A Thrill To Fill In For Jackson

Who will fill Michael Jackson’s moonwalking shoes now that he’s left behind 50 nights at London’s O2 Arena?

Michael Jackson’s untimely death last Thursday came less than three weeks before he was set to embark on a 50-night residency at the 20,000-capacity arena. The “This Is It” comeback concerts were set to kick off July 13 with dates through March 6.

The over the top show, at a cost of up to $20 million, was set to include pyrotechnics, mutant spiders, a hovering orb, 20-foot puppets, a flaming bed and 3D effects, according to USA Today.

Photo: AP Photo
Michael Jackson, looks "Dangerous" during the American Bandstand 50th anniversary show taping, at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium in California.

“At the moment we’re just waiting for the funeral to be out of the way and we’ll let people know in due course,” Lucy Ellison, a spokeswoman for O2 operator AEG Europe, told the Associated Press. “We’re thinking about Michael Jackson now. We’re just a very small part in this very tragic story.”

One rumor bouncing around the Internet is that Justin Timberlake and his own brand of smooth dance moves could fill in for Jackson by performing MJ’s hits.

U.K. tabloid The Sun suggests that Swedish pop group ABBA might be persuaded to once again strap on their platform boots and belt out ’70s hits such as “Super Trouper,” “Dancing Queen,” “Take A Chance On Me” and “Waterloo.” The band called it quits in 1983.

The Associated Press wrote that a reunion isn’t in the cards as AEG said the tabloid’s story didn’t hold merit and that ABBA has long vowed to never perform on stage together again.


AEG Live chief executive Randy Phillips told Britain’s Sky News one possibility is a MJ tribute concert featuring Jackson siblings and other artists influenced by the King of Pop as well as dance routines, sets and costumes from the “This Is It” show.

“At some point the world needs to see this production and I would imagine it could be done as a tribute with the family, with the brothers performing, some sisters, and the stars that were influenced by him,” Randy Phillips told Sky News.

“It would have been, which is the tragedy here, one of the most amazing shows ever, so at some point we want the world to see that. We are discussing with the family so the sooner, the better.”

Music writer John Aizlewood told the AP there’s no way the proposed tribute show could fill in for all of Jackson’s 50 dates.

“Fifty nights is absolutely out of the question. Nobody in the Jackson family is capable of selling out the O2 for even one night, not even Janet.

Artists that have rocked The O2 include Bon Jovi, Led Zeppelin, Kings of Leon, Britney Spears, Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen, as well as Prince and his 21-date residency. Upcoming shows at the London venue include Madonna, James Taylor, Green Day, Eddie Izzard and Madonna.

AEG Live is refunding tickets to Jackson’s “This Is It” shows or fans can instead choose the option of being mailed the physical tickets as mementos.

I don’t think any one artist is up to the task of perform 50 nights at The O2. I think it makes much more sense to book the shows with a number of artists rather than having one star take on the entire run. Leave a comment and tell us who should step into MJ’s sequined white socks and black loafers.

Click here for the USA Today article.

Click here for the AP article.

Click here for The Sun article.

Click here for the Sky News article.