The Way It Made Me Feel – My Reaction to Michael Jackson’s Hologram At The Billboard Awards

I didn’t watch all of the Billboard Music Awards, I was just waiting for the Michael Jackson performance.

MJ Billboard gif
For a while now they’ve been promoting the Michael Jackson performance as something new, unprecedented, one of a kind and spectacular, so how could I not watch? My formative years were studded with similar moments, gathering around the TV to watch a new Michael Jackson moment make its debut. This time felt poignant and important, because MJ left us in 2009 and now, 5 years later there is new music that we’ve never heard before.

XSCAPE is Michael Jackson’s second album release of posthumous, previously unreleased music. This album focuses more on Michael’s vocals rather than including a bunch of collaborations. The tracks come from a range of Michael’s albums. “Love Never Felt So Good” was recorded in 1983 as a demo. “Chicago” was recorded in 1999 for the Invincible album. The song that was performed at the Billboard Music Awards, “Slave to the Rhythm,” was initially recorded in the time of Bad. I was so looking forward to seeing how they’d present this performance. Would it be everything the fans hoped it’d be?

You tell me. Here’s the video from last night’s performance (via WSHH).

My reaction in real time:

1 – Anxious anticipation. IT’S THE RETURN OF MICHAEL! A NEW SONG IS ABOUT TO DEBUT!

2 – Palpable excitement. MILITARY DANCERS! LIGHTS! THEATRICS!

3 – Confused deflation. This is it? This is the new hologram experience? It looks like the Dangerous album cover is coming to life. Is this a hologram, or something else? There’s a real person involved somehow, right?

MJ gif

4 – Sadness.

 

 

5 – Depression. After watching it, I really sat there for a while feeling some kind of way about the whole thing. I felt compelled to write something but before too long I just felt the need to go to bed. Meh.

From what I’ve read, a lot of hard work went into making the spectacle we all saw last night, according to Billboard “the result of nearly half a year of planning, choreography and filming, not to mention the development of new technology.” We can definitely see that a lot of money and technology went into this. Despite all of that, it felt off putting and ultimately kind of hollow to his fans. Jezebel called it weird. Buzzfeed called it creepy. There were many tweets that reflected those kinds of reactions.

About this whole hologram trend…I’m not really here for it. But I guess this is par for the course now, for our favorite musicians who have passed on. First Tupac, now Michael Jackson, and there have been a few others as well. I wonder who will get the hologram treatment next? For now I’m giving Xscape a listen via Spotify. The original version of Love Never Felt So Good is my jam, but I know I’m not the only one who thought it was weird to see it immediately in a car commercial. According to that Billboard article, “…music from “Xscape,”according to (LA) Reid, will also be featured in ads by Xperia, a line smartphones and tablets by Sony, Epic’s parent company. The label chair said the ads will air outside of the U.S.

I’m happy that there’s new music by one of my favorite artists and I love that Michael Jackson’s been trending on Twitter since the performance aired last night. It just made me feel a bit strange and sad, as a lifelong fan of his music. Obviously there will never be anything like the real thing, but I can’t help but feel that sense of realizing exactly what we’ve lost.

That’s just how I felt. How did you feel about last night’s hologram performance? Were you a fan, or not?

** gif images via Billboard.com.

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Comments

  1. I little sad…but there was a Tupac hologram at Coachella a couple of years back…not so new technology…I liked the Tupac better.

  2. Weird. Hate it. Im not with all this science crap. Not cool.

  3. L'oreal says:

    I don’t know how I feel yet. However, the reason Tupac’s was better was that he stood still for much of the performance. MJ’s hologram was moving and dancing. It was more demanding of technology.

  4. Candiew says:

    Nope, no, no-ish. Technology goes too far and here is where we don’t need it. Michael needs to stay in our memories, and his previous videos when he was at the top of his game. That was a farce, it was like watching a video game with poorly designed graphics.

    Noticed a few tears in the audience, this was too sad all the way around.

    What on earth does the family think, what is this going to do to his kids, especially Paris, who has had such a hard time over his death?

    Who needs the money that bad?

  5. Victoria says:

    While I found the technology interesting, I felt a bit creeped out MJ perform knowing he’s dead and what I was watching wasn’t really him. I can’t help but wonder how he would feel knowing how hard his family is working to make money off his legacy.

  6. Still or video pictures of MJ would have been much better.

    I guess we all feel sad when we realize that there is no more a Michael Jackson to actually dance, sing and smile at us.

    And with respect to the comments about his family making these shows – it is his Estate and not his brothers or Janet who administer these matters OR make $ from them. There would some legal document guiding how his work is to be distributed after his death and most probably, MJ himself would have laid out some rules for that.

    I don’t think that holograms are the wave of the future.

  7. I feel as though people responded a lot better to the tupac hologram. For me though, seeing the Michael hologram made me a bit sad. For a hot second I felt like that was actually him, then I remembered he’s not here. My sister and I were really really excited to see this performance, but I think we both felt more sadness than excitement during the actual performance. I think they did an excellent job as far as the actual hologram is concerned. His likeness, his dancing, everything was great. I think it may have just been a bit too real, at least for me.

  8. It’s sad to me because we can’t let the dead rest. They ran the man when he was alive. Now they running him while he’s dead. Just selfish. I did not watch just for this reason. We don’t respect life or death any more.

  9. No, it definitely wasn’t heart warming. I think it just made a lot of people miss him even more. I was always a BIG fan of MJ’s music myself, but I agree, that they should just let the dead rest.

  10. I didn’t like it at all. From what I read they used an MJ impersonator to create the hologram, so it wasn’t Michael, and that was clear, he didn’t have the same commanding energy.

  11. This was just plain sad and weird and depressing. Not good.

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