You have to feel a little sorry for longtime Michael Jackson impersonator Edward Moss.

He’s in the role he was born for – playing Jackson in E! Entertainment Television’s nightly re-enactment of the singer’s child-molestation trial.

And all Moss can do every night is sit quietly at the (re-created) defense table.

He doesn’t have the chance to sing, to dance – he can’t even imitate Jackson’s sad-little-girl voice, because the real Michael Jackson hasn’t testified yet.

That’s not to say Moss isn’t trying. Lord, is he trying.

He’s super-alert, watching every move in the (re-created) courtroom. He raises his eyebrows, smirks, darts his eyes from one person to another – he’s doing an entire performance barely moving his head.

It’s a challenge, Moss admits.

“I’m bringing his emotions through,” he said in an interview. “He’s proud and confident that he’s going to be proven innocent, and I’m trying to keep that presence.”

Since cameras are barred from the real courtroom, E! has built a set in Hollywood to look exactly like it, and hired look-alike actors to play the lawyers, witnesses and the judge.

Using actual trial transcripts, the actors re-enact a couple of minutes of the trial, legal analysts come on and discuss what the audience just saw, and then there’s another short re-enactment.

It’s a half-hour show, and so far there has been about eight minutes of re-enactment a day, though E! president Ted Harbert said in an interview it could run eventually as much as 15 minutes.

Since the program (and trial) began last week, some TV critics have not been kind, calling the re-enactment cheesy and boring.

But it seems to be getting better each day. And a re-enactment – with commentary following – is actually not a bad way of leading the viewer through key points in the trial.

One drawback is that the show re-enacts testimony from the previous day, a delay that’s necessary to give the actors time to prepare.

But it’s still fun to watch Moss. And if Michael Jackson eventually takes the witness stand…

Moss says he’s not focusing on that possibility; he’s just trying to do the best he can each day. Even if he doesn’t have a speaking part.


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