It was the kind of mind-blowing multi-media magic trick that would probably have made Michael Jackson giggle into his jewel-encrusted glove as he hid in the back of the room under a face-shrouding fedora.
Taking his place alongside the iconic Coachella Tupac, MJ was back to life (well, hologramically anyway) at Sunday night's (May 18) Billboard Music Awards, opening the show by beaming to the stage for a beyond-the-grave performance of the electro dance anthem "Slave to the Rhythm" from his just-released posthumous Xscape album.
The bit began with a troupe of "Aliens"-like commandos in black shiny space suits doing some MJ-style popping and locking as the sound of helicopters blasted the crowd at the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas. And when the curtain was raised there was... well, a hologram of a guy who looked (sort of) like Jackson.
Seated on a gilded throne, the HoloMJ sang the song's hard-edge vocals as live dancers moved alongside him center stage. The effect was, to be honest, a bit weird, but also kind of exciting and a pretty mind-blowing. The moves were all right, down to the moonwalk, copious crotch grabs and shoe tip balancing.
Yeah, it was impressive, but what did the folks at home (and in the room) think?
Before she deleted it, Nicki Minaj had posted a photo of MJ with the word "ALLEGEDLY" written across it as a response to his "performance."
THE "MICHAEL JACKSON" HOLOGRAM LOOKED LIKE AN UGLY WAX FIGURE OF HIM. THE FANS KNOW AND CAN TELL WHEN ITS NOT HIM. WHAT THE HELL.— Gwynne Furches (@GwynneFurches) May 19, 2014
very very very disappointed in the michael jackson "hologram" or whatever it was.— sloth queen ❁ (@JessalovesMJ) May 19, 2014
But others disagreed. #Rad
This hologram just made me miss Michael Jackson More than ever :( I love you Michael always. ♡ pic.twitter.com/chXoTza7QO— WE ARE ONE (@210lauramary) May 19, 2014