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Lana Del Rey’s Coachella Hologram Has Hatsune Miku Fans Upset The Virtual Performer Didn’t Get One

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Coachella has once again become the site of hologram-related controversy. However, this time, rather than the unexpected (and borderline creepy) likeness of a deceased performer, the scandal is all about a real performer versus a virtual one — and which of them actually got to appear as the hologram.

During her headlining set Friday night, Lana Del Rey took a seat and let her hologram take over singing for her. However, fans on Twitter (which I will never call X) were less enthused than upset, as another artist whose set preceded Lana’s did NOT get a hologram, but arguably deserved it more.

For the uninitiated and non-weeb among our readers, Hatsune Miku is a virtual performer — something like Gorillaz but with less lore — based on a Vocaloid soundbank with a computer-generated animated avatar modeled after Japanese singing idols. Miku is generally represented via this avatar projected on a specially coated glass screen.

Miku had performed earlier at a different tent using a slightly different method, one that disappointed fans. Funnily enough, the camera operators seemed unsure whether the animated character was the star of the show or not, spending the first song trying to focus on everything but the screen displaying her cartoon dances. Meanwhile, fans catching Lana’s holographic projection of herself — when she was right there, ready and able to do the performing on her own — deluged Twitter with jokes about the seeming discrepancy, tweeting some variation of “how come lana del rey gets to be a hologram but hatsune miku doesnt?”

The short answer is probably that a holographic projection can run up to millions of dollars (for instance, the Tupac hologram from 2012 that kicked off the trend was around $10 million), and while Hatsune Miku is a big enough deal in Japan, she just isn’t well enough known here in the States to justify the cost. By way of comparison, the Mojave tent has a fraction of the capacity of the main stage and wasn’t even full. Miku’s a novelty here in the US, and just not enough of a draw to warrant spending an A24 movie budget for an hour-long set. Yet.