Usher, classy brilliant vocal stylist he is, does a terrific version of Gone Too Soon
Jermaine, reminding us that the brothers are phenomenally talented vocalists in their own right, does Smile good.
What I liked about both of these performances was that two terrific vocalists took pretty maudlin, cloying songs and gave them emotionally understated treatments. That works so well for me, because generally, I’m just not a fan of these kinds of songs. Neither would make any list of my favorite MJ vocal performances.
That said, I think Usher and Jermaine reminded us with these performances that Mike’s gift with this kind of material – going all the way back to Ben — lies in his delicate, light approach that beautifully undercuts the melodrama built into the song’s structure. Both performances felt lived in, genuine, and beautiful.