The story of Michael Jackson staging a comeback is sort of like the boy who cried wolf. By now, most people have stopped believing.
During a news conference at London's O2 Arena, the King of Pop assured about 2,000 fans -- some who applied for tickets to hear his announcement, others who walked in off the street -- that come July, he would be giving his "final curtain call."
"I just want to say that these will be my final show performances in London," he said to the screaming crowd. "This will be it. When I say this is it, this will be it."
Looking fit and heavily made up, his straightened black hair a contrast to his scarlet mouth, Jackson showed up at the news conference 90 minutes late after traveling by bus in a motorcade.
He was there to launch his comeback -- and apparently final -- tour in London, where he'll give a series of 10 concerts in July at the O2 Arena. Concert organizers say he could do as many as 25 concerts. It's rumored that popular British boy band JLS, discovered on the popular British reality show "The X Factor," may be one of his opening acts.
Jackson appeared to soak in the crowd, who shouted his name and "I love you," by pausing several times during his very short statement. He also seemed to make a point of showing how fit he was by pumping his fist a couple times in the air.
"I love you," he said to his fans. "I really do, you have to know that. I love you so much. This is it. See you in July."
Then he was gone, after only two minutes.
Some in the crowd, apparently disappointed that they had waited so long for so brief an appearance, responded with angry shouts and stampeded for the door.
Will the fans come back for Jackson's concerts?
Sam Corbett, a radio plugger for Warner Records in London, told ABCNews.com: "I wouldn't buy a ticket to go and see him. He makes me feel sad these days and doesn't seem well enough to give a performance like he used to."
Ben Johnson, a magazine editor from London, told ABC News.com that he would definitely go to a gig but not because he's a huge fan, "I'd be going more out of curiosity," he said. "I've heard he's not doing new stuff, so it might be a tad depressing seeing a 50-year-old man still trying to do the moonwalk and grabbing his crotch and the like."
"There's a question of how big an attraction he is at this point," Billboard's executive editor Robert Levine told ABCNews.com. "There are a limited number of people who are going to pay a lot of money to see Michael Jackson."
Maybe so, but Stacy Brown, a former family insider, believes Jackson will get a bigger crowd in London than in America.
"He definitely has a loyal fan base in Europe, particularly in London," he told ABCNews.com. "If he can give a quarter of what he used to, everyone will be happy."
Jackson family attorney Brian Oxman thinks this is the comeback fans have long awaited.
"The brothers don't know much about it," he told ABCNews.com. "Nobody has any direct word, but this looks to be the real McCoy."
According to press reports, Jackson could perform as many as 10 shows over a month. He reportedly stands to earn between $1 million and $2 million per show.
That is, if Jackson actually shows up on stage.
"Michael can be fickle, but I believe he is eager to show the world that he has some of his unmatched talent left to share with the world," said Pearl Jr., who does not use a surname and runs the Web site MichaelJacksonInsider.com.