On the deluxe addition of Justin Bieber’s new album, Believe, he ends with a song that shows the influence of Michael Jackson in more ways than one. Bieber’s “Maria” – inspired by Mariah Yeater, the fan who accused Bieber of fathering her child last year – is the young pop star’s own “Billie Jean,” the colossal Thriller hit about the Jackson brothers’ own groupie pregnancy rumors.

Past the shared subject matter and impressive falsetto of both singers, however, is the fact that Bieber has tried to emulate Jackson in a number of ways, from his covers and his dance moves to a little MJ-esque imagery in his music videos. So it came as little surprise last week when Bieber name-checked the King of Pop on multiple occasions during a YouTube interview special.

Bieber said his upcoming tour will channel MJ’s live extravaganzas, citing Jackson’s “magician-type stuff like appearing and disappearing.”

Speaking more broadly, Bieber called Jackson his “inspiration when it comes to music.”

“After performing on the Today Show, [producer] Rodney Jerkins was there and said, ‘I had a really close relationship with Michael [Jackson] and I think he would have been proud of you’,” Bieber said. “That was really good to hear.”

Jackson passed away three years ago today, June 25th, at the age of 50.

 – Jillian Mapes & Annie Reuter, CBS Local


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