Details...Updated. 12-05-'09

Details of rehearsals for the upcoming 'This Is It' concerts in London are closely held secrets, but the LA Times reports that four mornings a week, an SUV with darkened windows bears Michael Jackson through the gates outside a nondescript building in California. There he spends the next six hours on a soundstage in the company of 10 dancers and pop music's best-known choreographers.

Randy Phillips of concert promoter AEG Live says that the show will break new ground in both artistry and sheer cost. The production budget is "north of $20 million" and will include as many as 22 different sets:

"It's going to be the biggest, most technologically advanced arena show -- and the most expensive -- ever mounted."

Besides denying media reports that the show would feature animals - "No animals. No animals!" - Philips is tight-lipped about what the fans in the O2 arena will see. But he revealed that some choreography will feature aerial dancing similar to routines by Cirque du Soleil.

Choreographer and director Kenny Ortega (59) will direct and design the shows. Kenny Ortega has worked a lot with Michael Jackson in the past. He was also the choreographer of the movie 'Dirty Dancing', directed the successful 'High School Musical' movies, staged Madonna's concert tours and also created the Sirens outdoor pyrotechnics show at Treasure Island in Las Vegas. Ortega agreed to work around his schedule as director of the planned remake of the 1984 movie "Footloose" to take on Michael Jackson's shows. In a statement, Ortega said he was eager to collaborate with him again:

"My answer without a beat was 'nothing could keep me away' - collaborating with Michael on the Dangerous and HIStory tours were two of the greatest creative experiences of my life, to be invited to partner with him again is a dream come true.

Working with Michael is always a true and full partnership, he is a creative mastermind.

He is the most significant artist and entertainer of our generation."

Travis Payne will work as the show's choreographer and associate director. He has already worked with Michael Jackson on various award shows, music videos ('Scream') and tours (Dangerous World Tour, HIStory World Tour). Furthermore, he was a choreographer for Beyonce and Madonna, series such as Dancing With the Stars (Michael Jackson tribute), So You Think You Can Dance, and Everybody Loves Raymond, worked as a choreographer on films, music videos, and commercials, and was a host of Popstars. He has won an American Choreography Award and several MTV Video Music Awards.

Also involved are younger choreographers: Todd Sams, who has worked with Usher, and Rich & Tone Talauega, who have for example worked for Chris Brown, Jennifer Lopez, Ricky Martin, Pink, Madonna, and Mariah Carey, were present for auditions last month. As teenagers, the Talauega brothers were actually dicovered by Michael Jackson`s choreographer while freestyling at a club in Oakland (USA) and later went on tour with Michael Jackson.

The two-day casting call for teh London concerts drew 700 dancers from all over the world to Los Angeles' (USA) Nokia Theatre.

"They were from the elite agencies across the world -- London, France, New York," said Australian dancer Nandy McClean, who was not chosen. "There were hip-hop dancers and jazz dancers. You could tell a lot of them were crazy Michael Jackson fans who grew up watching him."

Michael himself attended the second day of tryouts. One agency head compared the experience to basketball players auditioning for Michael Jordan.

"Dancing for an artist who is so amazing and who everyone looks up to was the best feeling of my life," said Atlanta dancer Victor Carter, who did not make the cut. "He perfected the profession."

According to Ortega and Phillips, Michael himself is taking a hands-on role in coming up with routines. He is developing a move that he hopes will be as distinctive as the moonwalk.

"He's working on it," Phillips said, refusing to say more: "I'm sworn to secrecy."

In preparation for the shows, Michael Jackson is doing aerobics with a personal trainer and has had no difficulty keeping up with dancers half his age during rehearsals in Burbank, Phillips said. Those practice sessions occur in secrecy, thanks to security patrols and confidentiality agreements.

While rehearsals for the shows are very exciting, there is also time to relax according to Kenny Ortega:

"Michael, the team and I will hash out a creative idea, we're ready to implement it and Michael will say let's sleep on it.

The next day he is back in studio raising the bar to the next level and pushing us further for greater dynamic results."

Source: MJFC / LA Times / Press Association / Sky News / Billie Jean

AllGood Entertainment Try To Halt London Concerts. 12-05-'09

AllGood Entertainment has sent a cease and desist letter to the organizers of the London concerts. It is claimed that Frank Dileo, acting as a manager for Michael Jackson, signed a deal in 2008, promising the entertainer would perform with his brothers and Janet Jackson. The deal included Michael Jackson not setting up any other concert deals for a year-and-a-half.

Now, AllGood Entertainment are claiming Michael Jackson signed the London deal before the other contract was up, violating the original contract. However, the contract was not signed by Michael Jackson himself.

Randy Phillips, President & CEO of AEG Live, the company putting on the London shows released a statement calling the claims “meritless.”

“We are aware of the allegations which we believe are completely meritless.

Rehearsals have been uninterrupted and continue on schedule.”

Source: Radar Online / Billie Jean

Paramedic Drops Suit Against Michael Jackson. 10-05-'09

The paramedic who recently claimed that his ambulance was struck by Michael Jackson's SUV has advised Radar Online that, per his lawyer's advice, he is dropping the pending case. Jamin Mauro originally told the media that Michael Jackson's speeding vehicle sideswiped his parked ambulance, dislocating the driver's side mirror and scraping the side of the vehicle.

Although the initial police report indicated that "there were no injuries reported," and that it was being treated as a "minor accident," Mauro subsequently told Radar Online, TMZ, and other outlets that he and his partner suffered head, neck, shoulder, and elbow injuries after their heads smashed into the windows upon impact.

Mauro's allegations and his so-called photographic evidence seemed to directly contradict raw video footage from the paparazzi filming in the area at the time. In the statement to Radar Online, Mauro simply stated: "We have decided to drop our case after further talks with our lawyer. Mr. Jackson is a very nice man and it's the right thing to do -- that's all I'm prepared to say at this time."

Source: Radar Online / Billie Jean

Michael Jackson Drops Copperfield From His Show. 09-05-'09

Michael Jackson has dropped David Copperfield from his residency because the illusionist was too expensive.

The 'Thriller' singer has now reportedly hired magician Criss Angel to join him at London's O2 arena after falling out with David, who had demanded a staggering $1 million per show.

A source told Britain's The Sun newspaper: "Michael wants to use lots of illusions to ensure his shows are as explosive and entertaining as possible.
"He was so excited about working with David but fell out with him over the money he wanted.

"But Criss is a superb entertainer and Michael's delighted to have him on board - not least because he costs less."

Although Michael is determined to put on the best show possible when he makes his live return in July to perform his 50-date 'This Is It' residency, doctors are said to have warned him he is "too frail" and underweight.

A source said: "There are concerns Michael is too frail. He has been ordered to eat more but he refuses to and eats like a bird."

However, concert promoter AEG Live insist the 50-year-old star is "extremely fit" and looking forward to taking to the stage.

Michael has spent the past two months in Los Angeles rehearsing for his series of shows, which are rumoured to include live animals, a duet with his 12-year-old son Prince and performances from stars including Britney Spears and Leona Lewis.

Source: Billie Jean

Jackson Warned He’s Too Thin To Perform. 08-05-'09

Michael Jackson has reportedly been told he is too frail to embark on his mega comeback shows.

The Sun report that doctors said Jackson is 20lb underweight and needs to bulk up before his 50-date run of performances, which will include his famous dance routines.

The 50-year-old King Of Pop is also battling an old back injury, takes antibiotics for a skin infection and wears a mask when he goes out to keep bugs at bay. Not exactly the picture of health, poor thing.

The Sun quote a source as saying: “There are concerns Michael is too frail. He has been ordered to eat more but he refuses to and eats like a bird.”

The shows will mark Jackson's first performance since a dodgy stint at the 2006 World Music Awards, where he only managed to sing a few lines of ‘We Are The World’.

Reports say he is insisting on having live animals with him on stage and is planning to perform with his 12-year-old son Prince.

Source: thedialyfix / Billie Jean

J5 Costumes On Auction. 08-05-'09

Bonhams auction house is offering two lots of Jackson 5 costumes from the early 1970s in a sale of entertainment memorabilia.

Lot 6362 is a group of colourful stage-worn Jackson 5 costumes with a guide price of $ 1,000-1,200. The description reads as follows:

A Jackson 5 group of stage-worn costumes, early 1970s
Four total; 1) a kelly green polyester pantsuit adorned with rhinestones and appliques on either leg with inside labels reading "International Costume Co. / Hollywood, Calif. / Randy;" 2) a groovy multicolored, striped polyester pantsuit with same ICC label though singer's name is worn off; 3) a yellow and orange wool pantsuit with inside labels reading "Designed by Boyd Clopton;" and 4) a red and other colours striped polyester shirt with same "Designed by Boyd Clopton" label together with a pair of red polyester pants with an ICC label - this last costume probably being Michael's due to its small size. Included is a reprinted colour image showing the band wearing similar outfits.
Lot 6363 is a Michael Jackson vest with a guide price of $300-500. The description reads as follows:

Made of powder-blue polyester adorned with rhinestones; inside label reads "International Costume Co. / Hollywood, Calif. / Michael;" worn by the singer onstage when he was still part of The Jackson 5. Included is a reprinted colour image of Jackson wearing this or a similar vest.

The sale will be on view on 7601 W. Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles (USA) on June 12-13, 2009 from 10 am-5 pm.

The auction will start on June 14, 2009 10 am.

Source: bonhams / Billie Jean

Glove Sold For $99,100. 08-05-'09

A glove which - according to the seller - was once owned by Michael Jackson has fetched a whopping $99,100 on eBay.

According to the seller the glove has been created by Jackson designer Bill Wheaton and was for example worn by Michael Jackson during his 1984-85 Victory tour and when he won eight Grammy’s for his Thriller Album.

The description also states that the glove was a gift to US tv personality Dick Clark. Included is a note from Mr Clark:

''I love that Michael Jackson glove. 'I called him and I said, 'Michael, I got to have some stuff, give me the beaded glove, would you?' He said, 'Yeah, yeah.' Two days later, in walks this figure of a man who says, 'Is Dick Clark here? Give him this. He asked for it.' It was Michael himself, delivering the white glove.

The auction attracted over 5,400 visitors wanting to take a closer look at the unique piece of music history. The opening bid started at $1,500 on April 19th, 2009, seven days later it had received 295 bids from the 7 bidders who participated.

“In spite of Jackson’s past troubles, it appears he still has a large fan base.

I’ve noticed tickets for his London show have been collecting as much as $2,450."

Source: Webwire.com / Billie Jean

The MJ Economic Stimulus Package. 08-05-'09

Michael Jackson's concerts at London's 02 Arena are set to give the UK economy a huge boost.

Second-hand ticket website Seatwave claimed "The Jackson Effect" it will provide a much-needed increase in "economic activity". Joe Cohen, chief executive of Seatwave, told BBC 6 Music:

“There's gonna be somewhere near on a billion pounds worth of economic activity brought to London through hotels, restaurants, shops, pubs, people coming to see Michael Jackson.

It's the Michael Jackson economic stimulus package that the tax payer isn't paying a penny for.

We’ve sold in the neighbourhood of 10,000 tickets so far. Depending on how the reviews are after the first couple of shows, we think that number should have at least doubled by the end of the run.

I’m not surprised at all this is the most popular performer of a generation who hasn’t performed for a very long time and may not perform again for a very long time, if ever.”

Cohen claimed a third of the trading going on at Seatwave is between people trying to upgrade their tickets for better seats.

Doubt has been cast in the media on whether Michael Jackson will be able to sustain such a long series of comeback, but Cohen reckons there’s no cause for concern.

“I don’t think that AEG Live would have put this together if they weren’t absolutely confident that Michael Jackson could perform all of these dates to the best of his ability.”

Source: Seatwave / BBC 6 Music / Billie Jean

Raymone Bain Sues Michael Jackson For $44 Million. 06-05-'09

In continuation of "lawsuit" week, yesterday Michael Jackson's former spokesperson and general manager, Raymone Bain, filed a $44+ million lawsuit against him in Washington D.C.. In the suit, Raymone Bain alleges that she is entitled to 10% of all profits yielded from deals she helped orchestrate. Specifically, Raymone Bain mentions the sales of Thriller 25, the refinancing of Michael Jackson's 50% stake in the Sony/ATV catalog, and then there's this big one--she also wants 10% of the rumoured, theoretical maximum profit potential that Michael Jackson's AEG-based efforts could produce if continued over the next three-and-a-half to four years.

In March, Randy Phillips of AEG speculated to the media that Michael Jackson's concerts and other related projects (including a 3D feature film based on Thriller) could conceivably net up to $400 million if he would take the concerts worldwide including more dates in Europe, Asia, and North America. Months after Raymone Bain last spoke with Michael Jackson, he signed a contract with AEG to perform up to 50 O2 concerts in London. Despite Raymone Bain not being directly involved in the agreement itself, she still claims that she is entitled to 10% of the theoretical $400 million that all AEG-related projects--most of which remain wholly unconfirmed--could produce because she had several meetings with AEG officials throughout 2007 (many months prior to any contract being signed or agreed to by Michael Jackson).

To help tell her side of the story to the media, Raymone Bain purchased and established an official Web site less than two weeks ago where she now includes several press statements and a video to discuss the matter. Foreshadowing the possible "dirt" which may come out about her much speculated involvement in Michael Jackson's personal and professional affairs, she proclaimed: "This lawsuit will result in some discussion about the relationship between Mr. Jackson and me. Hypothetical theories, accusations and rumours, if gauging from the past, will be many. However, all of these will be replaced in court with the truth."

Source: TMZ / Billie Jean

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