It only took him two hours to make it onstage to announce his "swansong" performances in London's O2. Probably because he was reportedly probed for over four and a half hours by an independent party (some insurance thing to see if he would make it through ten gig dates). Then he shaped about for two and a half minutes, saying "This is really it," repeatedly. Just in case people could read the banner on the podium. Then "When I say 'This Is It' I really mean this is it… This is the final... the final curtain call, okay - and I will see you in July. I love you - I really do, you have to know that. I love you so much - really. From the bottom of my heart." And his 2,500 assembled fans went wild. I even felt an alien stirring of excitement myself, until the news announcer bluntly said something along the lines of "well, there are question marks over if the ten dates will even take place". All that probing, potentially for nothing. Well, he's used to it.

Something else which isn't exactly set in stone is whether these are Michael Jackson's last dates ever worldwide, or just in London? How and ever, the July concerts will be his first major live performances since 1997 so tickets will hurtle themselves out the door.

If you don't mind your eyes watering, for various reasons; here are some pictures from yesterday's announcement. Even Dermot O'Leary managed to look sincerely moved at having to hug the king of pop *whispers* and the odd scandal.