Mary J. Blige tops Jackson tribute in Vienna

Tue Sep 8, 2009 11:15am EDT
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By Petra Spescha

VIENNA (Reuters) - R&B stars Mary J. Blige, Akon and Chris Brown and veterans Natalie Cole and Sister Sledge will honor the late Michael Jackson at a concert in Vienna later this month, with more stars due to be announced this week.

Thirteen artists so far have been confirmed to perform at the concert, set in front of Vienna's Schoenbrunn castle on September 26, Michael's brother Jermaine Jackson and producer Georg Kindel told reporters at a news conference in Vienna.

A total of 20 to 25 artists are expected to confirm eventually, they said. More names will be revealed at separate news conferences in London on Wednesday and in Berlin on Thursday, Kindel said.

In front of an expected audience of 65,000 -- plus millions on TV screens worldwide -- artists will reinterpret Jackson's greatest hits including Billie Jean, Thriller and Bad.

Jermaine will sing a virtual duet with his late brother, who died from a drug overdose on June 25 and will be brought to life by video projections on the concert stage, a 50 meter wide stage with a golden crown on top in front of the 17th century palace.

"For one song Michael will come back to us. It will be a magic moment for all, who loved his music," Jermaine said.

"This is how Michael would have done it. He always did things over the top."

The singers will be supported by the band and dancers who were to accompany Jackson on his planned "This Is It" series of comeback concerts in London before the king of pop died in June.   Continued...

<p>Musician Mary J. Blige performs during the Neighborhood Inaugural Ball in Washington January 20, 2009. REUTERS/Brian Snyder</p>