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Michael Jackson memorial: Lionel Richie sings 'Jesus Is Love'

July 7, 2009 | 11:06 am

Lionel Pop & Hiss brings you quick thoughts on some of the main performances at today's Michael Jackson memorial.

What: Lionel Richie's "Jesus is Love"

A classic sermon, Richie's performance shortly after Mariah Carey's made it clear that this would not be a tribute concert. Backed by a slowly rising choir, Richie's strong vocals provided a sturdy, uplifting take on the song, one powerful enough for a Sunday morning, as well as a downtown Los Angeles basketball arena.

As The Times' Ann Powers writes from inside the venue, " 'Jesus, he won't let you down,' sings Richie, gesticulating aggressively heavenward. The smooth star convincingly testifies, more like a Detroit preacher than the Jheri-curled gentleman behind 'All Night Long.' This is the mood here, church not club."

-- Ann Powers and Todd Martens

US singer Lionel Richie performs during the memorial service for Michael Jackson at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, USA, 07 July 2009. EPA/MARK J. TERRILL / POOL