Michael Jackson O2 show details revealed

"This is it" says Michael Jackson of his O2 shows.
"This is it" says Michael Jackson of his O2 shows.

Whether for the wrong or right reasons, Michael Jackson's 50 scheduled shows at London's O2 Arena will almost certainly end up being one of 2009's most talked-about musical events, and we now know a little more about them.

The LA Times reports that Jackson is rehearsing four days a week for a series of gigs that promoter AEG Live claims will cost more than $20m to stage, and that ten dancers (eight men and two women) have been selected to perform with him.

It's also been revealed that direction and design for the shows will come from Kenny Ortega, who previously worked with Jackson on his Dangerous and HIStory tours. More recently, he choreographed the High School Musical series.

No monkeys

AEG Spokesman Randy Phillips told the LA Times that Jackson will perform between 18 and 22 songs on each night (no word on whether he'll sing them live, though), and that we can look forward to some aerial dancing similar to that made famous by Cirque du Soleil.

He also moved to deny reports that live elephants and monkeys will be involved in the production, claiming that there will be "no animals".

The first of Jackson's O2 gigs is scheduled for 8 July, and the entire run has sold out. However, it's emerged that there could be a sticking point: American promoter AllGood Entertainment is threatening to sue The King Of Pop for breach of contract, claiming that he's barred from performing until a Jackson family reunion gig in July 2010.

Ben Rogerson

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it.