I know what you’re thinking…
This is another Michael Jackson/Justin Timberlake post, right?
Well considering what happened this weekend you should have been expecting this…
Quick Advice: WATCH BEFORE READING!
This past weekend on Sunday, May 18th, The Billboard Music Awards aired live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. And I think it’s safe to say that Michael Jackson’s hologram performance of “Slave to the Rhythm” stole the night.
The performance began with a swat team of dancers dressed in black armor with the King’s initials displayed on their chests, as the rolling drums and helicopter sounds greeted the audience, they anxiously awaited a performance that was said to make history.
The curtains rose and Jackson appeared on stage upon an extravagant gold and leopard printed thrown, sitting casually with one leg draped over the side.
Dressed in his signature style; a gold sparkly jacket, white v-neck tee shirt, a sparkly belt, red pants, red socks and gold shoes. The initials MJ displayed in the background of him as well. Details were on point all the way down to his curly locks and the white tape he used to wear on his fingertips so that it would catch your eye with the flick of his hand. Even his walk down the stairs of his thrown to the main stage, was spot on. Michael always had this presence when he walked, like it was a dance or a glide with some kind of swag and spunk to it. It was a walk you took notice of, it was as if he wasn’t asking for your attention he was demanding it.
As his hologram pulled out his iconic moves like the crotch grab, the shoulder roll, the pelvic thrust, the tip toe stand, the side step walk… he glided across that stage flawlessly. And you knew without a shadow of a doubt that it was only a matter of time before he broke out into a dance break and moon walked across the stage. You couldn’t call it a Michael Jackson performance without a dance break. As the song “Slave to the Rhythm” was manipulated to focus on Jackson’s vocal track and cut to allow time for Jackson’s moves to shine once again.
Because of all of these details Jackson appeared almost lifelike.
If not for the illuminating light surrounding him, or the occasional off lip during the vocals, it could have easily been him. It was that good. Technology man…
The entire performance was accompanied by over a dozen dancers (both real and hologram infused,) as well as fire and light beams. After his performance and dance break, Jackson returned to his starting stage with a signature pose and then returned to his thrown.
To me it was kind of symbolic now that I think about it. As if to say he’s holding his title in life and even in death. Michael Jackson will always be the King of Pop; the greatest of all time. I could only imagine what it would have felt like to have been in that audience. As people were seen dancing in their seats and some shared cheers while others shared tears. The performance was met with a standing ovation. If it were me I would have wanted to be off my ass and dancing through his entire performance, but I guess people were just in shock!
As for me I went into watching this performance with an open mind. I expected a hologram, because what else would be history making? They’ve done so many tributes that I was just like nothing is gonna be good enough other than the king himself. And I had heard it was for “Slave to the Rhythm.” But of course I was secretly hoping it would be Justin and hologram Michael Jackson performing “Love Never Felt So Good.” But Justin being on tour wasn’t even there :/. I’m really anxious to hear what Justin thought about the hologram performance. I hope he comments on it soon! Never the less, I went into this just wanting to see what it was all about. I was just excited to see how they would pull this off.
And my reaction was kind of all over the place.
My best friend and I snuck away from her family birthday dinner to watch tv and I was like I GOTTA SEE THIS MJ PERFORMANCE! Half way through I ran upstairs to grab my mom, because she just had to see this! I was freaking out!
At first I was like wait a minute…is that really him…is that a hologram, is that just a really good impersonator? I was…and I repeat ALL OVER THE PLACE. I was entirely confused because I knew that there isn’t any footage of Michael performing that song. “Slave the Rhythm” hadn’t even ever been heard until just recently as Jackson’s 2nd posthumous album Xscape (which holds the track) was released just a few days ago on May 13th. So I was just like HOW IS THIS EVEN HAPPENING RIGHT NOW???
I remember I just kept saying things like …
I don’t know what my life is right now….I don’t know how to feel…
And I really didn’t.
I was stuck between freaking out and being in awe of how technology has evolved. And feeling like it was a good depiction of his legendary legacy. I thought it was amazing, I thought I was gonna cry.
According to people involved; this performance has been being planned since December of last year. And the song was chosen before they even had the technology to back it and before his image was yet to be perfected.
However, unfortunately much like everything in his real life, Jackson’s hologram performance received quite the stir of controversy. Some were quick to comment on the image not being perfect…hence the lips were off here and there. But what can you expect… nothing is going to truly live up to the real Michael Jackson live and in person. I may not have ever seen him perform live, but from being exposed to his performances throughout my life, I can safely say he was in a league of his own. So this hologram performance would be the next best thing. Others harped on the fact that the hologram was dated back to Jackson’s “Dangerous” days. Which they felt didn’t make much sense because he died at the age of 50, 5 years ago in 2009.
The set they portrayed in this performance is said to be based on the artwork for the “Dangerous” album. His image was created in the same light. In fact it makes total sense, being that “Slave to the Rhythm” was originally recorded back in the 90’s during the “Dangerous” sessions. If you think about it, it’s better that way. It preserves his memory, if you ask me. I mean it’s no secret that Michael himself wasn’t too happy with his own appearance, hence why he went through so many plastic surgeries. Never the less, his health wasn’t the best when he passed either. So for them to choose an image of him, from a healthier time, and remember him as his iconic self, makes total sense to me. And once you know these facts, it should make accepting it all a bit easier. I for one don’t get tired of watching it, it doesn’t get any short of amazing with every watch. So I think that says something.
There are two ways to look at this performance, either you enjoyed it and aren’t letting it get overly analyzed and blown out of proportion, and just take it as a tribute of some kind. Just take it as it is, without reading too much into it.
Or take it as an offense. To think they are dishonoring him, and not letting him Rest In Peace. Upon doing my research for this reaction review, I kept coming across articles which deemed Michael Jackson had been “resurrected from the dead in hologram form.” That to me is the worst way to put it. A hologram is NOT a resurrection. Saying that just makes it sound creepy and scary. It also makes people mad.
Don’t get me wrong the idea of a hologram is very weird in itself. But I think what truly bugs people most about this performance is the thought that it looks so real. That they wish it was. And for that I understand. But I think that being that this performance was put together by choreographers who Michael had worked with himself and being that this performance was fully supported and produced by the Jackson Family Estate… How can you really be mad? It’s easy to think that it’s all a game, to make money off of him, but I choose to look at it as a way to honor him. Same thing with the posthumous album. It’s all a way to give fans just a slight version of what they’ve been missing. I don’t think that’s a bad thing. In fact music that good isn’t doing anyone any good unreleased.
“Slave to the Rhythm” is off Michael Jackson’s 2nd posthumous album entitled Xscape
Xscape debuted last week at #1 in 50 countries and is in it’s fight for no. 1 in the U.S.
Come On people let’s get it there!
Watch Access Hollywood talk to some of those involved in creating this show stopping performance.
(In a fellow clip within the Access Hollywood link under the “RELATED” Tab under the above video)
L.A. Reid promises there’s more to come for this album.
Jackie Jackson reacts to seeing his brother perform in hologram form.
Saying and I quote…
“It’s beautiful…unbelievable…I thought he was there for real, I got teary eyed watching my brother….I think he would have given it a thumbs up, he would have loved it…”
So if his own brother gave it praise…I think it’s ok for fans to feel ok loving it!
(same link as above)
In other exciting news… shout out to Mr. Justin Timberlake as he rocked the awards in his own way by taking home 7 out of the 11 awards he was nominated for…including…
Best Male Artist
Top Billboard 200 Artist: “The 20/20 Experience”
Top Radio Artist
Top R&B Artist
Top Billboard 200 Album: “The 20/20 Experience”
Top R&B Album
Hell yea boy!
Congrats…very well deserved…that album deserves every single award it receives.
So basically two people who weren’t even there, dominated the night, haha. MJ & JT owned the 2014 BillBoard Music Awards. Hats off sirs. Nothing but love. Can’t wait to see what’s next!
*I do not take any credit for any gifs or images used*