Spotlight on Jackson at World Music Awards
Posted 11/15/2006 9:27 PM ET
By Cesar G. Soriano, USA TODAY
LONDON — With a few thrilling bars of We Are the World, Michael Jackson made a triumphant return to the spotlight at the World Music Awards Wednesday.
"There have been so many who have loved me and stood by me throughout my 42 years in the entertainment business," Jackson, 48, told screaming fans after he received a lifetime achievement award to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Thriller. Jackson, dressed in a sequined black tuxedo, said little and sang even less, but that didn’t dampen the spirits of his fans, many of whom traveled from around the world to witness Jackson’s comeback.
"I love all of my fans from the bottom of my heart," Jackson told the crowd after accepting the Diamond Award, given to artists who have sold more than 100 million albums. Previous recipients include Rod Stewart, Mariah Carey, Bon Jovi and Celine Dion.
"It was my dream that Thriller would become the biggest-selling album ever. And God has answered my prayers. I thank God and you for this success," Jackson said, thanking his parents, siblings and his children.
R&B star Chris Brown, backed by dozens of dancers in zombie make-up, opened for Jackson with rendition of Thriller.
"He has influenced my life since day one, since I was in my mama’s womb," Brown said before the show. "I was listening to his music as I was coming out and I’m here to play tribute to him."
The concert marked the latest public appearance by the reclusive celebrity, who moved to Bahrain in a self-imposed exile after his acquittal of child-molestation charges last year. Jackson now lives in Ireland south of Dublin. Jackson spent the past week in London, making several shopping and sightseeing outings. Jackson was toasted by a slew of celebrities including host Lindsay Lohan. Beyonce, Nelly Furtado, Enya, Andrea Bocelli and Katie Melua performed. In the VIP area, guests Paris Hilton, Rachel Hunter, Natalie Imbruglia, Tommy Hilfiger and Jade Jagger mingled, nibbled on sushi and sipped Moet champagne.Hundreds of fans who weren’t lucky enough to score tickets to the event held vigil outside, singing Jackson songs and waving banners.
"He’s part of my heart, part of my life," said Vincent Descamps, 18, of Lille, France, holding a giant American flag printed with Jackson’s face.
Diana Esquivel, who traveled from San Francisco, said she did not consider the appearance a comeback. "In my eyes, he never left."