Michael Jackson's passing may have ended an era of pop, but for Wang Jie, it opened the curtain of a new stage.
The farmer-turned-Jackson impersonator does not sing, and his dance is hardly exciting, but thanks to fortuitous timing - and his similar look - he has drawn wide notice. And that includes CNN, AP and A Date with Luyu, known as China's Oprah Show.
Some Jackson fans, however, don't approve of him using the icon's persona to make money.
The controversy, though, did not stop him from joining an entertainment company to become a professional actor following Jackson's death.
And his agent, Zhang Hui, said that many producers of commercials and TV shows are waiting in line to snatch him up. Wang, meanwhile, clearly basks in the attention.
Jackson's impersonator Wang Jie during a rehersal. (Wang Jing)
"You cannot take photos until I put on the glasses," Wang said, while being made up for the Luyu show in Beijing recently. When he thought the makeup girl's foundation cream was not white enough, he insisted on using his own.
He brought along about 20 photos of Jackson for the makeup girl to use as reference. His bag contained custom-made clothes to mimic Jackson's garments in signature works such as Dangerous and Thriller.
"Jackson brings to me many things I could never imagine before," Wang said.
The villager from Henan province has practiced Jackson's dance moves by watching his videos since 2000, but at first, it just out of fun.
In 2003, he worked as a nightclub waiter. In suit and tie, he found himself looking similar to Jackson, which encouraged him to jump onto the nightclub's stage and become a regular performer.
In the Luyu show, Wang danced to the music of Dangerous.
In recent years, impersonators often do commercials for enterprises that cannot afford the real deal, and some of them then become famous. A young man mimicking singer Jay Chou even released his own song.
"In small cities, where real A-listers are rarely seen, the quasi-stars' performances are well received," said Tan Fei, an insider of the entertainment industry.Source: China Daily