Michael Jackson and Diana Ross – World Music Awards 1996

Michael Jackson and Diana Ross sang and danced together on stage at the World Music Awards 1996

Michael Jackson was a major part of the World Music Awards 1996 in Monaco. Not only did he perform his “Earth Song” (twice, after he was unhappy with the first performance!) but joined Diana Ross on stage, collected awards and was a big part of Diana Ross’s performance, just sitting in his chair. Michael was the focus of most of the camera shots on the night and it’s interesting to take a look at some of the fun aspects of the award show. He was up and down onto that stage all night and even sang “I will survive” with an unlikely group at the end of a long night, consisting of Royalty, a Kung Fu Star, and others.

Michael Jackson Earth Song Performance

Michael performed “Earth Song” and he actually performed it twice. We’ve already looked at the performance and you can read more about it HERE

World Music Awards Performance and Awards

Michael Jackson was at the world music awards to collect his 5 awards including “Best selling male pop” and “Best R&B artist”. Diana Ross also performed and collected the “Legend Award” and performed an extended medley.

Diana Ross Medley and Michael

Diana Ross was really on form this night. This is the art of a true veteran performer. She performed, basically a ten minute medley of all her hits with a backing track – no band, no musicians – just her standing on stage with her voice. The audience were obviously dead and she had to shout “are you awake!?”.

She really captured the audience and took them with her. It’s interesting that Michael also had the same issue (yes, even him!) with the “dead” audience. After he performed “Earth Song” the first time and was unhappy, he performed it again but the audience were permitted to come forward toward the stage to increase the atmosphere and interaction between performer and audience. Back to Diana Ross though…

Diana Ross was basically singing to Michael

Rumours away that Diana and Michael had a very close relationship and you can obviously see the chemistry between them. Michael often spoke about Diana and their relationship, like a Lover, Mother, Friend.

“If you need me .. call me”

During Ross’s performance of “Ain’t no mountain high enough” she walks off the stage and sits on Michael’s lap and sings the first verse “If you need me, call me”. A shy Michael bursts into laughter.

Michael had performed with half the audience!

Did you notice the audience … Michael had worked with half of them or would go on to!

1) When Diana Ross walks into the audience did you catch her slap Naomi Campbell’s backside? Very funny and it was obviously Naomi who performed in the Michael Jackson video “In the Closet” but there is also another person sitting next to Michael who performed on the same song!

2) If we look to Michael’s right we see Princess Stephanie of Monaco – Did you know that THAT is the “mystery woman” who featured on the original “In the Closet” Dangerous album song!

3) We see Celine Dion on Michael’s left who performed with Michael on “What more can I give?

In addition, we see Michael’s bodyguard behind MJ’s shoulder, we see Michael’s “manager” Bob Jones going crazy in his white suit singing along to Diana Ross, and we even see Anita Baker in the green jump in and assist Diana Ross with the vocals at one point. A lot of fun.

Michael Jackson and Friends

Michael was surrounded by a lot of friends that night and at the end of the night joined Prince Albert and Diana Ross, with Natalie Cole and Jean Claude Van Dam on stage and messed around and sang “I will survive”. Michael was very funny to watch and they were all having quite a laugh!

Michael and Diana Ross

Michael performed with Diana Ross many many times over the years. My favourite one is probably the impromptu performance when she called him up on the stage and he just started busting moves, to her “Upside Down” – the audience went crazy!

One of my favourite songs that they did was “Eaten alive” written by Bee Gee Barry Gibb and Michael Jackson (but we will take a closer look at Michael and Diana Ross at a later date)

Back to the awards – The funniest moment of the night!

(8.51 min above) There was a moment in the award show which was quite funny. Michael was on stage when the presenter of the award, in his thick English accent went on to talk about “the enormous amount of music that is stolen from you by Pirates” … Michael burst out laughing. I think it was the way he pronounced “Pirates” … that guy has a great voice!

By Anthony King (c)

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