Lionel Richie was “freaked out” by the Michael Jackson hologram at the Billboard Music Awards.
The late King of Pop’s posthumous record Xscape hit stores earlier this month and it was celebrated at Sunday’s ceremony. A digital projection of Michael was displayed on stage, performing his new track Slave to the Rhythm. While the late star’s brother Jackie Jackson has gushed about the event, Lionel wasn’t quite so enamored.
“It was freaky,” he told Access Hollywood. “I must tell you it freaked me out because it’s Mike. I have to tell you it was brilliantly done, but it just made me a little uneasy because it was just… I keep waiting for him and then I realize that is him but it’s not him.”
Lionel and Michael were good friends and worked together on many occasions, including writing the iconic 1985 charity song We Are the World.
Lionel, 64, understands why the hologram was created, although he remains unsure it was that successful.
“It’s a little bit over the top for me,” he said of the performance, which included Michael’s famed moonwalk.
“Yeah, let me have Mike the way I… you know, it was…,” he added, when asked if he would rather remember him as he knew him.
Xscape was created from parts of songs that Michael created when he was alive but never got to finish. Music producer L.A. Reid is behind the record and was on hand backstage at Sunday’s event in Las Vegas to discuss it and the hologram.
“We tried to do as best we could what we thought Michael would have loved, and those of us who knew Michael really well, we had a good perspective on it,” he explained. “But the truth is, you can’t ever really know because he wasn’t there.”
© Cover Media