Michael Jackson hologram, Kendall Jenner: Memorable moments at Billboard Music Awards

(CNN) -- Michael Jackson's "live" performance at the 2014 Billboard Music Awards brought a mixed reaction Sunday night.

"Uncomfortable, odd and eerily interesting," is how public relations agent Simon Smalls summed it up in a tweet. "Not quite sure what to feel. #MissingMJ"

Uncomfortable because Jackson died nearly five years while preparing for a comeback tour. His remains are resting in a crypt in a Forest Lawn mausoleum.

But technology tricked viewers -- and the celebrity audience in the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas -- into suspending disbelief for a few minutes to watch the pop icon onstage dancing and singing his "new" song "Slave to the Rhythm."


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Ludacris, the rapper-actor who hosted the show, actually introduced it as "Live from the MGM Grand, Michael Jackson."

"He's baaaccck!" Mark Cuban, the owner of an NBA team and TV channel, tweeted about Jackson's "hologram." Cuban added an Instagram video.

The dance moves were not really Michael Jackson's but apparently those of a stand-in performer who recreated his steps for a computer that then laid on an image intended to replicate Jackson. But where was the swagger -- like Charlie Chaplin -- that characterized Jackson's cool walk?

"I wish it would have actually looked like him," one fan said.

It was eerily interesting because the illusion was effective if you didn't watch too closely or weren't obsessively familiar with Jackson's dancing, walking and appearance.

"I enjoyed it. Could have had better face but overall it was great. Will have it on repeat," a diehard Jackson fan tweeted.


Imagine Ed Sullivan confusing the Beatles with the Beach Boys when he introduced the British group's first live U.S. television performance 50 years ago. That's the modern equivalent of what Kendall Jenner did at the Billboard Awards.

The reality TV personality, model and Kardashian half-sister caught herself halfway through introducing the Australian boy band 5 Seconds of Summer as One Direction. "Now, we welcome One... Guys, I'm the worst reader!" Jenner said as she dived below the camera shot. She quickly tossed to a video of the group -- which included a short clip comparing their arrival in the United States to the Beatles' 1964 invasion.

Jenner never fully recovered. The television audience only heard her say "of Summer" when she resumed the intro after the video.

Twitter had a blast with the 18-year-old's flub. Two hashtags soon trended: #kendallyouhadonejob and #KendalljennerItsFIVE

But many -- including Jenner herself -- agreed on one thing. Kendall Jenner looked great on the red carpet.

Lorde's message

Lorde wants you to know she's no longer the young 15-year-old who recorded "Royals," a song that spent much of last summer at the top of the charts and was honored Sunday as the "top rock song."

"What I wanted to say was that I am 17 and a half now," Lorde said as she accepted Billboard's top new artist award.

When laughter erupted with that remark, she stopped to say "that wasn't a joke."

Lorde's said she's had "the opportunity to grow and learn as a new artist" in the last year "in the spotlight."

She later performed "Tennis Court," another song from her younger years.

The irony not lost on the Billboard audience is that many people are surprised to learn that the mature talking-acting-looking New Zealander is actually a teenager.

#Lordeis17 became a trending topic on Twitter worldwide.

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Key Moments Moments

Every awards show producer craves moments, the things they'd love for us to spend our Monday mornings talking about and marveling over. The Billboard Music Awards had a fair number Sunday night - some funny, some weird, some kind of creepy even.

We start with Justin Timberlake ...

- The Man: Top winner JT proved he doesn't even have to be in the building to steal the show. The 33-year-old singer won two on-air awards, including top artist, the show's biggest honor. Timberlake's on tour and couldn't attend, but he sent video acceptance speeches filmed with his band crowded in the frame. They sang a thank you song in their first appearance, then danced with Timberlake in the second as he listed his fellow nominees: "I love you guys. It's not a competition, but if it was, I won!" Timberlake then aimed his sense of humor at the embattled Los Angeles Clippers owner: "I want to thank everybody on earth, everybody on earth ... except Donald Sterling." He then strutted out of the frame.

- Michael 2.0: It took a court order to clear the way for an appearance by the Michael Jackson hologram, but the range of reactions in the crowd was more interesting to watch than the reanimated pop king, truth be told. Some were moved to tears. Some were clearly astonished. Others scowled. The holographic image of a younger Jackson, singing "Slave to the Rhythm" from his second posthumously released album "Xscape," was effective for the most part. It appeared to interact with living dancers on stage after stepping down from a golden throne. The illusion was unexpectedly powerful when the hologram was alone on stage, so lifelike it was a little creepy. How long till these sorts of reconstructions are common place?

- They Said What?: We wonder if Mark Cuban's Dallas Mavericks will ever sign a player represented by rapper-turned-sports agent Jay Z after Sunday's show. Cuban had the night's biggest zinger, teaming with "Shark Tank" co-star Kevin O'Leary to capitalize on Jay Z's recent elevator escapade with sister-in-law Solange. "We just spent $3.2 billion to buy a hot new company called Beatdowns By Solange," they joked. It was one of the show's most memorable moments. And one Jay Z probably won't soon forget.

- I'm Sorry, So Sorry: While most celebrities fight to keep their relationship problems private, Robin Thicke enlisted the public during the show to help him convince estranged wife Paula Patton to give him a second chance. The two are separated and Thicke used his appearance to gain Patton's attention. After winning top R&B song, he thanked Patton "for her love and support and for putting up with me all these years." A little later he debuted "Get Her Back," a new song aimed at Patton's heart. "I never should have raised my voice or made you feel so small," Thicke sang. "I never should have asked you do to anything at all. ... I'll wait forever for you to love me again." He finished the song on his knees.

- Boy Band Bungle: To be honest, there are so many boy bands it can be hard to keep them straight. So it would be easy to forgive television personality and Kardashian satellite Kendall Jenner for getting confused when she appeared to nearly introduce British Boy Band One Direction in error. Except for one thing: It's hard to explain the mistake when the 5 Seconds of Summer's name was written down for her to read. Jenner had a simple excuse: "Guys, I'm the worst reader."

- Miley in the Sky: You can say one thing for Miley Cyrus: She's not repeating herself. Cyrus managed to pull off another oddly affecting awards show performance, joining with The Flaming Lips on a version of The Beatles' "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds." Cyrus and Lips lead singer Wayne Coyne, performing from the United Kingdom where Cyrus is on tour, were dressed in shiny coats that appeared to be made of Christmas tree tinsel. They slowed the song down, making it even more trippy than the original - if that's even possible.

- Dark Pop Angel: Lorde sure looked like a rebel, dressed in a black suit with feathered angel wings attached, and flashing devil's horns at one point while winning two on-air awards. Yet her speeches, including one devoted to the apparently tireless workers at her record label, couldn't have been more forthright and earnest. She actually read her first from her phone, something she called "kind of embarrassing ... I really don't want to screw it up."