A Michael Jackson’s hologram is confirmed to appear at the 2014 Billboard Music Awards. After a short legal struggle with the technology’s creators, the green light has been given and fans of the deceased superstar will be able to watch the King of Pop perform on stage once more.
Jackson will be performing a song from his recently released second posthumous album, Xscape, entitled Slave to the Rhythm. The performance was reportedly supposed to be kept under the wraps until the award show aired, but the public was made aware of it following the aforementioned legal troubles surrounding the hologram.
Technology companies Musion Das Hologram Ltd. and Hologram USA Inc. filed an emergency lawsuit on May 15, 2014, in an attempt to block the hologram from being presented at the Billboard Music Awards. They claimed that one of their products was being used by a competitor without permission. The request was quickly rejected by the federal judge, on the basis that there was not enough proof that the companies patents would be infringed upon if the Michael Jackson hologram was to appear at the Billboard Music Awards.
Hologram USA obtained the rights to said patents after the original creators of the technology, Digital Domain, fell victim to bankruptcy. Digital Domain became famous for creating the legendary hologram of deceased rap icon Tupac Shakur, which appeared at the 2012 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Annual Festival. Shakur was accompanied by popular rappers Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre, in a performance that is still raved about to this day.
Other famous hologram-like performances include the one from Elvis Presley at the 2007 American Idol charity show Idol Gives Back. Presley was paired with Canadian superstar Celine Dion for duet of Presley’s hit song If I Can Dream. The virtual Presley was created by Core Media Group and thus was not an official hologram, but rather created using the process of rotoscoping (tracing someone or something from an original footage and essentially cutting and pasting the footage into a new sequence). Although the Presley that appeared on stage with Dion did look somewhat lifelike, Jackson’s performance will certainly be more convincing, as it is made with actual hologram technology. Incidentally, Hologram USA is said to be teaming up with Core Media group in order to produce an official Presley’s hologram in the future.
Although fans will certainly be ecstatic to see the King of Pop resurrected before their eyes at the Billboard Music Awards, the reality of watching an almost lifelike Jackson perform could quite possibly bring some tears along with the joy, as many still grieve for the deceased singer. Jackson was found dead on June 25, 2009, after suffering a cardiac arrest due to an overdose of the pharmaceuticals propofol and benzodiazepine. His personal physician, Conrad Murray, was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter concerning Jackson’s death. The outpouring of grief that followed the international superstar’s death was tremendous; with one billion people watching the live broadcast of entertainer’s funeral and thousands crowding around the Staple’s Center in a desperate attempt to pay their respects. Every year on the anniversary of Jackson’s death, people from all over the world arrive at his grave in Forest Lawn Memorial Park to lay flowers and gifts.
It is yet to be seen what kind of effect Michael Jackson’s hologram will have on the public, as it will appear at the Billboard Music Awards. However, even if the performance brings back some levels of grief, it will allow the fans to celebrate the King of Pop’s legacy and revel in the memories he is leaving even after death.
By Rebecca Grace