THE King of Pop and a likely successor, Justin Timberlake, ruled the Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas.
However, Michael Jackson made a splash via hologram and Timberlake accepted his awards via video from overseas while on tour.
A hologram of Jackson made its debut, mirroring the late star’s signature dance moves as some members of the audience became emotional and started to cry.
Timberlake won seven prizes, including top artist and Billboard 200 album.
“All the other finalists, Miley, Imagine Dragons, Bruno, Katy, I love you guys, it’s not a competition, but if it is, I won!” Timberlake exclaimed, dancing with his band.
The Jackson hologram performed Slave To The Rhythm, a song from Jackson’s new posthumous album Xscape, along with a plethora of background dancers. It was easily the biggest moment at the awards show.
“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,” Epic Records boss LA Reid said backstage.
Robin Thicke, who won four awards including top Hot 100 song for Blurred Lines, debuted a new song called Get Her Back, aiming to win over his actress-wife Paula Patton after they announced in February they were separating.
He sang on bended knee and ended with the line: “I gotta get her back tonight.”
The night featured a number of collaborative performances, including an explosive duet from Carrie Underwood and Miranda Lambert. Miley Cyrus performed The Beatles’ Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds with Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips remotely. She is due to play in Belfast tonight.
“I have to of course thank all of my amazing fans... Thank you everybody for making this (expletive) possible - oops I’m on ABC, sorry,” she said when accepting top streaming artist, sticking out her tongue at the end.
Katy Perry, who won top female artist, also performed remotely.Other performers included John Legend, Shakira and Jennifer Lopez, who received the icon award and performed at the beginning and end of the three-hour show.