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Published: Friday, 10/9/2009

Aussie skit in blackface outrages Connick


An Australian variety show host has apologized for a skit in which singers parodying the Jackson Five performed in blackface.

American singer and actor Harry Connick, Jr., who was serving as a guest judge on Wednesday's Hey Hey It's Saturday, was visibly shocked by the skit, in which four men with afro wigs and blackface sang and danced behind a Michael Jackson impersonator wearing white makeup.

Connick, 42, gave the performance a zero score and told them that if it had been done in the United States it would have been pulled off the air. He said he would not have appeared on the show if he had known in advance about the skit.

Blackface was a traditional trope of minstrel shows in the U.S. that dates to the 19th century. Whites playing stock black characters - usually offensive stereotypes meant to demean - rubbed coal, grease, or shoe polish on their faces. Such performances are not common in Australia.

Michael Jackson died June 25 at age 50.

Host Daryl Somers apologized to Connick at the end of the live show.

"I know that to your countrymen, that's an insult to have a blackface routine like that on the show, so I do apologize to you," Somers said.

Taylor Swift isn't ready for her fairy tale to end, so she's doing what any other savvy 19-year-old would do - continuing the story.

The country singer is announcing a second leg of her "Fearless" tour, which will launch in Australia in February. She'll also be playing 37 shows in 29 cities throughout the United States and Canada, including March 26 and 27 in Detroit and March 28 in Cincinnati.

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