Michael Jackson’s Cirque Du Soleil Show ‘IMMORTAL World Tour’: Idolator Review

Jan 29th, 2012 // 6 Comments

It was clear even before Friday night’s performance of Michael Jackson’s Cirque Du Soleil spectacular, The IMMORTAL World Tour (playing three nights at LA’s Staples Center) began that this would be a night dedicated to celebrating the glory of Michael’s legacy: we saw so many little kids in fedoras moonwalking in the lobby to even count. And Jackson’s presence, whether seen on screen as a little boy or in footage from his legendary videos, consistently drew an ecstatic response from the crowd. As a memorial to the King Of Pop, the show totally worked; as a Cirque Du Soleil show, it came up pretty flat.

There were a few memorable sequences that stood out. Dancers stuffed inside a giant diamond glove and pair of loafers (with white socks!) was a fun, creative way to play with MJ’s iconic accessories. The “Dancing Machine” segment took a step away from referencing Jackson and instead turned its performers into abstract grooving machinery. And the high-flying “Human Nature” performance was particularly beautiful: aerialists flew high above the stage in the dark, with only the color-changing blinking lights on their full body suits illuminated.

But ultimately, I was baffled at the lack of ambition typically found in Cirque Du Soleil’s shows. Many segments relied heavily on dancing (in most cases, recreating Jackson’s iconic choreography) and neglected to evolve into something extraordinary. The numbers for “Thriller” and “Smooth Criminal” became nothing more than just a dance revue with trapeze artists haphazardly thrown in, with no surprising, fantastical element added. “I’ll Be There” mostly consisted of the cast stepping left to right while holding glowing hearts. There was no “wow” factor or the feeling of being blown away by what you’re watching.

Other issues I couldn’t help but feel annoyed by: Bubbles the chimp, Michael’s primate friend, makes an appearance early on, and continues to pop up, at one point as a DJ. (What?!) The costume design for “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’” made the performers look like dancing sea monkeys. Segments often start and end abruptly, without flowing into the next. And you’d think a hit as big as ”Billie Jean” would warrant its own number; instead, the song was trapped inside a mash-up that included “Can You Feel It”, “Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough”, and “Black Or White”. (And though the LED-light adorned tracksuits are visually stimulating, when did MJ ever wear a tracksuit?)

IMMORTAL is a must-see for die-hard fans of the pop star, since its main reason for existing appears to be to tribute his legacy. But if your main desire is the unparalleled spectacle of a Cirque Du Soleil show, take a trip to Vegas and see The Beatles’ Love, or any number of the Canadian troupe’s other shows on the strip. There’s more mesmerizing productions out there.

Whether or not you’re blown away or disappointed by the “cirque” part of the show, the experience is entirely worth it just to hear Michael’s voice fill a stadium. It’s one thing to listen to the King of Pop’s songs on your iPod or in your car. But, oh, how glorious it was to hear his studio recordings played on such an incredible sound system. It was like he was there in person. I suppose this show is the next best thing.

Did you catch The IMMORTAL World Tour yet? Tell us your thoughts on the show in the comments, or on Facebook, Twitter.

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  1. Cirque d’ S’s MJ: the great acrobatics of the Cirque team was obfuscated by all the large screens behind the stage showing multiple views of waywayway too much going on + this was about the LOUDEST musical event I’ve attended – ever. I sat with my fingers in my ears as my clothes actually vibrated, my hair (both of them) waved in the musical breeze, and my headache took on monumental proportions. What were young mothers thinking with their children sitting in their laps and hearing unprotected from the onslaught? It receives a generous “C”…and very costly tickets. And “Bubbles” scampering around was truly creepy.

  2. amy

    I thought it was great and I’ve seen pretty much every Vegas Cirque there is.I went mainly based on the youtube trailer for the show and I very much wanted to see the performers dancing.I agree that Human Nature was very beautiful but I wasn’t disappointed with Thriller.Bubbles running around may have been a little “creepy” but not as creepy as a giant man baby running around like in Mystere,its kind of a cirque thing to include odd circus style to it.Not as creepy as I find clowns either lol.I also thought the music “smash” was very fun and a great finale, we were dancing in our section!

  3. elena

    I thought it was a great tribute to Michael, but I was really expecting a LOT more out of Billie Jean and they didn’t do much with this song. I thought I would be blown away and I wasn’t .

  4. Suzy

    Went to the Beatles show and thought it was cool, though I do prefer and loved Paul Mc Cartney when he branched out with Wings.

    However, for sheer exciting atmosphere, oomph, etc, I much preferred ‘Immortal’… and this is coming from someone who was just a casual fan of MJ. There are many non-”die-hard” fans that went to this show and enjoyed it, so don’t think that really matters in the end. Yea, seeing all the children just reminded me of the sheer scope of MJ’s reach. He is the only artist in history that I can think of who captured audiences from the ages of 2 to 82 … that, in itself is something special.

    By the way, I think one is better going to any show, etc, without putting expectations too high…”expecting to be blown away” is understandable when it comes to Michael Jackson, I suppose, but perhaps we should keep in mind that it is not a show that the great man, himself was actually, (physically) involved in…had a hand in creating. I went while remembering that it was just that – a tribute show to his great legacy…To the most ‘Successful l Entertainer of All Time ’… and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

    Hats off to all of those who worked hard to bring this show to fruition :>)

  5. shauna

    i will say that it was the greatest thing in the world i have never been to anything live all i can say is omg!!!!! i was on the floor by the stage and i got one of the guys attention and he winked at me it was the coolest thing ever, and i wish i could meet him, and the girl that was on the pole, i give her the MOST props, she def made it worth wild to watch…the most amazing things in life and i got to experience one of them

  6. Juney7

    Immortal was wonderful, terrific, a perfect blend of Michael’s artistry with the larger than life circus atmosphere that he loved. He saw many Cirque shows and always wanted to be part of Cirque. The sound was great, the Cirque artists really give it their all. As for shortages in some versions of Michael’s songs, this show is being permanently housed in Vegas at Mandalay Bay in 2013, so by then will have any kinks worked out in song selection. It must be a logistical nightmare to carry this type of show to all parts of the US and soon the world so Michael’s fans and supporters can share in his legacy. Thank you to the Estate and to Cirque for such a large undertaking. Michael must be remembered for the great artist he was; his songs which carried the message of social justice and humanity must be preserved for generations beyond us; it’s great to see the youngsters dancing in the aisles; a big thank you to everyone involved in the production. I wish the estate would release ALL Michael’s tours on DVD/BlueRay; hopefully not too far in the future.

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