The unprecedented salute will include a 3-D film clip the singer made for his hit “Earth Song” before his death on June 25. The video was to be included in his comeback concerts that were scheduled to begin in London in July 2009.
Co-executive producer Ken Ehrlich said will be the first time an awards show will feature 3-D.
Usher, Celine Dion, Carrie Underwood, Jennifer Hudson and Smokey Robinson will perform alongside the footage. Jackson will also be honored with a lifetime achievement award during the show.
Last year, Grammy producers wanted Jackson to participate in the telecast to mark the 25th anniversary of “Thriller.” Ehrlich had presented several ideas for performers, including Justin Timberlake and Usher, all of which excited Jackson. But in the end, he declined the show’s invitation.
“He just wasn’t ready for it,” Ehrlich said.
Ehrlich, who produced the televised memorial to Jackson last year, was with the singer the night before he died — and that’s when he first saw the 3-D clip of “Earth Song,” a call to action about the destruction of nature and animals by man.
“There are these incredible images of the beauties of nature, and then they are seen through the eyes of a little girl, and that girl falls asleep and when she wakes up, she is witness to the destruction of nature,” said Ehrlich. “It’s all about questioning what our values are.”
While a part of the clip was shown in the recent movie documentary “This Is It,” Ehrlich says the Grammys will show the full piece in 3-D. He said TV viewers will need 3-D glasses to experience the full effect of the clip.