With the possible exception of Madonna, Michael Jackson and Prince were the two biggest pop stars of the eighties. While they often battled for supremacy on the Billboard charts, there was never really any public indication that the two had beef or even considered themselves to be rivals. However, in this week’s Entertainment Weekly cover story on the upcoming release of This Is It, a quote from the late Michael Jackson provides us with our first hint that MJ was not only extremely competitive with the diminutive Minnesotan, but that he also feared that if he slacked off, none other than God himself would channel his best creative ideas through Prince.
As you’ve no doubt read countless times since MJ’s untimely death, he was very hands-on with every aspect of his planned This Is It tour, from choreography to song choices to the production design of the stage. The following excerpt from the article, which is not yet online, demonstrates how Michael Jackson may have been jealous of the (semi-recent) resurgence of Prince as a touring act, and how he wanted his show to be a spectacle that would make even the likes of Apollonia and Sheila E. jealous:
As the production got under way, it quickly became clear that Jackson’s creative ambitions for the concert were beyond anything he’d ever attempted. With the budget already past $24 million, Jackson told his team he wanted to recreate one of the world’s largest waterfalls on the stage. “I was ready to jump off the balcony of my office,” Phillips says. “We went and met with Michael, and Kenny said, ‘Michael, you’ve got to stop. We’ve got an incredible show, we don’t need any more vignettes.’ Michael said, ‘But Kenny, God channels this through me at night. I can’t sleep because I’m so super-charged.’ Kenny said, ‘But Michael, we have to finish. Can’t God take a vacation?’ Without missing a beat, Michael said, ‘You don’t understand — if I’m not there to receive these ideas, God might give them to Prince.’”
While this waterfall sounds spectacular, we think that Michael Jackson didn’t quite understand the source of Prince’s best ideas. After all, after seeing back-lit projections of Prince’s 20-foot-tall (long?) demon schlong at the 2007 Super Bowl, it’s pretty clear to us that Prince has been channeling a somewhat more demonic force all these years.