Fans and colleagues of Michael Jackson turned out Tuesday night (October 27) to remember the King of Pop at the Los Angeles premiere of “Michael Jackson’s This Is It.” On MTV News’ premiere special, Tim Kash and Sway were live from the red carpet, and celebrities, fans and the crew involved with Jackson’s planned London comeback shows revealed what it was like behind-the-scenes with a superstar.
David Cook told us about his cover of Jackson’s “Billie Jean,” which helped him win the seventh season of “American Idol.” “You want to do songs people know, and who doesn’t know Michael Jackson?” Cook said on the red carpet. “It’s incredible to be here to honor Michael Jackson.”
Ashley Tisdale, who worked with “This Is It” director Kenny Ortega on the “High School Musical” movies, recalled the time she met Jackson. “It was amazing. I can’t even describe,” she remembered. “I was just, like, in awe. You can’t even speak. He was glowing. He’s an icon. You’re speechless.”
In an interview for the premiere special, Ortega remembered how Jackson never stopped working . “He was always thinking up ideas for the show. One time, he called me up, I think it was, like, 3 o’clock in the morning,” the director recalled. “He said, ‘Victoria Falls.’ I was like, ‘That’s in Africa.’ What it came to mean was we had these giant 3-D screens that were incorporated into the production. Michael wanted the world on that stage.”
Music supervisor Michael Bearden revealed the reason MJ used to tape his fingertips before concerts. “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.”
In an exclusive clip from the movie , which debuted during the special, Jackson is seen dancing around the stage in peach, straight-leg pants and a bronze blazer to his classic hit “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’.” In a split screen, Jackson stepped across the stage and rocked some dance moves to the song.
In a segment not included in the special, the show’s dancers gave fans an in-depth tutorial on how they can learn the moves that Jackson made famous. Dancers who worked with the superstar gave instructions on how to Moonwalk or mimic the steps from the “Beat It,” “Thriller” and “Smooth Criminal” videos.
However, Jackson’s colleagues got emotional when they recalled hearing of Jackson’s death just as they were wrapping up rehearsals with him at the Staples Center. “We became silent,” choreographer Travis Payne recalled. “We prayed and then we ultimately got the call. They said he had passed, and that was very hard.”
Check out everything we’ve got on “Michael Jackson’s This Is It.”