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Paris Jackson's memorial-service comments weren't planned, producer says

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The climactic moment of Tuesday’s Michael Jackson memorial service came when 11-year-old Paris Jackson stepped to the mic and spoke through tears: “Ever since I was born, daddy has been the best father you could ever imagine,” she said. “And I just want to say that I love him so much.”

Ken Erlich, the producer of the memorial, has told EW that the moment was in no way planned. “A lot of the show was not scripted,” he says. “A lot of the speakers spoke from their heart. We told them we’d be happy to work with them, but a lot of them — the Smokeys, the Berry Gordys, the people who knew Michael all his life — wanted to speak from the heart, on their own. When [the Paris moment] happened, I had asked the family to come up if they wanted to and say something. I thought, frankly, that we were going to get the brothers and the sisters. This went way beyond that, obviously.”

Erlich also reports that the moment when Usher left the stage to sing “Gone Too Soon” next to Jackson’s casket was similarly impromptu. “He did that on his own and it was wonderful,” says the producer. “All we had time to do with this show is create the sense of it. The rest of it happened because we allowed it to happen. We didn’t want to get in the way.”

You can read more about Jackson’s memorial in this week’s issue of EW, on stands Friday. (Reporting by Archana Ram)

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