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Christina Aguilera’s Duet With Whitney Houston’s Hologram Blessedly Canceled


Technology can be a beautiful thing. It connects us with loved ones across the globe in real-time, aids doctors in performing one near-impossible surgeries and offers ever-evolving forms of entertainment to thrill us over and over again. Holographic impersonations of deceased celebrities is not one of those technological thrills, and the proof is in leaked footage of Christina Aguilera performing a duet with an incorporeal projection of Whitney Houston.

Luckily, it seems Houston’s disembodied image won’t be making its debut during The Voice’s Season 10 finale after all. According to Entertainment Tonight, the performance originally set to air on May 23 has since been canceled. The reason? The late artist’s estate isn’t happy with what they saw. Issuing a statement to ET, Pat Houston, Whitney’s sister and executor of her brand, revealed that after reviewing the performance footage, the hologram was deemed too imperfect and simply not ready to be unleashed upon fans.

“We are so appreciative of the opportunity for the Whitney Houston hologram to appear on NBC’s The Voice with a talent pairing as extraordinary as Christina Aguilera and Whitney Houston,” she said. “We were looking to deliver a ground-breaking duet performance for the fans of both artists. 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. After closely viewing the performance, we decided the hologram was not ready to air.”

As for Aguilera, Houston kindly added that her family was grateful for The Voice star’s participation: “We have much respect and appreciation for Christina, and she was absolutely flawless.”

A clip of the planned “duet” appeared online yesterday (May 19), reportedly initially leaking on Facebook. Aguilera, one of the coaches on the hit vocal competition, belts out a medley of Houston’s hits alongside a life-size hologram of the legendary singer, who passed away in 2012 at the age of 48.

The footage shows the two women (or rather, the one actual woman?) singing “I Have Nothing” and “I’m Every Woman,” and it’s not the triumphant experience some might expect from such a display. Unveiled was a hollow, holographic representation of Houston that was too pristine, too joyful, and almost too photorealistic—though, for sure, that may be the whole point of a hologram for some—while lacking any true facial resemblance with the songstress. It moved like her, it sounded like her, and to some degree it looked liker her… yet it was completely soulless in every sense of the word. And if there was ever a quality that the “I Will Always Love You” singer wholly possessed in life, it was soul.

The leaked footage is unlikely to be the last we’ll see of the legend’s hologram: In 2015, it was announced that Houston’s estate was partnering with Hologram USA to develop the avatar in order to launch a live tour, originally slated for 2016. But for the moment, it seems, spectral visions of a wraith-like, digitized Whitney Houston will continue to exist merely in our fever dreams/pop culture nightmares…as well as on Twitter:

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