Jackson Family Angered Over 'Idol' Contender James Durbin's Pepsi Reference: 'We Were Shocked'; Singer Says Let It Go
James Durbin isn’t apologizing for making a Michael Jackson reference on stage on “American Idol” on Wednesday night, despite it being characterized as insensitive by family patriarch Joe Jackson.
“Talkin about MJs passing is too soon. Making a reference to an incident that happen 25 years ago..not too soon. The stab was at pepsi people,” James Tweeted on Thursday night after his Michael-Pepsi incident remark on Wednesday night brought him some heat.
The whole brouhaha started when, following his fiery performance of Elton John’s “Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting” on “American Idol,” the singer shared his relief in his interview with Ryan Seacrest.
“I have a lot of hairspray in my hair to keep it up from jumping around so much, so the one thing I was worried about was having a Pepsi moment,” he said, referencing his performance’s on stage pyrotechnics, which included a piano lit up in flames.
James’ remark, a reference to Michael Jackson’s 1984 Pepsi commercial, during which the King of Pop’s hair caught on fire and left him hospitalized, inflamed the Jackson family.
“We were shocked to see this. It’s nothing to make light of and everybody should be focusing on who was responsible for Michael’s death,” read a statement from Joe Jackson, released to TMZ.
According to the website, which first reported the news of the family’s response, the Jackson family patriarch was angry that producers of the show also let the comment through during its second, West Coast airing.
James, however, Tweeted that he hopes people will let it go.
“For anyone talkin..I said pepsi NOT MJ! I have no disrespect for Michael. I grew up singing his art.I guess youll take it how you want it,” he added.
In related news, while the Jackson family understood the reference, at the time of James’ remark, it appeared that both show host Ryan Seacrest and Randy Jackson didn’t quite catch on to the meaning of the comment.
“The show’s brought to you by Coca-cola,” Ryan said, with a big laugh, following James’ mention of rival soft drink Pepsi.
“Coca-cola! Coca-cola,” judge Randy chimed in.
As if to further make his point, James, who suffers from autism and Tourettes, added, “No, a Coke moment is good.”
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