Awards Season Music

The Michael Jackson Hologram at the Billboard Music Awards Was A Disaster

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I won’t bother recapping the 2014 Billboard Music Awards because, frankly, they don’t matter much.

I figure the only reason why most people were watching was because of the much-hyped Michael Jackson “experience”, as it was promoted by ABC. It turns out the “experience” was a holographic image of Michael Jackson performing “Slave to the Rhythm”, a song from the recently released posthumous album XSCAPE. In the run-up to the performance, promoters spoke about the cutting edge technology employed to create this, and it would be like nothing we’ve ever seen.

I wish we hadn’t seen it.

Maybe I was expecting too much, but I was at least expecting the hologram to look like Michael Jackson. Whoever designed MJ’s face did a terrible job; I’ve seen better mock-ups at Madame Tussaud’s, and they had to use wax, not digital technology that should’ve made recreating Jackson effortless. The image performing looked like one of those MJ impersonators you would see on Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles. In fact, they probably would’ve made for a better show, since that hologram image was wobbly for most of the performance. It completely took me out of it, and brought attention to the fact it was a hologram, which effectively defeated the purpose of this gimmick. It was supposed to feel real, but it never did, even with all of the impressive dancing.

Hologram performances have been done before. In 2007, Celine Dion performed “If I Could Dream” with Elvis Presley, and to this day, I still can’t figure out how it was done. Then there was the iconic Tupac appearance at Coachella a few years back. What made those performances special was seeing the actual image live. If the Estate (I’m assuming they were behind this) were able to re-create an actual Michael Jackson singing the song, that would’ve  been “cutting edge”. That would’ve been something to see.

Instead, what we saw last night was a creepy, pale (no pun intended) imitation of the greatest performer of our lifetime. It was meant, ostensibly, to honor Michael, but it failed. All it did was remind us of just how desperate people will go to make a buck, even if it makes a farce of one’s legacy.

If you are looking for a real Michael Jackson experience, please go to YouTube, type in “Michael Jackson live” and hit Enter. Trust me, that is some truly amazing stuff. In my opinion, this wasn’t, at all.

If you want, you can check out the performance below and share your thoughts:

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