The King of Pop?

World-class Michael Jackson impersonator Navi takes our quiz

Interview, Music feature

Question one: Thriller is the best-selling album of all of time. What was Michael Jackson’s second-best-selling album?
Wait – you’ve got Bad and you’ve got Dangerous. I think Bad was slightly bigger than Dangerous.

Was Dangerous bigger than Bad? I know it was really close – one was 29 million and one was 28 million or something like that, wasn’t it?

No. It was 32 million and 30 million. Do not question The Quizmaster’s judgement, Navi.
Okay. Alright, so it was Dangerous. I got that one wrong.

You did, Navi, you did. Bow before The Quizmaster! Question two: what are the full names of Michael Jackson’s spawn?
You’ve got Michael Joseph Junior Jackson, Paris-Michael Katherine Jackson and Prince Michael Jackson the Second, or ‘Blanket’.

Correct. Have you foisted your feeble human genes upon the world, Navi?
No, I have no kids.

How do you feel about those names?
Well, I mean, Blanket I’m not sure about. I quite like the name Duvet, though, or Pillowcase. The thing with Jackson is that he was very much in his own world. To him, you know, that was normality. But they had a regular name as well. And they weren’t exactly going to go to a regular school where people would be, like, ‘What?’

Aesthetics are an illusion of human perception, Navi. You should be aware of this, as one who impersonates a plastic surgery addict. Did you do the same to your weak mortal flesh?
I have had surgery over the years, but I personally went for an era that was his most well-known one, with the curly hair from the HIStory tour. The funny thing is, he came back to that same look, with the ponytail down the side of the face, for the final concert. Do people know the changing faces of Madonna, or Bowie, or Elvis? No, they have this central image. Everyone wants to see Elvis in a white Vegas jumpsuit, so that’s the one that the impersonators always pick.

Question three: when did he first perform the moonwalk?
At the Motown 25 concert in 1983, when he did ‘Billie Jean’.

Correct. Question four: what was Michael Jackson advertising when his hair burst into flames?

Correct. Has your feeble human body ever succumbed to fire?
I wouldn’t put it past any venue, but not yet. I had a show where a monitor caught fire so they put a bag of ice on the amp. That wasn’t very reassuring.

You have been to several Michael Jackson concerts, Navi, but did you plan to go to his last ones?
Yeah, I had several tickets. I had the first, the birthday one, the final one…

The Quizmaster suspects that your weak human emotions made you keep the tickets instead of getting the money back.
I kept them, yeah. If you’re a Michael fan, do you keep the tickets of the biggest-selling comeback of all time, one that never happened? When the Twin Towers [were destroyed] people knew about it, but it didn’t affect everybody. When Michael Jackson passed away, it brought down Google. It just shows the scale of this man. And for me, it was personal and I wanted to keep the tickets.
Foolish mortal.

Question five: When was he born?
1958, August 29.

Correct. Has Jackson’s death spelled the end of your career, Navi? Is this the end of your life? Cry for The Quizmaster, Navi, let flow your puny human tears.
Let me put it in perspective: how many Elvis impersonators are still working? Elvis’s estate turned over US$33million [Dhs121million] last year; Michael’s estate has clocked a billion [Dhs3.7billion] since June.
As an impersonator I’ll be non-stop successful – but as the most well-known in the world, I can work until the day I decide to hang up my hat. The scale of this is phenomenal. I’m taking bookings for 2011. Michael Jackson’s shadow is more recognisable than some artists. Whether he’s alive or not, people still connect to the image, to the man – that’s how big he is.
Score: 4/5. The Quizmaster is Impressed.

The Quizmaster’s assistant: Dominic Beesley. Navi’s tribute to Michael Jackson is at Dubai Media City Amphitheatre on November 5, Dhs75-Dhs200. See

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