by Roger Friedman, Showbiz
When they edit together the three hour “Motown 60” for CBS (to air in April) it will have some brilliant moments and some headscratchers.
Just about completely missing from the show is anything about the Jackson 5 or Michael Jackson. I found it stunning that there was no nod to Michael’s Moonwalk from the 1983 “Motown 25” show. It felt like the producers of tonight’s show– taped at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles– missed a poignant opportunity to feature the Jacksons (Jermaine, Marlon, Jackie, Tito) as adults. One can only surmise that with the current Michael documentary airing soon on HBO, CBS wanted nothing to do with him. At least Michael’s face was shown in the In Memoriam section.
There were many other glaringly weird things going on at the show, but let’s concentrate on the good stuff. Stevie Wonder and Smokey Robinson demonstrated why they are premiere artists. The whole show could have been about them and it would be fine. Diana Ross was in fine voice but they will have to cut her fawning over Berry Gordy, which was surreal.
A surprise blast from the past was Thelma Houston, who kind of stole the show singing her massive 1977 hit “Don’t Leave Me This Way.” You will want to see that.