EXCLUSIVE: First Pictures of Michael Jackson’s Memorial Rehearsal; Usher, Stevie Wonder

The Sun revealed the world’s first glimpse of heartbreaking Michael Jackson memorial performances by Stevie Wonder and Usher

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Production crew fought back tears as Usher and Stevie Wonder sang touching tributes to the tragic King of Pop at rehearsals for tonight’s show. Highlights included Usher’s version of the poignant 1993 Jackson hit, Gone Too Soon and a huge choir of children singing his anthem “We Are the World.”

Usher and Stevie Wonder are just two of the singers scheduled to perform on a star-studded bill which includes Maria Carey, Lionel Richie, Smokey Robinson, Diana Ross and Jennifer Hudson.

stevieLegendary Stevie Wonder, 59, performed beneath a giant projected shadow of Jackson in his glory days, strutting across a giant screen. Wonder sat somberly at the piano as he paid tribute to 50-year-old Jackson during the warm-up. Jackson fan Usher, 30, performed in a dark jacket, tie, and sunglasses beneath more giant images of the pop icon. Watching fans wiped away tears as several projections showing Jackson as a child star were beamed on to the backdrop. One witness said: “The rehearsal was extremely moving – many people watching were in tears.  The stars’ performances were superb but the set and the production were equally breathtaking.

“There won’t be a dry eye in the house on the night when those huge pictures of Michael as a boy appear. And the performance of Gone Too Soon was incredible – Usher could not have picked a more fitting epitaph.”

Gone Too Soon was the ninth single taken from Jackson’s 90s smash album Dangerous. The song was dedicated to Ryan White, a young victim of AIDS whom Jackson befriended prior to his death. Jackson himself performed the song at the ball for former President Bill Clinton’s first inauguration on January 20, 1993, where he highlighted the importance of AIDS research. The track was also on the compilation album, Diana Princess of Wales Tribute, released by Sony in December 1997.

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