Last night's episode of The X Factor featured each of the remaining contestants performing their favorite Michael Jackson sons in honor of the late pop star. While American Idol has been doing "tribute" episodes forever, none of the honored stars have ever come to see the show and last night, all of Michael Jackson's kids and family members were in the audience to cheer on the X-Factor performances.
Prince Michael, 14, Paris, 13, and Prince Michael II, 9, who usually goes by the name "Blanket" were joined in the audience by their grandmother Katherine and Michael's brothers Jackie, Tito and Marlon.
Prince told the shows host Steve Jones, "We're very excited to be here," and Paris added that, "everyone was fantastic. I love this show very much."
During Melanie Amaro's performance of Michael's classic song "Earth Song," her mentor Simon Cowell applauded her rendition of the song.
"I couldn't think of a better way to pay tribute to one of the greatest artists in the world," said Cowell.
Amaro's performance also hit a soft spot with Katherine Jackson, who was crying throughout the song, "I don't miss an episode of this show. I am so very excited to be here," says Jackson's mother. She also added that X-Factor was her "favorite show."
It was clear that Amaro was the standout performance of the night, where she told People, "It was an honor. I feel as though he was there through them, and I felt that he was proud."
Marlon Jackson wanted to personally thank the show for dedicated this night to his late brother, "This is a special night," he said, "We want to thank 'The X Factor' for putting on this special tribute on behalf of our family."
The other contestants performed his hits like "PYT" as performed by Marcus Canty, Drew did a stripped down version of "Billie Jean," Rachel Crow tackled the Jackson 5's "Can You Feel It," Astro rapped over "Black or White," Josh Krajcik did his best attempt at "Dirty Diana" and Chris Rene brought his swagger to "I'll Be There."
Drew said having the Jackson family in the audience added extra pressure, "Performing in front of Michael Jackson's family is too crazy. I didn't find out until an hour before they were going to be there. Having them in the audience is way scary. It made me feel like I can't mess it up."
While Krajcik adds, "You don't want to not do justice to one of Michael's songs when they are right there watching. It's also an honor to have them there while you are performing. I hope they enjoyed it."