Bobby Brown will reunite with New Edition to perform a Jackson 5 medley at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles tonight (June 28) to open the BET Awards, part of an extended tribute to Michael Jackson. Other performers scheduled to honor Jackson with performances of his songs include Beyonce, Jamie Foxx, Ne-Yo and Maxwell, according to Ron Weisner, the show’s producer and a former Jackson representative.
“A day and a half ago, we had one show and today we have a whole other show,” Weisner told Billboard.com in an exclusive interview during a Sunday afternoon rehearsal. “Overnight, literally, it changed. The show was completely rewritten, we booked additional people — we’re trying to address a very unfortunate situation.”
The show, which airs on BET at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT, has been extended to three and a half hours, the guest list and media requests have swelled considerably and even the red carpet has been extended to accommodate the fans, press and celebrities.
“It’s something we had to deal with at the very last minute,” Weisner said “I wish we didn’t have to but its just a fact of life.”
Other artists previously schedule to perform include Jay-Z, Kanye West, Queen Latifah, Soulja Boy, Keri Hilson, Mary Mary, Fabolous, T-Pain, Keyshia Cole, Monica, Young Jeezy, Trey Songz and Tyrese. Also schedule to appear are the O’Jays, Alicia Keys, Wyclef Jean, Tyra Banks, Taraji P. Henderson, Idris Elba, Sherri Shepherd, Anthony Anderson, Paula Patton, Estelle, LeToya Luckett, Nichelle Nichols, Keke Palmer, Ray J, Snoop Dogg, Ving Rhames, Zoe Saldana and Marlon Wayans.
As for rumors that some or all of the Jackson family will appear on the broadcast, Weisner insists nothing has been confirmed. “As far as I know as of this moment, I have not heard from them,” he said. “There’s lots of rumors, but as we speak I have no knowledge of them being here. It might change. I had a conversation with Janet the other night, and I spoke to LaToya, but I don’t know if they’re up for being out in public.”