Let Him Be

The Billboard Music Awards offer artists who didn’t win a Grammy another shot. The awards are statistically determined, using data such as plays on the air and downloads, not votes. The night is filled with scantily-dressed performers, celebrities who have difficulty reading a teleprompter (thank you Kendall Jenner), and awards with little to no variation (what’s the difference between Top Artist, Hot 100 Artist, and Top 200 Billboard Artist?).


Last Sunday, the Billboards attempted an unprecedented technological entertainment feat. A hologram of Michael Jackson was created to perform a new single onstage. This song was recorded before his passing (no, he is not magically alive). Jackson’s “performance” made lasting impressions; most of the audience looked uncomfortable. As the camera’s panned across the crowd, it was evident that most of its members did not know how to react.


I didn’t know how to react either. Out of nowhere, I was watching a deceased legend perform onstage. Jackson has been dead for nearly five years, was this too soon? Maybe, but if a hologram of John Lennon was on that stage, it would still be uncomfortable. As astounding as the new technology is, it should not have been used. I understand that the producers were only trying to pay homage to the “King of Pop,” but this was not the appropriate way.


Bottom line: Jackson is dead; let him be dead. There are many different ways to respect one or one’s work than to generate a life-like image of him onstage, moonwalking like it’s 1982.


Better luck next year, Billboards.