Michael Jackson has had his share of oddball friends, but his latest supporter just might top them all. Eminem will drop his tough-guy image for a few nights and honor the far more placid star.
The bleached-blond Grammy winner, who is more prone to rapping about violence than ways to "Heal the World," is doing what would appear to be the unthinkable — sharing the stage with the King of Pop.
Eminem and his mentor Dr. Dre are joining the ever-growing roster of stars set to pay tribute to the guy who once had all of America moonwalking while wearing a single white glove.
Jackson, who has been off the music scene for six years, will mark his comeback with a celebration of his 30 years as a solo performer. The double concerts Friday and Monday at New York's Madison Square Garden will be taped for a CBS broadcast.
Music Industry to Celebrate Its Best Seller
The events will trace Jackson's vast history, with supporters like 'N Sync performing his hits. The lineup crosses all musical genres and age groups, with Ray Charles, Whitney Houston and Missy "Misdemeanor" Elliott also on board.
For Eminem, Snoop Dogg and Slash to show an interest in the event is a reminder of how big an impact Jackson has had on the music world. After all, Thriller remains one of the best-selling albums of all time. It spawned multiple hits, including "Beat It," "The Girl Is Mine" and "Billie Jean."
Celebrating this history is no small task.
The event will boast hundreds of backup performers, a 48-piece orchestra, dancers and a top ticket price of $2,500.
Seats are still available in the top price brackets, as Jackson's commercial appeal has yet to be proven in the 21st century. He'll further test his crown as the King of Pop by releasing his first studio album in six years, Invincible, next month.
One thing is certain: Jackson's lure within the entertainment industry remains incomparable.
Even the reclusive Marlon Brando is coming out for the celebration.
Missing from the event will be the current top-selling Jackson, Janet, who is on tour. Fans will have to settle for the Jackson brothers. The Jackson 5 will reunite for a medley, including a rendition of "Dancin Machine" with 'N Sync, now that the boy band has worked out a scheduling glitch and is able to attend.
As for Eminem, it's unclear what he will perform. It's hard to imagine the bad-boy rapper warming up and belting out "Heal the World" or "Black or White." Maybe he'll consider a rendition of "Smooth Criminal."
The Madison Square Garden shows will serve as Eminem's first stateside performances this year.