In interview, Kenny Wizz presents as very much the same, quiet, unassuming mega-star persona that MJ himself exuded in his life-time. But with further probing, it is very apparent that Kenny is clearly a genuine individual devoted to perpetuating the gift of music and joy of performing that MJ brought to us all. Far from simply ‘cashing in’ on Michael Jackson’s legacy, Kenny Wizz aims to inspire the next generation of performers and keep everything that was special about MJ ‘alive’. Kenny performed his MJ tribute show in Las Vegas for many years prior to the legend’s passing. MJ’s own siblings have attended Kenny’s tribute shows and left, giving him their blessing for the show’s authenticity of performance and intention.
As a young performer on the streets of LA, Kenny quickly became compared to MJ in the late 80’s & early 90’s, perfecting the imitation of Michael’s signature moves and sound. Over time, this led to Kenny creating a tribute show to MJ as a ‘living legend’ which became highly successful as an accessible alternative for thousands of MJ fans. An uncanny physical resemblance to Michael in the days of the ‘Thriller’ album was progressively replaced with prosthetic and professional theatrical make-up effects to conjure the ever-changing image of the self-proclaimed KING OF POP.
Upon Michael’s untimely death in 2009, Kenny respectfully retired his tribute show from its long-run in Vegas. After a 12-month hiatus Kenny responded to thunderous calls for him to return to the stage as MJ to appease the hundreds of thousands of worldwide fans who simply could not let MJ ‘go’ . This is how our DanceLife staff member, Michelle, saw the show in Sydney last Friday evening….
“Walking into the State theatre ushers wore one white sequined glove to get everybody in the mood. Great merchandise worn by excited fans.
When Kenny Wizz first hit the stage, visual impressions were mind blowing; my chin hit the ground and stayed there for a good five minutes! At first the crowd went quiet out of sheer shock at the striking resemblance to MJ. His build, mannerisms and general demeanor were incredibly similar.
The costuming for Kenny was amazing and very authentic!
Vocally Kenny was a little shaky to start. His voice was slightly deeper to Michael’s. He seemed to struggle a little with the songs that were higher like ‘Ben’. There were some very pitchy moments. He definitely settled in better four or five songs in. The best song vocally in the first half was ‘Man in the mirror’; He had the whole crowd on their feet! ‘The way you make me feel’ was also a big hit! Kenny ended the first half with a crowd pleasing ‘Black or White’. After a lap of the theater he did the famous wind blowing machine moment then ripped his shirt off. The crowd went wild and he revealed a gorgeous torso but one that definitely didn’t belong to Michael!
I was slightly unimpressed with the back-up dancers and the dynamics of the group. There were four females and 2 males. The males were fabulous – not enough! It felt like there needed to be more male dancers and fewer females to match an MJ authentic line-up. The girls did ok, but were weak as a group. The choreography for them was slightly cheesy and so were the costumes. Kenny could have easily done it all alone or just with the guys!
Kenny’s dancing and choreography was great. It wasn’t quite as sharp as MJ’s but let’s face it they are pretty big shoes to fill and he did an amazing job. He had all the essentials in each song like ‘the lean’ in ‘Smooth criminal’, the wind machine blowing around the white shirt in ‘Black or White’.
Everyone, including the crowd and Kenny relaxed in the second half. ‘Bad’ was the best vocal performance in the second half and ‘Beat It’ created incredible energy and atmosphere in the theater.
The projection for ‘What about us’ was very touching. The band and back-up singers were incredibly talented and only added to the excitement to the show!
Kenny showed amazing showmanship and a genuine passion for MJ – the music the legend and the crowd. He made many trips round the theater and into the crowd, hugging fans and shaking hands. The crowd loved every second of his performance regardless of pitch-perfect delivery or not! Cheering, dancing and screaming ensued with ‘Michael’ or ‘Kenny’ – clearly the crowd could not decide which or who they were applauding the most!
Toward the end of the show Kenny shared some heart felt words that celebrated the life and legend that IS Michael Jackson; this led perfectly into ‘Heal the World’.
Kenny left the stage with fans screaming “more” and ‘Thriller‘.
He returned for an amazing encore performance of ‘Billy Jean’ with a huge dance break that gave the fans the long awaited moon walks they had been waiting for! He continued on with a beautiful tribute song ‘Gone too soon’ with the life of Mj showing on the screens behind him.
Finally the crowd got what they asked for and he gave an energetic ending to the night with ‘Thriller!’
All in all the show was well worth every cent! Once you stopped comparing him to Michael it was very easy to sit back and enjoy the show! It was the closest thing that most people were going to get to MJ and and every one was more than happy with what they got.
Interviewed audience members said… “This is sensational … Brilliant just Brilliant … Just loved every song”
If you saw the show, comment and let us know what you thought!!