The talk of Sunday’s Billboard Music Awards wasn’t just Jennifer Lopez receiving its Icon Award, the first ever for a woman. Or that Imagine Dragons killed the stage and won five, while Justin Timberlake beat them and everyone else out by taking home seven. Or that John Legend ripped sappiness across the audience and TV with his love for wife Chrissy Teigan in his emotional two performances dedicated to her, including his chart topping hit “All of Me.” That was all good. But the one who stole the show wasn’t even alive.
Still the king of stage, Michael Jackson made an appearance with a hologrammed performance. Now of course this has been done before with Tupac. We saw it at Coachella 2012. And even when that was first witnessed, many felt a freaky, eerie kind of way about a dead man being made to look real and rap across the stage. But at the 2014 Billboard Awards, MJ grooved across the stage, accompanied by real life dancers that moved along with him as he sang the track “Slave to the Rhythm” from his new album Xscape.
Some in the audience were seen mimicking the king’s trademark, precise, robot moves and neck swerves. Others wiped tears from their eyes. Some were just plain creeped out. And a few were made to feel sad at yet another reminder that the King of Pop is dead.
But the performance didn’t come without issues. According to Rolling Stone, Billboard Award producers tried desperately to keep it a secret. But in the age of social media and loose lips, it was just a matter of time till the leak was known worldwide. And in pure MJ style, his performance came with its own controversy.
Attempting to sue Billboard for stealing their idea the company that acquired the one which originally created the famous Tupac hologram, had its lawsuit rejected after a judge cited their lack of evidence in showing that the patent was indeed violated by the Billboard Music Awards.
So the show went on. A known secret broadcast to the world, with the great MJ moonwalking across the stage bringing life to his death and a vivid real-like reminder that the greatest of all time will be remixed, made over, hologrammed, and rereleased throughout time – whether we like it or not.
For the best clip of the Michael Jackson performance go to Vibe.com.