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Michael Jackson performs as a moonwalking hologram

Michael Jackson performs as a moonwalking hologram

This CD cover image released by Epic shows "Xscape," a release by Michael Jackson. Photo: Associated Press/Epic

Michael JacksonI returned from beyond the grave to wow fans at the 2014 Billboard Music Awards on Sunday by performing onstage in hologram form, five years after his death.

Producers of the Las Vegas prizegiving used virtual technology to make it appear as if the King of Pop had been brought back to life to sing and dance his way through new track Slave to the Rhythm.

He began the eerie appearance seated in a throne before joining a string of dancers to show off his fancy footwork by strutting across the stage at the MGM Grand Garden Arena as he appeared to belt out the tune.

The stunt, titled the Michael Jackson Xperience, left the audience in awe and earned a standing ovation from everyone in attendance.

Stars also took to their Twitter.com accounts to share their feelings about the performance, with newlywed Kelly Rowland writing, “We miss you Michael!”, while actress Jamie-Lynn Sigler tweeted, “I have chills watching michael Jackson performance. Makes u (sic) realize there will never be a performer like him”, and rapper Nicki Minaj commented, “Dat (sic) was mike?”

The virtual performance almost didn’t happen after Jackson estate executors and Billboard Music Awards producers were slapped with legal action in an effort to put a stop to the show.

Businessman Alki David, who claims to control the rights to the hologram technology, filed suit in Nevada on Thursday, insisting the Billboard gig would likely violate his patent, but his motion was dismissed on Friday due to a lack of evidence, allowing the show to go on.

The Michael Jackson Xperience, organized to celebrate the release of his new posthumous album Xscape, bared similarities to the resurrection of Tupac Shakur at the 2012 Coachella music festival in California, where the dead rapper appeared onstage alongside Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg in hologram form.

The Thriller hitmaker died in 2009.

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