By Nickie Wang
Michael Jackson is alive and kicking, at least through the impersonation of Kenny Wizz who is considered as one of the best Michael Jackson tribute artists in the world.
The King of Pop impersonator is in Manila doing a series of live performances at Resorts World Manila, a newly-opened prime destination for entertainment and casino enthusiasts. The complex is situated right across the Naia terminal 3.
Resorts World Manila is the largest casino complex in the Philippines located in Pasay’s Newport City, a tourism estate that houses Marriott Hotel and two other luxury hotels. It is co-owned by tycoon Andrew Tan and Genting Berhad Group of Malaysia.
We were invited to see Wizz’s show on Oct. 20, and the same act will be staged tonight at the very same venue, which is the bar right in the middle of the casino. The stage is a round five-foot high platform surrounded by a counter that serves liquors and non-alcoholic drinks.
When we arrived at the venue, the Russian act called St. Petersburg Sensation was already performing onstage. The group is composed of seven tall and slender women and two masculine men doing some pole, cabaret, and feather fan dances. With its perfectly-choreographed presentation, you would even think that you’re watching a show in Vegas or in Macau, not to mention that the place actually emanates with a world-class atmosphere.
After the Russian act, the emcee went around the bar and asked three people to come up onstage to do the moonwalk and the Thriller dance routines. Then after imitating these famous Michael Jackson’s signature moves, the emcee introduced the performer of the hour who came all the way from Las Vegas.
He kicked off the show with “Jam,” a song from Jackson ’s Dangerous album. Wearing a gold body suit over his black pants, Wizz began entertaining the audience and gamers with “Scream,” “Smooth Criminal” and “Human Nature.” He went down just on the side of the stage to change his outfit. Half a minute later, he went back in the middle of the platform to do the “Black and White” number. The crowd made a loud cheer when he did “Billy Jean” and a dance exhibition complete with crotch grabs and pelvic thrust acts to the tune of Mary J. Blige’s “Family Affair.” Wizz was performing alongside with local backup dancers.
Reliving the Michael Jackson experience, Wizz crooned and strutted with some of the artist’s classic hits like “Gone Too Soon,” “Beat It” and “Remember the Time.” He further energized the audience with a production number of “Thriller.” The live performance was similar to the famous music video featuring choreographed zombies performing with him. The tribute artist concluded the show with Jackson’s 1995 controversial composition “They Don’t Care About Us.”
The whole performance was close to having the real Michael Jackson in the flesh. Jackson and Wizz have striking similarities (both physically and vocally) that make the latter the best if not the perfect tribute artist to relive the music of the legendary King of Pop.
Wizz has starred in his tribute to Michael Jackson for over six years on the Strip in Las Vegas. Because of his resemblance with Jacks he even did some important parts in the movie This Is It, a concert film documenting Michael Jackson’s rehearsals of the concert series of the same name, both on stage and behind the scenes. Kenny Wizz is scheduled to stay in Manila for a series of shows until Oct. 29.