By now, everyone knows that when [artist id="1102"]Michael Jackson[/artist] died, he had been exhaustively preparing for a series of London comeback shows massive in scale and mind-blowing in presentation. What everyone doesn't know is what the King of Pop was like during the final phase of his life. On Tuesday night (October 27) at 8:30 p.m. ET, MTV News will try to fill in those biographical blanks when we air a live, secret-filled special from the red-carpet premiere of "This Is It," the documentary about MJ's efforts to launch those concerts.
But for now, we're giving you a little taste of what you'll see on the special, hosted by Sway and Tim Kash.
For example, what's the deal with Jackson's iconic socks — stark white and sticking out from beneath his high-cuffed pants? Even his dancers weren't sure at first. "You'd always think, 'Where's he coming from?' " Devin Jamieson said. "He's Michael, he can do whatever he wants, he can wear whatever he wants. But why? The story was that he wanted everybody in the back of these massive arenas to see his feet."
There have been a lot of rumors over the years as to why MJ taped the tips of his fingers before concerts, but music supervisor Michael Bearden actually asked the man himself to get the truth. "That was one of the things I asked him," Bearden said. "And he said, 'Because it feels good.' And then when he throws his hand a certain way, the white catches your eye. So if you're doing that" — [shoots his hand into the air, à la MJ] — "automatically, you're gonna look right there. It's just a show thing."
While fans could see the socks and tape, what they could never know was what it was like to stand next to Jackson. And as nearly everyone involved in "This Is It" remarked, MJ always smelled amazing. "He'd have these custom fragrances done for him and designers would send him fragrances and he would tend to mix them rather innocently," choreographer Travis Payne said. "And it just always smelled great. You'd know if he was approaching, or it would linger after he was gone."
Dancer Timor Steffens smiled fondly when remembering that lingering, slightly flowery scent. "His smell was so present, when I hugged him and let go of him and he walked away, I still had his smell on my hand," he said. "I was smelling my hand like, 'That's Michael! That's Michael!' "
Don't miss the "Michael Jackson's This Is It" premiere special, airing on MTV and VH1 tonight at 8:30 p.m. ET! "Michael Jackson's This Is It" opens in a limited engagement on October 27 and wide on October 28.
Check out everything we've got on "Michael Jackson's This Is It."