This year's Grammy Awards will reflect the loss of a key component in the music industry…the King of Pop. Producer Ken Ehrlich told ET's Kevin Frazier all about the Michael Jackson tribute that show organizers have up their sleeves.
Inspiration for the tribute blossomed from a meeting between Ken and Michael just one day prior to the pop star's untimely death. During their encounter, Ken was treated to sneak peek at the 3D spectacle Michael had planned for "Earth Song" during his highly-anticipated tour. The singer told Ken that "was the most important…piece in the whole show because of the message of 'Earth Song'; the message about the environment and the message about preserving the environment."
Ken said, "When we knew that everybody was kind of looking to see what the Grammy's were going to do about Michael Jackson…it really came down to what I felt and what we all felt Michael would have wanted. Michael would have wanted us to do 'Earth Song' and that's what we're doing in the show."
During another meeting between the two parties before last year's Grammys, Michael even hinted that he wasn't prepared to perform in the 2009 show, but might be interested in taking the stage the 2010 show. Ken said, "This year we're doing the Grammys, but we're doing them about Michael, not with Michael."
In planning this tribute, Ken has consciously kept Michael's wishes in mind. He explained, "The people that we picked to perform this 3D version of 'Earth Song' are the people that I really feel Michael would have wanted to be there—Celine Dion, who was always one of Michael's favorites. Carrie Underwood, who we talked about the night that I met with him. Usher, who we know he loved. Smokey [Robinson], his [mentor]. And Jennifer Hudson, who performed at the memorial service that we did, but was also someone that Michael really admired a lot."
Though Ken wants to keep many of the other performances under wraps, Kevin was able to pry some details out of him. "We've kind of become known for these great duets and combinations that we do and we're not going to disappoint this year," teased Ken. "I can tell you that within the last hour, a Taylor Swift combination came together that's really kind of unique and pretty interesting. I think you'll see Lady Gaga performing with someone. Maxwell, there's a pretty great performance that includes an homage to Teddy Pendergrass that will feature another artist that's pretty special."
Target will be distributing 15 million 3D glasses for free, beginning Tuesday, January 26. The 52nd Annual Grammy Awards air January 31 on CBS.