LAS VEGAS (AFP) – The late King of Pop Michael Jackson was back on stage — as a hologram — performing at the Billboard 2014 Music Award event Sunday in Las Vegas.
Jackson, or rather his hologram, sang and moonwalked to “A Slave to the Rhythm” dressed in a gold jacket, white t-shirt and red pants, along with a live band and dancers onstage.
The song was recorded in 1991 and released as part of the album “Xscape,” which includes previously unreleased Jackson tracks.
Jackson’s “performance,” a tightly-held secret up to the last moment, required a year of work from 104 artists and technicians, according to organizers.
Jackson, 50, died in June 2009 after taking an overdose of the powerful sedative propofol. “Xscape” is his second posthumous album.
Also at the event, held at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas: pop diva Jennifer Lopez and Brazilian star Claudia Litte joined rapper Pitbull to sing “We Are The One (Ole Ola),” the official World Cup 2014 song; Shakira singing “Empire,” her latest hit; and Australian Iggy Azalea performing with former Disney starlet Ariana Grande.
The naughty Miley Cyrus, on tour in London, appeared singing “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” — a Beatle song that was a hit long before she was born — wearing an outfit made of what appeared to be golden Christmas tinsel.
Justin Timberlake walked away with the award for Top Artist, while Jennifer Lopez won the Icon award. Timberlake won seven trophies, including Top Male Artist.
Other winners selected by Billboard, the music industry’s premier publication, included New Zealander Lorde as Top New Artist; Imagine Dragons in the Top Duo/Group Category; Katy Perry as Top Female Artist; and — surprise! — bad boy Justin Bieber as Top Social Artist.
Bieber beat out Cyrus, Rihanna, Taylor Swift and British boy band One Direction for the distinction.