Houston hologram debut halted

NEW YORK • Whitney Houston's estate last Friday abruptly halted the late singer's hologram debut featuring Christina Aguilera, saying the piece was not up to standard.

Footage that recently leaked online showed a hologram of the late Houston singing tracks including I Have Nothing with the real-life Aguilera. The performance was to air next week on the popular television contest The Voice, but Houston's estate said in a statement "the hologram was not ready to air".

"We were looking to deliver a ground-breaking duet performance for fans of both artists," it said. "Holograms are new technology that take time to perfect and we believe with artists of this iconic caliber, it must be perfect. Whitney's legacy and her devoted fans deserve perfection."

The estate did not take issue with Aguilera, saying her performance was "flawless".

Hologram USA, one of the major producers of the new technology, last year said it was working on a global hologram tour of Houston, who died in 2012.

Music holograms became trendy that year when Coachella, one of the leading music festivals, brought back late rap legend Tupac Shakur for a headlining set with living collaborators Dr Dre and Snoop Dogg.

Holograms have since become a growth market with notable resurrected figures including King of Pop Michael Jackson, who returned posthumously for the Billboard Music Awards in 2014.

While many fans find holograms to be an awe-inspiring and unique way for younger generations to experience the late artists, critics say the performances can be tacky.

The Grateful Dead considered but decided against bringing back their late bandmate Jerry Garcia by hologram when they performed a final set of shows last year.

Holograms record light fields, rather than standard camera images, thereby allowing 3D presentation, but synchronising performances with sound needs special attention.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 23, 2016, with the headline 'Houston hologram debut halted'. Print Edition | Subscribe