We watched the “We Are The World” video premiere along with the rest of the world on Friday night and have to say that while we felt overwhelmed by the sheer star power involved, we were underwhelmed by the actual singing. We grew up on the original version and had the USA For Africa tape back in the day and, call us old-fashioned, we just feel that Justin Bieber and Auto-Tune can’t compete with Bruce Springsteen and Stevie Wonder. Granted, some of the singers from the 1985 version came back for for the redux, including songwriter Lionel Richie and the ghost of Michael Jackson, but it felt off.
One celebrity not involved in the remake agrees with us. Jay-Z, acknowledging that he might catch some flack for his remarks, told MTV News “I know everybody is gonna take this wrong: ‘We Are the World,’ I love it, and I understand the point and think it’s great. But I think ‘We Are the World’ is like (Michael Jackson’s) ‘Thriller.’ I don’t ever wanna see it touched.I’m a fan of music. I know the plight and everything that’s going on in Haiti. I applaud the efforts: [Millions have been raised] through text [donations] to Haiti. So I appreciate the efforts and everything, but ‘We are the World’ is [musically] untouchable.” Jay explained that he wished the song was re-written rather than re-created for the Haiti cause, but considering the song is currently number one on iTunes, the rest of the world disagrees. [Photo: Getty Images]
Our headline may sound a little over the top, but is it really? A crowd of around 17,000 Michael Jackson fans who were packed into L.A.’s Staples Center — plus an estimated billion people watching worldwide on live television — were given the show of a lifetime today. The event is already being billed as the first worldwide memorial service. Some highlights:
We watched Michael Jackson’s casket, gold-plated and covered in red flowers, being carried into the Staples Center and placed in front of the stage. (Watch the clip above and the whole M.J. memorial at VH1.)
We listened to Queen Latifah read a touching poem by Maya Angelou.
We listened to basketball great Magic Johnson talk about the “greatest moment” of his life: Eating a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken with Michael Jackson. (We never knew the Gloved One was so, um, average.)
We watched Brooke Shields, who struggled to speak through tears, say that Michael Jackson was “pure, non-jaded and a lover of life.” Rumored to have dated Jackson in the 80s, Brooke described becoming friends with the King of Pop when she was 13 years old and how the two bonded over being child stars.
We listened to Smokey Robinson, who wrote several songs made famous by Michael, read condolences from both Diana Ross and Nelson Mandela.
We watched Motown founder Berry Gordy say that Michael Jackson was “the greatest entertainer that ever lived.”
We watched a heartfelt, soulful rendition of “Never Dreamed You’d Leave in Summer” by Stevie Wonder, who proclaimed that he wished he “hadn’t lived to see this day.” We watched riveting performances by Mariah Carey, Lionel Richie and Jennifer Hudson.
We also watched Usher‘s performance of “Gone Too Soon” (co-written by M.J. himself) start off shaky with a gasp for air and end in tears.
We listened as the Rev. Al Sharpton addressed Michael’s kids directly, saying: “Wasn’t nothing strange about your dad, it was strange with what your daddy had to deal with.” We’re not sure about that one, but we’ll let it pass.
We watched a stage full of celebrities and children sing “We Are the World,” the song written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie in 1985 and used to help fight famine in Africa.
We watched Michael Jackson’s weeping little daughter, Paris, say that that “daddy has been the best father that you can ever imagine and I just want to say that I love him so much” — easily the saddest moment of the day. Ugh. (Watch Paris Jackson speak here).
And we watched Michael’s big brother, Jermaine Jackson, sing and cry at the same time, which looked like a difficult feat to us.
Then again, we shed a tear or two while blogging — and that’s not easy to do, either.
Wanna watch Nicole Richie and Joel Madden‘s adorable daughter in action? Little Harlow joined her mom and grandfather Lionel Richie on Larry King Live last night, and the 17-month old hammed it up for the cameras and charmed the old-man pants off of Larry.
It’s clear that she got her camera skills from her mama, who came across as articulate, polished and poised, while decked out in gorgeous jewelry from her House of Harlow line. You can watch the interview with Lionel and Nicole above, or skip ahead to the 20-minute mark for some precious Harlow time.
Little Harlow Madden tagged along with her mama, Nicole Richie, at a taping of Larry King this week, where Nic and her dad Lionel Richie were guests on the show. Nicole showed up decked out in jewels from her House of Harlow line, while her daughter rocked pigtails for the first time.
Do you like Harlow’ grown-up hair style, and more importantly – do you think she does? [Photo: Splash News Online]