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October 7, 2015

Michael Jackson Memorial Service Highlights

by Kim Potts, posted Jul 7th 2009 5:25PM
Michael Jackson memorialFrom his sequin-gloved brothers carrying Michael Jackson's coffin into the memorial service at the Staples Center in Los Angeles to the finale performance of the Jackson-penned 'We Are the World' and 'Heal the World,' we've gathered the most touching (and bizarre) moments from today's televised Michael Jackson tribute.Michael Jackson memorialFrom his sequin-gloved brothers carrying Michael Jackson's coffin into the memorial service at the Staples Center in Los Angeles to the finale performance of the Jackson-penned 'We Are the World' and 'Heal the World,' we've gathered the most touching (and bizarre) moments from today's televised Michael Jackson tribute.

• Celebs like Dionne Warwick, Larry King and Jackson pal Corey Feldman (who attended the memorial dressed like a Jackson impersonator) were in attendance, while speakers included Smokey Robinson (who opened the ceremony by reading statements on behalf of Diana Ross and Nelson Mandela), Queen Latifah (who read a poem written for Michael Jackson by Maya Angelou) and a very loud, and quotable, Rev. Al Sharpton. Among Sharpton's statements: That we shouldn't focus on Jackson's "mess," because "It's not about a mess, it's about his message," and, addressing Jackson's children in the crowd, "Wasn't nothin' strange about your daddy -- it was strange what he had to deal with."

• Motown founder Berry Gordy, who launched the Jackson 5's career, recalled how he told Smokey Robinson that Jackson outsang him on 'Who's Loving You' (and Robinson agreed), and then called Michael Jackson "simply the greatest entertainer who ever lived."

• Jackson's casket (which appeared to be made of gold) was carried into the Staples Center by Jackson's brothers and Jackson 5 cohorts, who were all wearing one sequined white glove.

• Among the performances: Mariah Carey and Trey Lorenz sang 'I'll Be There' (though not particularly well, as Carey seemed unable to hit some -- many -- of the notes); Lionel Richie sang 'Jesus Is Love,' and Stevie Wonder, a long-time Michael Jackson pal, performed 'I Never Dreamed You'd Leave in Summer,' a song that Wonder wrote and Jackson had recorded.

<a href="http://www.mtv.com/news/" target="_blank">Michael Jackson Memorial: Stevie Wonder</a>

• A video clip package of Jackson's musical highlights included his video performances, his classic moonwalk at the Motown 25th anniversary special, video of a young Michael, and, most oddly, Jackson kissing Bubbles the chimp on the lips.

• Kobe Bryant and Magic Johnson paid tribute to Jackson's humanitarian efforts (which later in the ceremony earned him a posthumous congressional citation) and mentioned his place in the Guinness Book of World Records for "Most Charities Supported by a Pop Star," while Johnson also said the greatest moment of his life was sharing a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken with Jackson when the two met to discuss Johnson appearing in Jackson's 'Remember the Time' video.

• Jennifer Hudson had the best vocals -- and the most moving performance -- of the day when she sang Jackson's own 'Will You Be There,' which ended with Jackson's voice reading the song's lyrics.

• Sharpton's speech was followed by John Mayer, in a three-piece suit (sans jacket), playing a guitar version of 'Human Nature,' then leaving the stage to hug the mono-gloved Jackson brothers. Weirder still: Usher sang an emotional version of 'Gone Too Soon' -- the tune Jackson penned for AIDS-stricken teen Ryan White -- and ended it in an even more emotional (and slightly creepy) way when he walked down to Jackson's coffin, touched it and finished the song in tears, requiring comforting from Jackson's family.

• Mayer's performance was followed by Brooke Shields, who was teary when she talked about how not weird her friendship -- once rumored to be a dating relationship -- with Jackson was, while also mentioning that she and Jackson had joked they were the "mother and father of the bride" at Elizabeth Taylor's last wedding. Shields' was the most personal tribute to the singer, however, as she recalled how they bonded over their experiences of being child stars and spent their time together trying to make each other laugh. Shields also shared that Jackson's favorite song was 'Smile' (from the 1936 Charlie Chaplin flick 'Modern Times'), which Jackson brother Jermaine then performed (and which, we're guessing, is going to end up for sale on iTunes).

• The concert, er, service, wound down with performances of Jackson-penned 'We Are the World' and 'Heal the World' by the singers who would have been part of his planned shows in London. The often surreal event ended on the day's most somber, heart-wrenching note, as, after brief comments from Jackson brothers Jermaine and Marlon, Michael Jackson's sobbing 11-year-old daughter, Paris, told the crowd, "Ever since I was born, daddy has been the best father you can ever imagine. I love him so much."

Michael Jackson Memorial Photos
See photos of legendary entertainer Michael Jackson.
Kevork Djansezian, AP
Kevork Djansezian, AP
AOL Television is not responsible for caption content

Michael Jackson Memorial Photos

    Paris Jackson turns away from the microphone in tears after saying goodbye to her father Michael during the memorial service.

    Mark J. Terrill, AP

    All three of Michael Jackson's children -- Paris (left), Prince Michael Jackson I (right) and Prince Michael Jackson II (left, bottom) appear on stage during the memorial service.

    Mark J. Terrill, AP

    Usher performs beside the casket of Michael Jackson during the memorial service.

    Kevork Djansezian, AP

    The Jackson family is seen in the front row as they honor their late brother.

    Harrison Funk, WireImage

    Musician John Mayer plays a guitar tune in honor of Michael Jackson.

    Mark J. Terrill, AP

    Actress-singer Jennifer Hudson sang 'Will You Be There?' during the memorial.

    Kevork Djansezian, Getty Images

    'Britain's Got Talent' child singer Shaheen Jafargholi was one of the standout performances of the memorial.

    Kevork Djansezian, AP

    Jermaine Jackson honored his brother by performing the song 'Smile.'

    Kevork Djansezian, AP

    Stevie Wonder performed 'They Won't Go When I Go' at the Michael Jackson public memorial service.

    Kevork Djansezian, Getty Images

    Lionel Richie belts out 'Jesus Is Love' during the memorial service for Michael Jackson.

    Mark J. Terrill, AP

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