Ne-Yo Covers Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal”: Watch The ‘Bad’ Tribute

Carl Williott | August 31, 2012 7:23 am

Ne-Y0, Swizz Beats, Melania Fiona and more converged on New York’s Gotham Hall on August 30 to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Michael Jackson‘s legendary album Bad. Under the circumstances, you knew nobody would roll out an overwrought reworking of an MJ classic. So Ne-Yo gave a serviceable cover of “Smooth Criminal,” which you can watch above. He was decked out in the white suit and fedora made famous in the iconic video, and though his voice sounded a tad thin, it made us forget ever so briefly about that Alien Ant Farm cover. See how Ne-Yo did on “The Way You Make Me Feel” after the jump.

Ne-Yo fared much better on “The Way You Make Me Feel.” It allowed him to drop the hard-edged swagger and just belt out the pop gem. But again, we don’t know if it was the band or the unenthusiastic backing vocals, but the overall spectacle felt a little limp. But here it wasn’t Ne-Yo’s fault.

Ne-Yo, “The Way You Make Me Feel”

Though Bad‘s 25th anniversary is today (Aug. 31), the celebration will continue all year. The four-disc edition Bad 25 is out September 17, and it includes a Bad tour concert DVD, new remixes and unreleased recordings. Spike Lee’s documentary about the making of the original album and its lasting impact will air on ABC on Thanksgiving (Nov. 22). And, of course, you could always listen to the original LP and watch the nine videos it spawned.

How did Ne-Yo do covering the King of Pop? Let us know in the comments below, or on Facebook and Twitter.