Jackson Vienna concert line-up falling apart

Thu Sep 10, 2009 5:28pm EDT
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By Caroline Copley and Alex Dobuzinskis

BERLIN/LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Plans for a Vienna tribute concert honoring Michael Jackson have been dealt a blow, with singers Mary J. Blige, Chris Brown and Natalie Cole not expected to perform, despite efforts by the late pop star's brother, Jermaine, to organize the event.

In Berlin, Jermaine Jackson and organizers on Thursday played down the lack of confirmed big names for the September 26 concert in front of Vienna's Schoenbrunn castle before an expected audience of 65,000.

"The star is Michael Jackson -- it's not about name dropping and who else will be there," the show's producer Georg Kindel told a news conference.

Tickets for the concert called "The Tribute" -- where Jermaine Jackson also plans to perform a medley of Jackson Five hits -- are being sold in stages for $92 to $755 (63 to 518 euros).

But U.S. representatives for Blige, Brown and Cole said on Thursday none of the three would perform in Vienna, despite statements by the concert organizers earlier this week that they would perform there.

That leaves only some lesser- known performers still definitely on board to sing at the show, including Sister Sledge, best known for the 1979 dance track "We Are Family."

Karynne Tencer, a Los Angeles spokeswoman for Blige, said in an e-mail that the singer will not perform at the tribute concert. "She wanted to but she had a previous commitment in Milan" on September 26 at an event for fashion company Gucci, Tencer told Reuters.

A person close to Brown said on condition of anonymity the R&B star will not perform at the tribute show. The "Kiss Kiss" singer was recently convicted of beating his former girlfriend, the pop star Rihanna, and he would need to get a judge's permission to leave the United States.   Continued...

<p>Jermaine Jackson, the brother of late U.S. singer Michael Jackson, attends a news conference promoting "The Tribute, In Memory of Michael Jackson" event in Berlin, September 10, 2009. REUTERS/Thomas Peter</p>