As I was checking the front page of MSNBC yesterday, the first thing I saw was "Michael Jackson staged to announce comeback." While I first wondered why they would announce his comeback before Michael Jackson did so himself, I later started thinking as to whether this story was newsworthy enough to merit a center spot on the front page. With the exception of the auction at Neverland Ranch, Michael Jackson has been out of the spotlight for some time now. According to the article, he will be playing 10 concerts this July at London's O2 Arena, which has hosted acts like Elton John and the Spice Girls within the past few years. After these shows, Jackson says he will retire permanantly from performing.
But, in the eyes of the general public, hasn't he been retired from music for some time now? I can't remember the last time I associated Michael Jackson with his music over his financial and legal troubles. I'm not saying Michael Jackson isn't important anymore, just that he's a part of pop culture for different reasons other than "Beat It" or "Thriller."
And this is precisely why I think this "comeback" will be a spectacular failure. While I think people still appreciate his music, (I know I do.) I don't really think anyone thinks of him as capable to do any of his '80s and '90s hits justice. Whether he is or not, the public views him only as a bankrupt pedophile, not the man who moonwalks and can rock the one glove look. Michael Jackson is so far from his former self both physically and mentally that it simply wouldn't be worth the price of tickets (which I'm sure is incredibly overpriced) to try to pretend like it would be the same as him performing 20 years ago.
Apparently I'm not the only one that shares this sentiment. According to the article, few people showed up after the press conference to try to meet him or get his autograph, and entertainment officials say that fans may be hesitant to buy tickets given his erratic and unpredictable behavior. Yes, it's sad that us younger folks who love his music can never see the true Michael Jackson bust a move and belt "Billy Jean," but he can always live on in our own horrible imitations and Greatest Hits CDs.