updated 07/08/2009 AT 2:00 PM ET
•originally published 07/08/2009 AT 2:55 PM ET
Carefully laid out as it was, Tuesday’s public memorial for Michael Jackson was indisputably stolen by the impromptu moment when the late pop star’s 11-year-old daughter, Paris Katherine Jackson, took to the stage of Los Angeles’s Staples Center and emotionally declared her love for her father.
Paris’s brief appearance “was not planned,” Ken Ehrlich, producer of the tribute, tells CNN. “A lot of the show was not scripted. Music was laid out, but most of the speakers really spoke from their heart – people who knew Michael well – and I think that’s what gave the show its heart.”
Barely able to eke out the words as she trembled in front of the microphone, the tearful child said before being enveloped in the embrace of her aunts and uncles, “Ever since I was born, Daddy has been the best father you could ever imagine. And I just want to say that I love him so much.”
Ehrlich also said that going into the tribute the Jackson family’s request had been that “we don’t want to do a TV show, we want to do a memorial service.” The producer added, “We hope you got the feeling you were watching a memorial service.”