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Jocelyn Lee
Thursday, May 22, 2014

Showbiz

Dead man dancing

The New Paper | Jocelyn Lee | Thursday, May 22, 2014

Michael Jackson returned to life at the 2014 Billboard Music Awards on Sunday night, performing on stage his latest hit Slave To The Rhythm - as a hologram.

The performance, which took more than five months to produce, sparked off a wave of reactions on Twitterville, minutes later.

Many praised the sensational performance, which saw Jackson groove along with sleek moves to his fast-paced tune, including his trademark moonwalk routine.

But there were others who questioned the necessity of the posthumous song-and-dance item, which is exactly my gripe about the performance.

As impressed as I was with the hologram of Jackson, let's face it, seeing a dead person perform with life-like 3D effects on stage is not only weird, but can also be quite creepy.

It's been almost five years since Jackson's death in 2009 shocked the world.

Knowing that Sunday's performance was simply a visual recreation of Jackson made the entire routine feel forced and fake. To put it simply, it was merely a projection of the producers' grand idea and concept.

People catch a live gig because they want to interact with the singer, and bask in the live atmosphere on set.

With a holographic image, there is no such live energy to speak of.

The well-choreographed Michael Jackson hologram routine on stage cannot look the audience in the eye and respond to what they want.

Also, is it necessary to resurrect the dead for an awards show?

Yes, Jackson is as classic as it gets, but there are plenty of A-list singers out there who could have put on a sensational live performance on stage, too.

Jackson's performance is not the first time a singer has been brought back to life through a hologram.

In 2012, rapper Tupac Shakur, who died at the age of 25 in 1996, appeared in the American music festival Coachella as a hologram, creating a big hooha on social media platforms.

In September last year , Taiwnese Mandopop King Jay Chou performed three songs with a hologram of the late pop icon Teresa Teng at his sold-out concerts in Taipei.

I don't deny that the digitised performances were done in an impressive manner.

But let us accept the fact that these iconic stars are gone, and let their music live on in our hearts, not as digital apparitions on stage.

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