Grammys pay tribute to Michael Jackson with help from his kids: A fitting salute?

Do not adjust your TV sets — you just witnessed a Michael Jackson tribute so big it could not be confined to a mere two dimensions, courtesy of the Grammys. The tune was 1995’s “Earth Song,” with environmentally themed 3-D visuals that looked familiar if you saw This Is It. This performance was something else entirely, though, thanks to guest singers Celine Dion, Usher, Carrie Underwood, Smokey Robinson, and Jennifer Hudson. A slightly random assortment of names on paper, they brought exactly the right level of power and emotion to the song on stage.

Speaking of emotion, Jackson’s children Michael “Prince” Joseph Jr. and Paris-Michael Katherine shared some brief but truly moving words about their late father after the music ended. When Prince stumbled over his lines, it was nearly impossible not to choke up right along with him.

What did you think of the Grammys’ Michael Jackson tribute? Was this a fitting send-off to the King of Pop? Weigh in below.

(Follow the Music Mix on Twitter: @EWMusicMix.)

More from EW.com’s Music Mix:
Taylor Swift wins Album of the Year: Did the Grammys get it right?
Lady Gaga and Elton John: What did you think?
Taylor Swift and Stevie Nicks’ Grammy duet: out of sight, or out of tune?
Grammys pay tribute to Michael Jackson with help from his kids: A fitting salute?
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Grammys backstage report: which star ‘thought I was going to fall on my nude butt’?

Photo credit: Michael Caulfield/WireImage.com


Comments (201 total) Add your comment
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  • MJ4ever!

    I will love Michael forever

    • tori

      My favorite performance of the night. I thought the five singers were really random but I thought every one of them did an amazing job. Earth Song has always been one of my favorite MJ songs and I’m glad people are now getting to hear it.

    • Sally in Chicago

      I loved this performance, I lived this tribute. I loved that his kids came on stage and accepted.

      • Sally in Chicago

        Sorry, LOVED the tribute.

      • Luis

        By the way, Michael Jackson’s children look just like him…

      • ROCK BAND PRO

        Too Much!!! I though I was watching someone play rock band. All they needed was Curt Cobain and a howling Celine Dion to make it truly memorable.

      • Anne

        I assume Luis is kidding and I, for one, appreciate the joke ;)

      • omg

        Luis, not that it really matters but I think you’re wrong. MJ’s kids don’t look like him. Not even close. Again, doesn’t really matter in the bigger picture. Whether natural or adopted or surrogate or whatever, they are HIS. That’s all that matters.

      • Luis

        Oh, it was a silly joke. As a gay man, I agree with omg’s comment about adopted children. I just thought it was funny that these are meant to be the children Michael Jackson fathered.

    • Sally in Chicago

      LUIS — I guess that means they’re “colored”? Huh? They don’t look like him, Paris looks like Dr. Klein, she has his blue eyes. And the boys? I don’t know, they’re white/Caucasian, I guess they feel African American inside.

      • diane

        Luis,

        Not so much!

      • DISAPPOINTED

        For u to use the word “colored” shows how ignorant you r. Whether the children are “African American or Caucasian, Michael obviously took care of them……..please stop showing your ignorance and show some compassion to those children

    • dustin

      HE TOUCHED CHILDREN! WAS A DRUG ADDICT! DIED OF AN OVERDOSE! ENOUGH WITH TRIBUTING THIS MAN!

      • Bob Frapples

        Settle down. “Tributing” is not a verb.

      • Art Carney Wilson

        I cried when I seen this. Tributing is the best and people who do tributes are tribastic. Or tribadic? Hmmmm…

      • DISAPPOINTED

        yeah, let’s not forget all that he did for this world……..if you were in the room when all the alligations happened, why didn’t you report him……..oh because YOU WERENT THERE?…….hMMMMM

      • Lamb

        He was a kind, humantiarian, billionaire entertainer who was extorted, conned and manipulated. You show your ignorance by speaking to a topic you are not informed about.

      • dustin

        and you show your ignorance by buying into this bullsh-t. Nice comeback by mocking one word. I mean, wow. Good work all of you.

      • dustin

        oh… and….
        Tribute \Trib”ute\, v. i. [imp. & p. p. Tributed; p. pr. & vb. n. Tributing.]To pay as tribute. [R.] –Whitlock (1654).[1913 Webster]

        Try again f-ckheads!

      • Deborah Ffrench

        Interesting isn’t it, that when the media narrative on Mr Jackson occupying televison networks, print and online outlets from 1993 onwards – and notably from 2003-2005, was overwhelmingly salacious and in many cases actually dishonest; no-one was saying
        ‘enough’ or ‘when will this end?’
        It would seem that while the appetite to damn or forget Mr Jackson remains insatiable, it is only when his children and friends want to give some degree of respect and honour to his memory, that suddenly detractors start tiring of the subject. Science has a lot going for it. Its abiding mantra being; if something has not been proven to be so – it is not so. Michael Jackson was not, I repeat a child molester.

        If, after over a decade of investigation by both the FBI and the LAPD, no evidence of criminal wrongdoing could be attibuted to Mr Jackson – then that is because there was no criminal wrongdoing to be attributed. It was however, proven to the satisfaction of a conservative jury in republican Santa Barbara, that not only were the charges of molestation baseless, but that the minor misdemeanours of intent to intoxicate and conspiring to imprison were also completely unfounded.

        In light of the release of the FBI files now confirming Michael’s innocence, no doubt the media and the American criminal justice system who allowed one man – Tom Sneddon’s, deeply personal vendetta against Mr Jackson to become the prosecutorial obscenity that it did, would prefer that people forgot about what was done to Michael Jackson.

        For Michael’s children sake I hope we do not. One day, if not now, they will be asking difficult questions. Will the answers they are given consist of the self-interested misinformation promoted by Diane Dimond and the majority of the American media? A media, that have been deliberately undermining the truth about Mr Jackson’s innocence for over 15 years, and would clearly rather the whole matter of Mr Jackson’s children would just go away? The children were clearly nervous because it was an awe-inducing space, not because they did not want to speak. They have every right to speak. Michael Jackson is their father, whether anyone thinks they look like him or not.

        And, by God, they have every right to be heard.

      • siu siu

        If you don’t like him, don’t ever watch video or post on the blog. Don’t waste your time here.

      • MJ Fan

        Thank you Deborah Ffrench!! That was very powerful!! Very well said!!!

    • Shana

      me too! MJ<3

  • flicketyflack

    I didn’t think it would work but I agree that Hudson, Underwood, Dion, Robinson, and Usher brought the right power and emotion to the tribute. The tribute worked IMO and I prefer this over reenactments of his hits. Go with the message.

    I cringed that them parading out the kids though.

    • Natalie

      I agree. There have already been tributes with his hits, this felt flet fresh and poignant.

      • MJ Fan

        I agree as well. Earth Song represented his life’s passion and one of the main reason’s for doing the “This Is It” shows.

      • MJ Fan

        MJ’s kids accepting a life-time achievement award for their dad at the Grammy’s is very appropriate. This is the premier event of the year and it felt right and, despite their nervousness, they did a great job. I think their dad would have been very proud of them. What would make me cringe is if they were brought on a tacky show like “Dancing With The Stars”. That would be awfull!! Thankfully they haven’t been used that way thanks to their grandmother. Kudo’s to Katherine!!

  • Maria

    The kids were so brave! I don’t know how they did but I am sure MJ is smiling in heaven. They were nervous but facing all these celebrities, they did great.

    • jb

      It was nice for the kids to speak on behalf of their father, but is “brave” the right word? Where’s Tito?

    • Terry

      You really think that’s where he is?

      • Luz

        why do you care? You are passing judgment on others which guarantees you won’t get to ‘heaven’ either… tell lucifer I said hello since that’s where you’re headed.

      • Lex

        Yes. I know that’s where he is.

      • Terry

        I’ll say hello to Michael while I’m at it. I’ll give him your best.

      • MJ Fan

        I feel Michael IS in heaven, although, at the end of the day, it’s not up to me to decide. How many of us feel we have a guaranteed one-way ticket to heaven?? For the Born-Again crowd: I might say I’ve accepted Christ’s free gift of Salvation (which I have) but if I haven’t been walking with Him; if I haven’t truly allowed Him to change MY life…well, God ultimately decides my eternity. Not you. Not me. Not any of us. In the big picture, God’s most important lesson’s to us are to LOVE and FORGIVE one another. Treat others as YOU would want to be treated yourself! You don’t have to be religious or have ever read the Bible to understand and appreciate that.

  • Pam

    The tribute moved me the kids seemed nervous and I was a little taken back that they had to share the stage with Jermaine’s kids. I guess that was the only way they would agree to the appearance. I can not help but feel that Michael’s siblings and the kids cousins are envious of MJ kids as they were of MJ too. I wiil continue to pray for all of them and i do hope my feelings are wrong.

    • tia

      Not Jermaine’s kids. They were Tito’s boys, 3T. They were signed to Michael’s record label back in the day. Remember the song “Why” which Michael lend his vocals on.

    • Partylikeapumpkin

      Not Jermaine kids, but Titos. They were very close to Michael and have been very involved with the kids since his death. They were thee for moral support and I applaud them for that.

      • TC

        Tito’s sons also know what Prince, Paris and Blanket are going through seeing as they lost their own mother when they were teenagers

    • mildlyobsessed

      I disagree; I think it was wonderful to have Tito’s boys there like big brothers, so support them. They looked very proud of Prince and Paris too.

      Not much to be envious of really, they just lost their dad.

      • Monty

        …6 months ago. And they’re never going to get over it unless people stop putting them on stage to talk about their dad’s death.

        “This is It” is out now right? Can we FINALLY END the Michael Jackson tributes?

      • janice jones

        I think it is great that 3T is taking time to make sure the kids are ok.

    • MJ

      you do not know those people. shut the f up about things you know nothing about. they are the JACKSON FAMILY ASS HEAD.

  • Jane

    I love you Micheal! May God shield and cover your beautiful children. My heart has broken all over again just seeing your Prince and paris speak. :-(

  • Maryann Banaszak

    I looked forward to seeing the tribute to MJ and was not disappointed by the singers’ rendition of Earth Song. I also wanted to see Michael’s children pay tribute to their father. They did a beautiful job. I only have one question. WHY were their cousins on stage with them? The cousins served no purpose whatsoever on that stage. It was time for Prince and Paris to have the stage ALONE to comment about THEIR father.

    • Mel J

      The cousins were there for support because Prince and Paris were nervous

      • Sue1

        That’s exactly what I thought.

      • MJ Fan

        Yes, that’s what I thought too. Also, 3T were close with Michael.

      • queesy

        Tito’s sons are cute, but honestly, I’m pretty sure the only reason they were there was to be promoted by their family. Just like Jacko’s kids, who are being exploited.

      • MJ Fan

        As a reminder to “queesy”, this is the GRAMMY’S, the premier event of the year for music!?! I’m sure you know that this was the event where Michael won a record breaking 8 Grammy’s in one night for his Thriller album, just over 25 years ago. And this years Grammy’s were being held at the Staple’s Center where their father had been rehearsing 7 months earlier. A good amount of time has past and it was totally right for Michael’s kids to accept an award for their dad at this event. ESPECIALLY this event. They’ve only done 2 T.V. appearances since their dad died, (hopefully no more) and both have been right and NOT exploitive. Kudos to Katherine, their grandmother!! As for 3T, it was good for them to be there. They, like MJ’s kids, are part of the 2nd generation of Jackson’s. They didn’t try to go up to the micro-phone, they knew it was Prince and Paris’ moment. During the memorial, MJ’s kids were surrounded by the entire family, especially Michael’s siblings. This time it was just the cousins turn to stand with them. Symbolically I thought it was great!!

    • Sally in Chicago

      The cousins were the ONLY family there….the grandma and grandpa didn’t accompany them, neither did the brothers and sisters. The cousins were the only ones that supported them.

    • Glory

      Was it just me or did it look like some of the cousins are already following in the family “plastic surgery” tradition.

      • Partylikeapumpkin

        YOU…

      • Alan

        No, I agree with Glory. One of the male cousins in particular looked quite similar to Latoya.

      • Mariah

        You idiot…they didn’t have plastic surgery…their late mother was hispanic and they look just like her…she had a small nose.
        Sheesh people, what is so hard about “if you got nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all?”
        God, it’s apparent that Michael raised his children with more manners and respect than any of you neanderthals were, or could ever hope to with your own kids; despite all of the media garbage thrown his way during his life.
        Tell me, did you have to grow up hearing people who knew NOTHING about your father call him “Wacko Jacko” and a pedophile to his face?
        Those kids may have worn masks to hide their faces, but they could still see and hear everything.
        Just to see those kids on stage addressing the same public that had shunned their father when he had been alive is nothing short of amazing to me, when all things considering they had every right to shun the world right back for it’s role in the event’s leading up to his death.
        Despite contrary belief, Propofol isn’t what really killed him…it was the media that really destroyed Michael Jackson from the inside out.
        The kids knew this and yet they still chose to come out publically and make a statement at the Grammy Awards, which has already created a media frenzy.
        God Bless those kids, and the rest of Jackson family

      • Lamb

        Amen, Mariah!
        Thank you.
        What she said!

      • fuzzywzhe

        Hey Maria.

        First of all, Michael Jackson coined the term “Wacko Jacko” through his PR agency.

        Second of all, Michael Jackson was sleeping with boys, and ONLY boys, for 2 decades in his bedroom and you consider it unreasonable for anybody to draw a reasonable conclusion?

        After the first allegations of him being a pedophile he rushed off to marry Lisa Marie Presley to quash the rumors after he immediately paid off his accuser, and he never stopped sleeping with children.

        Yes, how crazy WE are to think he was a pedophile. You’re totally sane.

      • MJ Fan

        fuzzywzhe, you haven’t done your homework, the British tabloid press coined the term “Wacko Jacko” in the late 80’s, not Michael Jackson’s PR agency. Also, it was a term he despised. As for the other issue you mentioned, the FBI investigated him for many years, including outside of the U.S. and they could find NO, I repeat NO, criminal wrong doing on the part of Michael Jackson. END OF STORY!!!

    • Barbara

      I am so with you~ Michael’s beautiful babies totally deserved the center stage, alone, finally, in respect of there Dad. They did it awesomely~

      • MJ Fan

        They did great!! Very poised and composed despite being nervous. Well done Prince and Paris!!

      • queesy

        It was embarrassing because the kids flubbed their way through the whole thing, not to mention that Jackson himself did NOT want those kids on TV, but now they’re being exploited. Oh well. For someone to die and not have his wishes followed is tragic in itself. Especially when the whole extended family used/continues to use that person as a meal ticket.

      • MJ Fan

        I totally disagree with “queesy”. The kids did fine. They’re not professionals. They’re just kids. They way it should be. Prince stumbled once. So what. The only thing that I do agree on is I hope these kids won’t be trotted out on T.V. again. Then it will look like exploitation. So far this is only their second appearance. There shouldn’t be anymore.

  • sunita

    A fitting tribute to the king of Music..the Peace band Michael wore on his sleaves right fully passed on to his beloved children who will for sure fullfill the Promise to spread MJ’s message of L.O.V.E to this World..Today we saw how well these children are taken care of by their Grand Parents and Uncles and Aunts!! Very touching words..could not hold tears!! Michael lives on until the end of time..God Bless his children and May MJ now rest in peace.

    • MJ Fan

      Yes, they were wearing Michael’s peace band. It was great seeing that. I’ve also heard Michael, in an interview, describe it as a reminder to him that there are children suffering in the world and that he would always do his part to relieve as much of that suffering as was possible for him and to encourage others to do the same. God bless you Michael.

  • Celia

    I love the tribute. It was different and his kids were very sweet.

  • Me!

    Carrie Underwood surprises and impresses me more than I would like to admit.

    • Mel J

      Agree.

    • Preston

      Carrie sounded wonderful singing her parts on Earth Song. Just powerful singing from her with the other singers on the stage.

  • LISOU

    I thought it was a good tribute. But, one thing I didn´t like was that Usher tried so hard to look the same as Michael. I thought he tried to sing just the same as him. But hasn´t he got it, nobody – NOBODY – can sing like Michael. Not then, not now, not ever.

    But it was lovely. Celine Dion´s voice is so beautiful :)

    • MJ Fan

      Celine had the right voice for the song as did Jennifer Hudson. I liked them all, however, it did sound like Usher was trying to sing out of his vocal range. That said, it was right for him to be there since he thought of Michael as a mentor and Michael admired his work. Great job everone!

  • Kay

    What a disappointment! I would have preferred to see more of the video instead of it being in the background and hearing Michael sing more of the lyrics.

    Michael would have been very proud of his kids!

    • Chrisy S

      I agree they should have showed more of the video and more of MJ’s voice… The children did great… I’m sure it was hard for Prince to do what he did and keep from crying or stumbling… Hopefully they don’t have them on TV unless they wish to be though… RIP Michael

  • Nikki

    As far as a tribute, I didn’t like this at all. Everybody sounded amazing, but it just didn’t add up for me. And don’t get me started on the cousins. Absolutely no reason for them to be there.

    • Mel J

      They were there for support. MJ’s kids were nervous.

      • MJ Fan

        Totally agree. MJ’s kids were being given moral support.

    • janice jones

      I feel you about the tribute. I would have to say that Smokey did excellent. I don’t usually like his voice but he rocked it. Michael of course was the best one.

  • me

    sry, but this really wasnt it! just not fitting atall ):
    remember, we lost the greatest there ever was..

  • Well…

    Personally I was a little disappointed in this tribute. Don’t get me wrong, I thought it was a wonderful performance with great vocals and emotion. However, I would have also liked to see some of Michael’s spark. Perhaps, a performance of “Thriller” or “Smooth Criminal”. I guess I just thought “Earth Song” was too easy. On a side note, the 3D stuff was annoying. I don’t know about anyone else but I don’t have 3D glasses lying around at my house. The distorted images distracted me.

    • Lynn

      No one can cover those songs, they are too signature MJ. Can you imagine Usher trying to sing either of those songs and dance to them?? It would be lame and would not have had the powerful impact that it did. The juxtaposition of all of those amazing singers with his voice on Earth Song unexpectedly brought tears.

      Agree the 3D was annoying.

    • james

      Which is why all week they were running commercials to tell people that the 3d glasses were at Target.

    • Chrisy S

      That was the song he was working on (and video) when he passed… he wanted everyone to see… The 3D glasses thing… I just used mine from another movie I had purchased from a while ago… Seeing as they only sold the glasses at Target… and I live in Canada … we don’t have a Target… I do agree that Usher had moments that he sounded out of place because he was trying too hard… but they all did a great job… RIP Michael

    • Preston

      I believe that all the other songs like Thriller or Smooth Criminal were already done on Michael Jackson tributes at other awards shows and the Grammys were smart to avoid that. Earth Song was a personal record for Michael and he did this just for the tour he was about to do last year. The video was beautiful and the tribute was very respectful to Michael Jackson and his many super talents.

  • Kevin V

    It was awesome. I liked that they didn’t just roll out a medley of his hits but chose one song that spoke of his passion. I was so excited seeing Jennifer Hudson and Carrie Underwood together on stage. Do us proud, AI babies!

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