Michael Jackson Memorial: Best Memorial Ever

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em. The Michael Jackson Memorial is about to begin. The musical tributes will be great and there's suspense as to who will sing when, the family has not provided a schedule.

If you're watching, here's a thread to weigh in the memorial and the music. You can view the photos of the service below in larger format here.

Update: 11:34 am (MT): “We are going to see the King. No More Dying”. They bring the gleaming casket in. It’s topped with flowers and really quite beautiful. The crowd rises and claps. It’s very tastefully done so far. updates below.

Pastor Lucius Smith addresses the audience. Great suit and tie combo. Very low-key and again, tasteful.

Mariah Carey is up, “I’ll Be There.”

Queen Latifah reads a Maya Angelou poem.

Lionel Richie sings a religious song.

11:54 a.m. Berry Gordy. Reminisces about Michael and Motown. He’s excellent, both serious and humorous.

The crowd is so respectful. This may be the most tasteful, while not being morose, memorial we’ve seen televised to date.

12:05 pm. They turn to Michael’s music. Beautiful montage and clips of him as a child and his performances.

Stevie Wonder sings a beautiful song. Okay, if you aren’t watching today, it’s definitely worth watching the replay tonight in it’s entirety. It’s a beautiful memorial service.

Kobe Bryant and Magic Johnson

The family

Jennifer Hudson

During the chorus of Jennifer Hudson’s song, they overlay it with Michael speaking in a soft voice. Very moving.

Leave it to Al Sharpton to ruin the mood and start shouting. He sounds like he’s at one of his rallies. But he’s passionate. And he says the line that needed to be said, speaking to his children: There’s nothing strange about your father. It was people’s reactions to him that were strange.” Total change in atmosphere. They show the kids who like everyone else, stands and claps. Adorable kids, particularly the youngest, whom they call “Blanket.” When Sharpton finishes, the males in the family go to embrace him. So Sharpton was good, he energized the crowd and really defended Michael.

John Mayer plays an instrumental and also gets hugs from each Jackson family male:

Brooke Shields is very emotional, in a good way, and looks gorgeous.

Jermaine Jackson sings:

Here are the flowers:

And the best pic so far, here’s what the audience is looking at:

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee talks about the presumption of innocence. Tito Jackson sings “Gone Too Soon.”

A rare shot of Michael’s children.

A child performer, Shahim, is an incredible talent.

And now, the final musical tribute, with a variety of guests singing, “We Are the World”, each singing a line or two. His children and dozens take the stage.

You can view larger versions of the photos above here. Or watch below:

Simply fabulous. I am so glad I stayed to watch the whole thing. I can’t recommend enough that you watch the whole thing yourselves. It’s so moving and beautiful, a fabulous tribute to a man, who to hundreds of millions of people, really was “the greatest entertainer of the world.”

Rest in Peace, Michael Jackson. And thank you to whoever put this Memorial together, and to the Jackson family for allowing all of us to share in it. And, finally, Long Live Michael Jackson. He really will be with us forever.