You would think that the academy would have learned after leaving Brad Renfro out a couple of years ago. Instead they follow it up with a bigger and better blunder. Farrah, Bea, Ricardo, Henry Gibson, et al deserved a moment of respect. Leave out one corny monologue and give these people their 5 second goodbyes. They blew it. Would be nice to admit it and show a little class.
Michael really needs no defending. His movie roles were few and far between, but so much of his music alone has contributed to film soundtracks. Many of his videos were "mini movies" produced or directed by some of the biggest names in the biz. His inclusion has no bearing on anyones exclusion.
I missed the beginning of the show due to some cable dispute with ABC in my area, but what I did catch was indeed a bit slow. I attributed it to jumping in midway and missing even more than I needed to miss by not learning until more than an hour in that ABC had been restored in my area. However, from reading the comments, perhaps I hadn't missed too much.