The recent allegations against the late Michael Jackson have led to questions about what happens to his legacy: Can we still listen to his music? Will the pop music canon be reworked? One aspect of the fallout that hasn’t been discussed is this: Michael Jackson impersonators — where do they go now?
The Kit Harington-hosted episode of SNL had an answer. An early, fairly surreal sketch took place on a cruise ship, his patrons — including Beck Bennett, Heidi Gardner, and Leslie Jones — were eagerly anticipating a Frank Sinatra impersonator. What they got was Harington dressed as the King of Pop.
Harington — and his band, the Rat Pack Five, which included Keenan Thompson as Dean Martin — swore they were playing the hits. But their rendition of “My Way” inexplicably bore the melody to “Billy Jean.” When Harington spoke of an imminent take on “Fly Me to the Moon,” he did a not bad moonwalk.
The soon-to-be-former Jon Snow didn’t get a lot of chances to show off his pipes, or his MJ singing voice. He did a formidable “Ooooh”-plus-crotch-jab for “Billy Jean,” but the majority of the sketch was Harington explaining that they were a Michael Jackson tribute band who realized no one wanted to see a Michael Jackson tribute band after the bombshells deployed by HBO’s Finding Neverland. So the Chairman of the Board is an easy seque, right?
It was a weird sketch in a weird show, one that proved that, even if there is not much life for Harington after Game of Thrones, at least he can indulge in his un-tapped weird side. Or he could front a Michael Jackson cover band.