Michael Jackson’s triumphant chart return, new “Love Never Felt So Good” music video and MORE!

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The King of Pop returned to the charts in triumphant fashion today with the newly-released single “Love Never Felt So Good” debuting on at #20 the U.S. Billboard Hot 100.

“Love Never Felt So Good”, which is available in two versions (one a solo rendition and the other a duet with superstar Justin Timberlake) was released on the evening of May 1 after it premiered on the iHeartRadio Music Awards during a special dance tribute featuring Usher.

The track went on to sell more than 80,000 digital downloads in the three days following, while racking up 1.9 million U.S. streams, and an additional 2 million in other countries around the world, during that time. The track has achieved upwards of 7 million streams around the world to date.

Much of the track’s instantaneous success has to be attributed to Justin Timberlake, who has been involved in a series of major promotional moves including multiple tweets to his 32 million followers, Instagram posts and a 15-minute live-on-air U.S. radio interview with Ryan Seacrest focused specifically on Michael Jackson.

As a result of Timberlake’s involvement in the promotional campaign approximately 65,000 of the 80,000 digital downloads were attributed to the MJ and JT duet version of the track. Entering the charts at #20 means the track becomes the King of Pop’s equal-third-highest Hot 100 debut ever – bettered only by “You Are Not Alone” which debuted at #1 and “Scream” at #5. The song “Thriller” also debuted at #20.

The track, which has spent the majority of the past week in the Top 10 Songs chart on iTunes Stores all around the world, has also been strongly supported by Clear Channel-owned radio stations – some of which have the track spinning on the hour, every hour. It reach an audience of 34 million for the week ending May 6, from 358 stations, according to Nielsen BDS. It’s Jackson’s 49th Hot 100 hit (not counting his entries as part of the Jackson 5), and his 33rd top 20 Hot 100 hit.

To keep the momentum rolling for “Love Never Felt So Good” a music video will be released shortly featuring dancers performing mega-mix of Jackson’s iconic dance routines, with him, in a choreographed audio-visual work of art. Justin Timberlake is also said to be appearing in the video clip, which is being set to the duet version of the track. It is not clear as to whether Timberlake, who is currently on tour in Europe, will film fresh new content for the video, or whether footage from his previously-released videos will be incorporated.

Additionally, a deal between Chrysler Group LLC and Epic Records has been struck that will see “Love Never Felt So Good” featured in the upcoming summer advertising campaign to promote Jeep. (See the advert below)

“Jeep is an American icon as much as Michael Jackson is an American icon,” said Mr. Francois, who also serves as head of the Fiat brand. “Jeep is timeless as much as Michael Jackson is timeless.”

The campaign should help keep the single, and the ‘XSCAPE’ album from which it comes, in the limelight for an extended period. What’s funny is that in one track from the album Jackson sings about a Jeep. The only problem; Jackson’s Jeep gets a flat tyre and he has to pull over for help. The song is called “A Place With No Name”.

And to top it all off, it has just been announced that Michael Jackson will “create another slice of history at this year’s Billboard Music Awards.”

The Estate of Michael Jackson created the spot, which will present the superstar “like you’ve never seen him before,” during the awards ceremony on Sunday, May 18.

“On what already promises to be one of the year’s stand-out music events, the 2014 BBMAs raise the bar even higher with a world premiere experience featuring the late King of Pop,” reads the article. “It’s sure to be a thriller, but the finer details remains under lock-and-key.”

Speculation has already begun to swirl that extravagantly expensive state-of-the-art technology will be used to put Jackson centre-stage via 3D hologram projection – an controversial concept that, when discussed, draws a mixed reaction from Jackson’s fans around the world. Adding fuel to that rumour is the involvement in the Billboard event of choreographer and director Jamie King.

King is currently the director for both Michael Jackson Cirque du Soleil shows – ‘Immortal’ and ‘ONE’ – and it just so happens that ‘ONE’ currently use hologram technology during their theatre show at Mandalay Bay. The only issue is that the hologram in ‘ONE’ has been created using footage of a Jackson impersonator – choreographed especially for the show to interact and dance with the live onstage performers. That might fly somewhat under the radar when being incorporated into an intimate 90-minute theatre production, but when the special appearance is advertised as being “Michael Jackson” himself, to promote the new album of Michael Jackson songs, you’d better make sure it’s the Michael Jackson and not a rip-off.

The Billboard Music Awards are held at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on Sunday May 18, and will be broadcast live by ABC. All will be revealed then!

XO book layout imageDamien Shields is the author of the book Xscape Origins: The Songs & Stories Michael Jackson Left Behind about Michael Jackson’s artistry and creative process. Click here to order your copy today – also available via Amazon, Kindle, iBooks, and Google Play. Follow Damien on Facebook and Twitter to stay up-to-date with Michael Jackson-related news.

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