This CD cover image released by Epic shows 'Xscape', a release by Michael Jackson. Photo: AP/Epic

London - A hologram of Michael Jackson performed at the Billboard Music Awards on Sunday night.

The image of the late singer - who died of acute Propofol intoxication in June 2009 - danced and moonwalked to new track 'Slave to the Rhythm' in a gold jacket, white T-shirt and red trousers alongside a group of dancers.

Show director and producer Larry Klein said: "You were watching the magic of Michael Jackson just like you would have when he was performing."

Michael's former choreographers the Talauega brothers were brought in to work on the project and wanted to give fans "classic" Michael.

Rich Talauega said: "We knew we didn't need to go so far left field with his dance moves - we just kept it within his world.

"Its just the way you reconfigure his steps so it looks different. You're still speaking the same language, it's just a different dialect."

Tone Talauega added: "It was classic Michael, but we put our spice on it."

Event producers Dick Clark Productions built a special stage at the rear of the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas for the performance, and dancers moved through aisles as Michael was seen rising from a throne and walking down steps before launching into his famous dance moves on a set modelled on the artwork from his 1991 album 'Dangerous'.

The performance took months of planning, choreography and filming and required developments in technology for it to be able to happen.

Producer Larry said: "We've been talking about it for the last five months and while we were talking about it they were still inventing the process.

"It was really strange talking about something that did not exist."

Following the performance, there has been an ongoing debate amongst viewers and social media users as to whether it was truly a hologram or an impersonator of the legendary star. Others dodged the debate and basked in nostalgia and the bitter-sweet feeling of seeing the one-of-a-kind talent being portrayed in life-like manner on screen. A few were “underwhelmed” by it all.


YouTube users respond:

Chuy D:

“you morons do realize this was not MJ at all but a horrible impersonator (sic)”


“I'm underwhelmed. I don't like the Hologram. Michael Jackson used to out dance every single one of his dancers on stage. This one doesn't move hardly half as much as the real thing did. Boooooo. Let the dead rest in peace. (sic)”


“The talent of MJ should not be remembered with a double. michael should be remembered with images drawn from his performances, from his tour, Michael should be remembered for what he has given, and as enchanted. (sic)”


“great technology and really magical. MJ was magic in his life and this performance was elaborated and caught the essence of HIS magic. He is no longer with us but he lives on through us HIS fans and through HIS music. Legends never die. I was shivering when I saw this performance on youtube. RIP (sic)”

Jordan Belfort:

“even in death he manages to bring people to tears and wow people with his perfomaces i would love to watch a concert with him even if it is just a hologram!!! (sic0”


- IOL and BANG Showbiz