In what was described as both a cool and creepy performance — and an impressive technological feat, no less — a hologram of the late Michael Jackson moonwalked its way across the stage for four minutes in front of millions around the globe.
Jackson’s hologram performed Slave to the Rhythm, a song off the new posthumous Xscape album, which includes a handful of his unreleased music remixed by a group of today’s top producers.
Sunday night’s production for the Billboard Awards was the result of nearly six months of planning and demonstrated similar CGI technology seen during the Tupac’s performance at Coachella and Celine Deon’s duet with Elvis Presley.
In fact, there was a bit of drama just days before Sunday’s awards show after Hologram USA Inc. and Musion Das Hologram Ltd., two companies that own the rights to the CGI technology used for the Tupac hologram, filed an emergency suit claiming that a competitor was using its product for the hologram of Jackson, who passed away in 2009.
But a Las Vegas judge rejected the suit on Friday, paving the way for a show that featured Jackson’s hologram performing his classic moves with a group of live dancers. The reaction on Twitter was mostly positive, with many noting how oddly realistic the hologram looked:
Did anyone else just see that "Michael Jackson" performance idk whether to feel happy or uncomfortable
— lauren sanderson (@laurenthellama) May 19, 2014
OK, admittedly, the Michael Jackson performance is kinda freaking me out. Hologram? Robot? Impersonator? #BBMAs
— Ian Hill (@ianhillmedia) May 19, 2014
Michael Jackson's performance at the #BBMAs2014 was just WOW soooo amazing :)
— Justin Fehler (@JustinFehler) May 19, 2014
I'm in tears. That performance made me miss Michael Jackson so much more. Wish he was still alive.
— CaringKidrauhl (@CaringKidrauhl) May 19, 2014
That Hologram Bullshit is Disrespectful on So many Levels #GTFOWTBS
— a-team J (@jmooreseattle) May 19, 2014