As the story goes, American Idol contestant James Durbin is in hot water for apparently “making light” of a the 1984 Pepsi incident, which severely injured Michael Jackson. And by making light, he was clearly making a highly appropriate referential joke.
After performing on a stage full of pyrotechnics, Durbin quipped to host Ryan Seacrest, “I have a lot of hairspray in my hair to keep it from jumping around – so much so, the one thing I was worried about was having a ‘Pepsi moment’.”
Which, is enough to have websites wonder if it was in poor taste and send the remaining members of the Jackson family into a seething rage. A representative for Jackson’s family told TMZ: “We were shocked to see this. It’s nothing to make light of and everybody should be focusing on who was responsible for Michael’s death.”
The statement makes absolutely no sense. Focus on who was responsible for Michael’s death? What does that have to do with anything. The Pepsi moment, which happened in, ahem 1984!, was a complete debacle. Yes, Michael Jackson burned his scalp and that led to years of prescription pill addiction. Maybe the family should have pointed that out instead. It is certainly very sad. But if you can’t make fun of the Pepsi moment in MJ’s career, what else is off limits? His alleged pedophilia? The strange way his skin lost its pigment? When cracking wise about Michael Jackson, those are the three pillars all other jokes stand on.
Durbin subsequently defended his comments on Twitter, saying: “For anyone talkin…I said pepsi NOT MJ! I have no disrespect for Michael. I grew up singing his art. I guess youll take it how you want it… (sic)”
He then later added: “Talkin about MJs passing is too soon. Making a reference to an incident 25 years ago..not too soon. The stab was at pepsi people.”
But c’mon, how does the Michael Jackson estate or family members expect people to no longer make jokes, which Durbin’s was more of a funny situational quip than it was an inappropriate roasting of the deceased pop star, about Michael Jackson?
Ridiculous. Anyway, Durbin shouldn’t have to apologize or feel bad for trying to be funny, but he should feel bad about his outfit. Singing an Elton John song would’ve been a perfect opportunity to rock a Donald Duck costume, no?
Sadly, the video cuts out before the joke, which wasn’t even that good. If Durbin really wanted to go for the yucks, he should have been more specific about the Pepsi moment happening to Michael Jackson. It’s really more of a funny observation.