The residents of Monaco have long been accustomed to seeing world’s most popular people on the streets of their small state. Every year, celebrities flock in the Principality: some cannot miss the glamorous race of the Monaco Grand Prix, others come here as part of the Monte-Carlo Television Festival, participate in prestigious gala evenings or just enjoy their time aboard luxury yachts.
Although the Principality was never regarded as the capital of music, for more than 10 years the country hosted one of the most remarkable events of the music industry. The most talented and popular musicians were honored at the annual ceremony of World Music Awards, created in 1989 by John Marinotti, one of the residents of Monaco, and held with the support of the Crown Prince, and later Prince of Monaco, Albert II.
For several years, the ceremony has been held at the Salle des Etoiles. The list of WMA winners includes Celine Dion, Andrea Bocelli, Mariah Carey, Ricky Martin and others.
However, one of the most remarkable ceremonies happened in 1996. What was so special about it?
Michael Jackson in Monaco
May 8, 1996. This year, the Principality hosts the 8th World Music Awards ceremony and the legendary personalities of the music industry are honored here. The event promises to be unforgettable for all those present, because Michael Jackson, Diana Ross and Celine Dion will came up on the stage of the Salle des Etoiles.
During the ceremony, which was broadcast in 100 countries in June of the same year, the icon of pop music took five awards! He became the best performer of the year in two music genres, and also received the award for his album Thriller, which would retain the title of the best-selling album of all time in the United States for many years.
The ceremony was marked by the presence of crowned heads. During the ceremony, Prince Albert’s younger sister, Princess Stephanie, noted Jackson’s talent, while the future ruler of Monaco presented to the American singer the award for his album Thriller, which reached more than 500 million sales.
In his speech, the future prince noted the “unflagging” support that Michael Jackson provides to charitable organizations, regardless of the race and religion of people who need help.
After the princely speech, the King of pop performed on stage singing Earth Song with children from Children All Stars. The American magazine Billboard gave a vivid description of the “emotional finale” of the performance. The audience was so amazed, that some guests, including Princess Stephanie, could not hold back tears.
It is worth saying that it was not Michael Jackson’s first visit to Monaco. In 1993, the singer had already won three WMA awards, but three years won in 5 nominations. The last WMA ceremony was held in the Principality in 2014. Prior to this, the event had been canceled twice and was held several times in other prestigious places: London, Los Angeles and Las Vegas. What, in your opinion, is the future of WMA: will Monaco host the event or has it lost its popularity ?