So Michael Jackson turns 50 today, and if you’ve ever wondered what Jacko might have looked like if he hadn’t turned himself into a space alien, wonder no longer. The highlight of a long, dishy retrospective on Jackson in the Daily Mail today is a mock-up of what the King of Pop would have looked like sans surgery, displayed next to the singer’s facial mutation du jour. The comparison is, to say the least, striking. The face on the left, drawn by an “expert,” looks, well, normal—much like any African-American male would on their 50th birthday. The organic Jackson is maybe most striking for the placid smile he wears, as if the decades of drug abuse, financial strain and sexual molestation accusations were a memory from someone else’s life. The real Jackson, on other hand, stares mournfully into the middle distance, his ski-jump nose practically poking through the computer screen.
Among the many sad revelations divulged by writer J. Randy Taraborrelli—who claims to have reported more on Jackson over the last 30 years than anyone else, and who has also written three best-selling books on the singer—is that Jackson spends much of his time “wandering” the streets of Las Vegas, his current home, often dressed in pajama bottoms and a tuxedo jacket; that he recently turned down a deal to do 30 concerts at London’s O2 arena at $1 million a pop; and that he may have purchased a home in Poughkeepsie(!) for $1 million. Maybe the most disturbing thing about the article, other than the photos, is Jackson’s growing senility: “I don’t know what I was thinking back then,” he says about his plastic surgery binge. “Everyone makes mistakes when they’re young, I guess. But I still look OK, don’t I? I mean, for 40?”