Whitney Houston’s Estate Cancelled The Duet With Christina Aguilera On The Season Finale Of ‘The Voice’

Here is a unsettling glimpse into the future of every celebrity’s legacy: footage of Christina Aguilera singing with Whitney Houston’s hologram on next week’s season finale of The Voice has leaked. And, like you’d expect, it’s…not good. It’s so bad, in fact, that ahead of next week’s finale, Whitney Houston’s estate cancelled the performance, saying in a statement that “Whitney’s legacy and her devoted fans deserve perfection. After closely viewing the performance, we decided the hologram was not ready to air.”

Upon closer viewing of said hologram, they’re right. Whitney Houston fans deserve perfection because Whitney Houston was an icon. Whitney Houston’s legacy should not be tarnished in this way. I’d argue that no celebrity’s legacy should be tarnished by an anesthetized version of themselves, especially when for so many people, the hologram in question could be their first real interaction with the celebrity in question.

Holograms of dead celebrities doing the very things they used to do when they were alive are generally a bad idea. In 2014, Tupac went to Coachella. At last year’s Billboard Music Awards, a hologram of Michael Jackson took the stage. In 2015, the long-dead comedians Andy Kaufman and Red Foxx embarked on a nationwide tour, an event that human beings actually paid money to attend. Thanks to companies like Hologram USA, any celebrity whose image and likeness is beloved enough to continue to turn a profit after their death is fair game. But, this Whitney Houston hologram feels very, very wrong.

Whitney Houston has been dead for only four years. That means that there are human beings alive right now that remember what hse looked like when she was alive. There are people out there — people that are alive, breathing and aware of their surroundings — that have seen Whitney Houston in concert. While no celebrity should be made into a hologram, the fact that there are enough people on this earth to remember Whitney as she was — an inimitable force, a tornado of raw talent — this hologram feels especially egregious.

Also, it looks nothing like her and it’s terrifying. See below.

For reference, here’s a photo of Whitney Houston.

World Music Awards 2004 - Show
CREDIT: Getty Images

See how they look nothing alike? See how the hologram is merely a hollow and empty representation of a woman whose life force was so vital and so real that it was snuffed out before her time? See how this faux-Whitney lacks the verve that actual-Whitney had? Yes, the hologram sounds great, but something about the way it moves is incorrect. Also, for accuracy’s sake, where’s Whitney’s towel?


Don’t get me wrong. Christina Aguilera sounds great. “I Have Nothing” is second to only “The Greatest Love of All” as the best Whitney Houston song on wax and hearing both X-Tina and Whitney wail on a big ol’ stage is nice in concept but fails miserably in execution. We don’t need holograms of people who have passed on when YouTube and memory suffice. Watch Whitney sing the national anthem and while you do it, read this Danyel Smith piece that clearly elucidates the importance of this cultural moment.

This is how we should remember Whitney. But, never forget that the uncanny valley is real. Bina48, the humanoid robot designed to be able to accurately mimic a human being, lives there. Holo-Tupac and Holo-Selena live down the street. They’re throwing a block party for this recent abomination, Whitney Goddamn Houston who, like them, did not deserve this fate.