Michael Jackson may not be around to tour in support of his new posthumous album, Xscape, but the annual Billboard Music Awards will still feature a performance from the late King of Pop. A Michael Jackson hologram will take the stage at Sunday night’s event.
According to the Los Angeles Times, plans for the awards ceremony include the hologram image of Jackson performing the new Xscape track “Slave to the Rhythm.” Sources affiliated with the show said the event will be a “history-making performance” and that the “technology is so spectacular and groundbreaking.”
Although the show’s producers had tried to keep a lid on their plans, news of the Jackson hologram emerged as the result of a lawsuit filed by two tech companies in an attempt to block the performance. Hologram USA Inc. (which acquired the rights to the patents from Digital Domain, creator of the Tupac Shakur hologram at Coachella 2012) and Musion Das Hologram Ltd. filed the suit on Thursday, claiming that their product was being used without permission by a competitor to create the image of Michael Jackson. The lawsuit was rejected by the judge, who said that there wasn’t enough evidence to show that the Billboard Awards’ plan would violate patents, nor was there sufficient evidence that their patent had been used to create the hologram.
Xscape, which was released on May 13th, contains eight previously unreleased Michael Jackson songs that have been “contemporized” by producers including Timbaland, Rodney Jenkins and Stargate. Epic Records chairman and CEO L.A. Reid, who executive produced the album, searched through four decades of music in the Jackson estate’s vaults to find songs that had Jackson’s completed vocals. “Michael left behind some musical performances that we take great pride in presenting through the vision of music producers that he either worked directly with or expressed strong desire to work with,” Reid said in a statement regarding the album. “We are extremely proud and honored to present this music to the world.”
The 2014 Billboard Music Awards will air on Sunday, May 18th at 8 p.m. on ABC.