Self-proclaimed “king of pop” Michael Jackson will dust off a 13-year-old hit song during the American Music Awards Wednesday night – even though it might jeopardize his chances of performing at the more prestigious Grammys seven weeks later.
Grammys boss Michael Greene, who is being sued for $10 million by American Music Awards producer Dick Clark for allegedly blackballing acts who appear on the earlier show, said Tuesday he would see what the Gloved One does during the ceremony before deciding whether to send him an invite.
“We have 980 nominees and only 14 performance slots. So who in their right mind would want to regurgitate something that was on just a few weeks earlier?” Greene told Reuters.
Jackson, who received one Grammy nomination when the lineup was announced last week, salvaged some hope of a Grammy slot by opting not to perform 1988 ditty “Man in the Mirror” live at the American Music Awards. Instead, he sent in a video that was produced “very recently,” said event publicist Paul Shefrin.
Jackson will attend the Shrine Auditorium ceremony to pick up an “Artist of the Century” award. He had initially backed out of the show altogether so as not to ruin his Grammy appearance chances, which drove an angry Clark to sue Greene last month for unfair competition.
Greene, president of the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences, has long maintained that avoiding dual appearances of celebrities on competing shows was a “normal industry business practice.” Shefrin said Jackson’s latest change of heart did not affect the status of Clark’s lawsuit.
ABC will air the American Music Awards live Wednesday, the same night that rival network CBS plans to rebroadcast a Michael Jackson concert special that scored strong ratings in November. CBS will also broadcast the Grammys Feb. 27, live from the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
In addition to Jackson’s appearance at the American Music Awards, his kid sister Janet will appear via satellite hookup from Tokyo to introduce another performance.
Other highlights will include a salute to some of the music legends who died during the past year, with soul star Luther Vandross performing George Harrison’s “My Sweet Lord.”
Also, pop singer/songwriter James Taylor will take part in a tribute to country superstar Garth Brooks, this year’s Award of Merit winner. Rap mogul Sean “P. Diddy” Combs and actress Jenny McCarthy will host the three-hour show.