Man in the Mirror? Jackson hologram at met with mixed response
Kevin Winter/Billboard Awards 2014/Getty Image
Chalk it up as one of the biggest spoilers in music history: After teasing everyone with news that none other than the late King of Pop, Michael Jackson, would provide some form of ' world premiere experience ' at the 2014 Billboard Music Awards http://www.billboardmusicawards.com/%20 , the show's producers found their bubble unceremoniously popped. An unexpected lawsuit http://www.billboard.com/articles/events/bbma-2014/6077688/michael-jackson-to-unleash-world-premiere-experience-at-billboard revealed that the 'experience' would be, as some predicted, a hologram of the singer 'live' onstage, performing music from his posthumous recent release http://news.yahoo.com/billboard-awards-defend-michael-jackson-hologram-225904282--finance.html;_ylt=A0SO8zS2ZXlTxgwAmCVXNyoA;_ylu=X3oDMTByb3B2a242BHNlYwNzcgRwb3MDMwRjb2xvA2dxMQR2dGlkAw--?.tsrc=warhol XSCAPE .
Well, so much for the suspense. And, not that fans were expecting an actual resurrection of the superstar, or anything (however, in this day and age of increasingly bar-set-higher awards shows, who knows?). Still, the crowd Sunday night was notably silent when the hologram-ed Jackson was revealed, in energetic fine form performing XSCAPE 's 'Slave to the Rhythm' and delivering some of (the real) Jackson's best-known and loved dance moves, including a moonwalk.
Whether the lukewarm response was due to the absence of surprise, disapproval at yet another attempt to cash in on a beloved late star's legacy, or just plain lack of appreciation is unclear, but one thing is for sure: The show-stopper fell flat. The crowd clearly 'remembered the time,' to paraphrase Jackson's 1992 hit, but just weren't moved.
Viewers at home responded on social media with a slate of mixed response, ranging from somewhat humorous awe (guess a few people were surprised, after all!) to predictably tasteless jokes. Those who commented with serious disapproval seemed to fall mostly in the 'let the dead rest in peace' category:
That Michael Jackson performance was so incredibly depressing
- jamie verda (@jamieverda) May 19, 2014 https://twitter.com/jamieverda/statuses/468201344017641472
I understand Michael Jackson is King of Pop, but we should remember the good times he had rather than re-make them.
- Madeline (@MadelineFalls) May 19, 2014 https://twitter.com/MadelineFalls/statuses/468201335197007872
However, some fans did seem genuinely excited and/or moved by the tribute:
I wish Michael Jackson was still alive he's freaking amazing
- winchester (@pimpingnarry) May 19, 2014 https://twitter.com/pimpingnarry/statuses/468201329425674240
Can't explain the amazing feeling I had watching #BBMAs https://twitter.com/search?q=%23BBMAs&src=hash Michael Jackson. I'm speechless! It was like he was back.
- Stacey (@staceym311) May 19, 2014 https://twitter.com/staceym311/statuses/468201351738970112
The Jackson hologram is, of course, not the first time a late superstar has been honored in such a manner. In 2012, a hologram of rapper Tupac Shakur https://music.yahoo.com/video/tupac-hologram-performs-coachella-000000407.html;_ylt=A0SO8xzaZnlTcxgAwN9XNyoA;_ylu=X3oDMTByaDNhc2JxBHNlYwNzcgRwb3MDMQRjb2xvA2dxMQR2dGlkAw-- made waves at the Coachella Music Festival, drawing a similar mixed response from fans and critics alike. The 2014 Billboard Music Awards were aired live from Las Vegas on Sunday, May 18 at MGM's Grand Garden Arena.