Well, if you were watching TV on May 16,1983 the answer came in the the form of the Motown 25th Anniversary show. At the end of a Jackson 5 reunion set the rest of the family exited the stage and Michael launched into Billie Jean which, at the time, was the #1 song in America. The crowd came to its feet and Michael delivered a performance for the ages. Sure he was lip-synching but who cared? His charisma was undeniable and those dance moves were insane! During the bridge he debuted the "Moonwalk" and the crowd shrieked with delight. It would go on to become his signature move, the album Billie Jean came from (that would be "Thriller" if you've been hiding under a rock for the past 3 decades) would go on to become the best-selling album of all time and he would go on to become the undisputed biggest star in the world, based in no small part on his performance that night.
History in the making: Michael performs Billie Jean on Motown 25.