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'X Factor' bosses planning holograms of Michael Jackson, Amy Winehouse and Elvis Presley

Producers keen for contestants on new series to duet with departed musical icons

Dean Chalkley/NME
Pic: Dean Chalkley/NME
X Factor bosses want the new series of the show to feature holograms of Michael Jackson, Amy Winehouse and Elvis Presley, according to reports.

The Sun says that producers of the TV behemoth want contestants to be able to duet with a host of star names from beyond the grave so it can "keep getting better".

In June of this year, it was reported that bosses at ITV were considering axing The X Factor as they've become "too reliant" on the programme, while in March Simon Cowell was rumoured to be considering scrapping his creation as a result of a dip in its ratings and criticism for its new judging panel.

However, an insider claims that those who work on the programme are still looking for ways in which it can improve and that its boss, Richard Holloway, was inspired after witnessing Celine Dion duet with a hologram of Stevie Wonder during a concert. "The X Factor has to keep getting better so they are looking at holograms as a way of creating a splash," they said, before adding:
Imagine Elvis or Amy Winehouse at the grand final. It would be incredible TV and an amazing experience for contestants. The technology's there and has been used on several big stages. The X Factor final is perfect for something like this. It nearly happened last year after show boss Richard Holloway saw the Stevie Wonder hologram at Celine Dion.

Ever since Dr Dre and Snoop Dogg brought a hologram of Tupac onstage at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in April this year, the prospect of digitally resurrecting deceased iconic performers has been a big talking point, with the likes of Elvis Presley, Jim Morrison and Jimi Hendrix all mooted as possible candidates to appear as holograms. Most recently, Amy Winehouse's father Mitch revealed that a hologram of the late singer could appear onstage as a way of keeping her musical legacy alive.

In July, however, James Rock - the man behind Musion Systems, the company that helped create the hologram of Tupac Shakur – claimed that he doesn't believe holograms will ever "replace live performances".

Auditions are currently taking place for the new series of The X Factor, meanwhile, with singer Nicole Scherzinger joining the judging panel after replacing former Destiny Child's star Kelly Rowland.

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