From Tupac to Whitney - a history of dead celebrities performing via holographics

Houston was set to "make an appearance" on the final of The Voice this year

Footage was leaked earlier this week of a hologram of Whitney Houston performing with the real Christina Aguilera, before it was promptly pulled down from the internet.

It was planned that the duet would take place during the final of The Voice, with judge Aguilera to sing "I Have Nothing" and "I'm Every Woman" alongside the projected Houston, but the entire stunt was pulled when NBC decided that quality of the hologram just wasn't good enough.

While the footage itself has become very difficult to find (it's here, but who knows for how long), screen-grabs of the performance can be found, and as feared, the projected image of Whitney simply doesn't bear a very strong resemblance to the late star.

Why, exactly, there has been a sudden up-shoot in popularity of holographic performances by deceased celebrities can be probably be chalked up to the simple fact that the technology is there for it to happen. Or at least almost there.

As of December 2015, the frontrunners in this new market are Hologram USA, who own the "resurrection rights" to Whitney, Buddy Holly, Patsy Klein and comedian Andy Kaufmann amongst others, and Pulse Evolution, who own the rights to both Elvis Priestly and Marilyn Monroe.

The entire enterprise can sourced back to the 2012 "revival" of Tupac, when he appeared to perform on stage with Dre and Snoop during the Coachella festival. His image was created by Digital Domain, the special effects company behind Titanic and The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button.

However, while it appeared to be a hologram, it was in fact a 2D image that was then projected on to an angled piece of glass on ground, which in turn projected the image onto a Mylar screen on stage, giving the illusion of a 3D projection.

The next big event was Michael Jackson performing "Slave To The Rhythm" from his posthumous album Xscape during the 2014 Billboard Music Awards, and was produced by Pulse Evolution.

Jackson's lawyer and adviser John Branca told Billboard: "At the time we made the decision. "Slave to the Rhythm" felt like a song was something people could dance to, a potential club song. We talked to Jamie King, who directed the Michael Jackson Cirque du Soleil shows and we all felt the song was very likeable."

Other artists have used similar technology for slightly different reasons, such as Mariah Carey putting it to use so she could perform five concerts in five different cities simultaneously in 2011, or Alexander McQueen projecting an image of Kate Moss during 2006's Paris Fashion Week.

While the celebrity performances seem to be the focus of the holograms at the moment, the owner of Hologram USA told Rolling Stone "[...] That's just the low-hanging fruit. Imagine Einstein being beamed into multiple schools at the same time, to give his take on his own theorems."

USC film professor Paul Debevec even went so far as to tell celebrities "If I were one of these folks concerned about their legacy. I would say, 'Before you get a day older, get yourself scanned in high resolution. Preserve yourself!'"