Nearly five years after his death, a virtual Michael Jackson took to the stage at the 2014 Billboard Music Awards and wowed his fans.
A remarkably life-like hologram of the King of Pop performed “Slave to the Rhythm,” a song from his second posthumously released album, “Xscape.”
Dressed in a white jacket with gold braid and red pants, Jackson’s hologram – along with backup dancers – sang and performed all his best-known dance moves on stage, including his signature moonwalk. Spectators in the audience clapped and cheered, and one woman could be seen wiping away tears.
— BillboardMusicAwards (@OfficialBBMAs) May 19, 2014
Social media was set ablaze. Some people appreciated seeing their idol again, even in this form, but others found it unsettling.
Here was some of the reaction on Twitter:
— Regina Rivera (@_ilovenayar) May 19, 2014
— Samantha Berdoff (@berddistheword) May 19, 2014
— Katie McMinn (@KatieCheyanne12) May 19, 2014
— ShwetaSays (@shwetajacob) May 19, 2014
On Facebook, many strong opinions were expressed soon after the performance.
“It’s kind of creepy. I didn’t like it. I thought it was bad way to honor him,” one poster wrote.
Wrote another: “That was way too realistic. I mean to the point where it was almost like he was always alive and was in hiding.”
Added another: “amazing…but really really creepy. i wonder how his kids felt about that”
The hologram’s appearance had been in some doubt. The owners of the technology – which was also used to bring slain rapper Tupac Shakur back to digital life for a 2012 performance at the Coachella music festival – had sought to block tonight’s performance based on alleged potential patent violations, but on Friday a judge denied the request and ruled that the awards could use Jackson’s hologram.