MANILA, Philippines – The Cebu dancing inmates are taking YouTube by storm once again with the video of their performance of Michael Jackson’s “This Is It” routines.
The “Dancing Inmates - Michael Jackson's This Is It” video, which was uploaded by SonyPicturesDVD on January 22, already has 602,596 views and 2,688 comments.
The video shows the dancing inmates from the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center (CPDRC) doing the moves of Jackson’s routines the “Drill” and “They Don’t Care About Us” at the maximum security prison.
They were joined in the performance by Jackson’s long-time choreographer Travis Payne and dancers Daniel Celebre and Dres Reid.
Payne and the dancers were the ones who taught the prisoners the routines last week. Their performance was taped last Tuesday.
The routines were choreographed for Jackson’s “This Is It” final curtain call tour. The video featuring the dancing inmates is part of the worldwide launch of the “This Is It” DVD on Tuesday (January 26).
The Cebu dancing inmates first gained worldwide fame when their performance of Jackson’s “Thriller” was posted on YouTube on July 17, 2007.
The “‘Thriller’ (original upload)” has had 37,591,037 views and 72,650 comments.
Payne shared with ABS-CBN News that Jackson himself was delighted by the dancing inmates’ “Thriller” performance.
“Michael saw the Cebu dancing inmates on YouTube and enjoyed them immensely. During rehearsals, we would watch and he would get tremendous joy,” he told ABS-CBN Correspondent and Anchor Karen Davila.
The dancing inmates even made it to the “Michael Jackson Opus,” which has more than 300 rare and previously unpublished photos approved and endorsed by Jackson himself and the estate of Michael Jackson.
The inmates’ “This Is It” performance clip has better video quality than the “Thiller” upload.
The prisoners were even wearing “This Is It” tops just like Payne, Celebre and Reid.
The inmates sported their orange pants while Payne and company donned black pants.
Model and actor Will Devaughn, a former Pinoy Big Brother (PBB) Celebrity Edition housemate, also participated in the performance as the flag bearer.
His entrance led to the inmates’ change in formation to a peace sign.
Payne led the performance which some users called “amazing” (from tinepedregosa), “hella nicely coordinated” (from imbored159) and “100/100 perfect” (from marky4153).
“Great job. I have a hard time watching anyone other than Michael performing his songs but this was great. Thanks,” said lovemj4evr.
Neomarked20 commented, “wow.. superbly done... ang galing!” while TheMjfan74 wrote: “Got goosebumps all over! Excellent job!”
“It is nice to know that the choreographer of Michael Jackson himself took an interest on teaching these inmates some dance moves,” wrote kalayaancomics.
RockerCHICK167, however, offered a different point of view: “If these are inmates, shouldn't they be suffering and be punished for the crimes they committed. They aren't in prison to have dance class.”
The global box office “This Is It” includes Jackson’s rehearsal footage until his untimely death on June 25, 2009 following a cardiac arrest. Report by Ma. Rosanna Mina, abs-cbnNEWS.com.