Seventeen-year-old Jo-Ann Martell, from Dorchester, thinks it’s weird and distasteful that hologram technology brought a singing and dancing Michael Jackson back to the stage at the Billboard Music Awards in May – some five years after his death. “It’s creepy and wrong,” says Martell. “He’s dead. They should just let him rest in peace. They are trying to make more money by taking advantage of his death.”
Yet others think it’s special that the King of Pop and other entertainers can return for live-looking performances long after they’ve died.
“It’s a good thing,” says Isabelle Joseph, 15, from Boston Latin Academy. “Michael Jackson should be honored and respected. He is a good artist. This could be good for those who didn’t know him.”
Jackson’s not the first superstar who has risen from the dead – artistically speaking.
In one of the most memorable musical reawakenings, crowds went crazy in April 2012 when a hologram of the late legendary rapper Tupac Shakur appeared alongside fellow hip-hop hero Snoop Dogg at the Coachella music festival and lit into the song “Hail Mary.”
Before that, Alicia Keys sang a digitalized duet with Frank Sinatra at the 2008 Grammy Awards.
There have been other revivals, as well, and more are being planned, including a hologram of Elvis, who already performed a duet of “If I Can Dream” with Celine Dion -- after his death -- on “American Idol” in 2007.
This whole great-vs.-gruesome debate over hologramic appearances was resurrected after Jackson performed “Slave to the Rhythm” -- from a posthumously released album -- at the Billboards in May.
One critic commented via the Internet: “This is so creepy. Michael Jackson is dead. He had his time and there are so many live talents out there who deserve their turn in the spotlight. We don’t need to be entertained by dead people.”
After all, critics say, although Michael Jackson’s famous moonwalk movements were mimicked in May, who’s to say in the future that the hologram technicians wouldn’t add their own twists and turns to the imagery.
“They are doing it based on their opinion, their personality,” says 15-year-old Dominique Singletary, from Roslindale.
Yet others are not convinced that the greater good isn’t served by seeing artists sing and dance at shows long after they’ve been put to rest – like Michael Jackson.
“It’s a good idea,” says 15-year-old Taylor Davis, from Dorchester. “It’s a great way to entertain and to keep him alive, instead of him dying out.”