October 9, 2014


A Hologram Was the Musical Guest on 'David Letterman' Last Night

What a time to be alive. Japan's virtual pop star Hatsune Miku performed on The Late Show With David Letterman last night. Make no mistake: The band above is real, but the girl with huge turquoise pigtails is not.

A quick primer on Hatsune: She's an adorable "vocaloid" which is the name given to a figure who visually represents a vocal synthesizer program. If that's confusing, think about how your favorite producer creates sounds and tones with synths and then shift that thinking to human vocal notes. Fans buy her software to create their own music, making her any kind of pop star they want her to be, whether that's performing originals (like the 2008 track "World Is Mine" that has nearly 13 million listens on YouTube) or covers (like this "Anaconda" rap).

And she's massive. She's not only Japan's biggest celeb on social media, but has her own upcoming expo dedicated to her in New York and Lady Gaga picked her to open her artRave: The ARTPOP Ball tour.

So, in a world where Gorillaz perform with Madonna at the GRAMMYs, it's not totally crazy that Letterman booked a CGI character for a performance. Hatsune performed her song "Sharing the World," which you'll notice is in English (listen closely!) with her real-life backing band. The starlet kept the dancing and virtual effects minimal, but look out for some fantastical virtual effects around Hatsune later in the song.

Letterman himself seemed cool with Hatsune, though we were kinda hoping for a quick interview. Still, you've got to applaud the veteran host for embracing a hologram performer on his show.

Without further ado, we give you the first-ever vocaloid performance on late-night U.S. television. Watch above.