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Michael Jackson memorial: ‘We Are the World,’ ‘Who’s Lovin' You’ and the final performances

July 7, 2009 |  1:13 pm

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The final 20 minutes of today’s Michael Jackson memorial at the Staples Center came fast, with three performances and two group singalongs. First up, “Britain’s Got Talent” competitor, 12-year-old Shaheen Jafargholi, who performed Smokey Robinson’s “Who’s Lovin’ You,” after being introduced by Smokey, no less.

Ann Powers is inside the Staples Center, and she writes, “Perhaps it was inevitable that a child would sing today. It turns out that Shaheen Jafargholi had been invited to sing on the This Is It shows. His performance today is energetic, not too nuanced. But what a spot to be put in! One of the memorial's stranger moments.”

Jafargholi was followed by two group performances: “We Are the World” and “Hear the World.” Among the performers on stage were Jackson’s children. The appearances were introduced by Kenny Ortega, who was to direct Jackson's This Is It comeback tour in London, which was being rehearsed at the Staples Center just before Jackson died.

Powers sums up the final moments:

What kind of finale can such a strange, hybrid event have? Well, give it back to the show people. Kenny Ortega, director of Michael's aborted last tour, speaks of the rehearsals: "We were a family, and this was Michael's house."

Then the show's cast, joined by the family (including Jackson's own children) and the stars who have already performed -- and including a dozen or so other children -- come onstage for a medley of "We Are the World" and "Heal the World." This is not the Michael critics preferred, but it's true to him.

For the latest updates on the news surrounding today’s memorial and Michael Jackson’s passing, stay tuned to L.A. Now.

— Ann Powers and Todd Martens

Photo credit: Spencer Weiner / Los Angeles Times

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