He tackled a tough one, delivering a haunting performance of Smokey Robinson’s “Who’s Lovin’ You,” a song made famous by the Jackson 5, before a world stage of more than one billion viewers during this afternoon’s Michael Jackson memorial service at Los Angeles’ Staples Center. But who was that dapper-looking 12-year-old who thanked Jackson “for blessing me and every single individual on this Earth with his amazing music?”
It was Shaheen Jafargholi, a Welsh-Iranian singer from Swansea, Wales, who caught Jackson’s eye during the season three finals of the U.K. television hit Britain’s Got Talent. (Check out photos from the Jackson memorial here.) The young singer took the stage alongside big names like Stevie Wonder, Jennifer Hudson, Usher and Mariah Carey. His performance today was a repeat of one he gave during the TV show, and according to reports, Jackson caught a clip of Jafargholi’s cover on YouTube. Jackson later asked the young performer to join him during his 50-gig stint at London’s O2 Arena, a spate of comeback shows that was slated to launch July 13th.
Jafargholi, who was defeated by a dance group and the now infamous Susan Boyle during the talent series, was personally approached by Jackson’s family to sing at the memorial service, according to reports, because they were aware of how impressed Jackson was with his performance.
Before his rise to prominence on Britain’s Got Talent, Jafargholi appeared in a couple of television shows on U.K. television, and even toured on stage as a young Michael Jackson in “Thriller — Live.”
Wondering who sang “Heal the World” at the end of the ceremony? Check out Judith Hill: “Heal the World” Singer From Jackson Memorial Revealed.”