Contempo music stars plant a big, scripted wet kiss on the career of the marvelous Janet Jackson as MTV goes to the head of the line to start hyping Miss Janet’s new album, “All for You,” due April 24 from Virgin Records. Besides a timely, off-color and hilarious routine from Jamie Foxx, “Icon” is a trophy-less tribute that says all it needs to say in the final four minutes when Jackson performs, flanked by dancers clad in all-white replicas of costumes from her most famous videos.
MTV says show will be an annual tribute to video-and-music superstars.
Perfs of Jackson hits range from the adequate (Destiny’s Child) to annoying (Buckcherry’s heavy metal rendition of “Nasty”) to a well-executed taped ‘N Sync. (Outkast opens the show with “Ms. Jackson,” the only non-Janet tune in the affair). Tepid show’s only spark beyond Jackson’s one song is a dance medley starring Mya, Usher and Pink. A fun segment, dancers handle well carbon copies of the moves from her videos — and as such it’s a nice turn that shows contemporary choreography can have some sort of afterlife. Best video of the night are segs of Jackson videos woven between shots from acts such as ‘N Sync and Britney Spears. Were spec shot in a courtroom, they’d be making a case for plagiarism.
One of Jackson’s longtime producers, Jimmy Jam, dominates the taped commentary, and he offers considerable insight into what makes Janet tick. She, too, proffers her own explanations of her life and we’re left with a confirmation of the impression that she’s sweet and talented.
Most important, from the hype machine perspective, “Icon” definitely whets her audience’s appetite for the new album, tour and more videos.