Virtual Pop Singer Hatsune Miku Performs on David Letterman - Update

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Virtual Pop Singer Hatsune Miku Performs on David Letterman - Update

The most popular hologram this side of Tupac makes her late night U.S. TV debut.

Update: We have added video of her performance on the show -- David interacting with her after the song is as weird as you would expect.

Original Story: The first two-thirds of The Late Show with David Letterman's lineup tonight is late night standard fare. CNN and CBS journalist/personality Anderson Cooper leads off, followed by Jane the Virgin's Gina Rodriguez. But the musical guest is going to be quite the system shock.

Hatsune Miku is performing on Letterman tonight, too, as the Japanese virtual pop star is set to perform in front of her largest U.S. audience yet. The performance comes a day before Universal Positivity opens, a New York City art expo dedicated to the V-Pop star.

So where does Hatsune Miku come from? For the uninitiated (myself included), Hatsune is a Vocaloid -- a computer apparition that sings by processing melody and lyrics. She was created by the Sapporo-based Crypton Future Media, and Hatsune's voice is sampled from Japanese voice actress Saki Fujita. The samples have been processed through several software programs, including Yamaha Vocaloid 2 and Vocaloid 3.

Hatsune Miku has her own manga series, Hatsune Miku: Unofficial Hatsune Mix, and has made a number of appearances in other manga, and anime. Hatsune also has a video game series published by Sega, Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA. The latest in this series, Hatsune Miku: Project Diva f 2nd, will be released next month in the U.S. for the PlayStation 3, and PS Vita.

Along with appearing in various media, Hatsune also performs live shows, which is what tonight's Letterman appearance will likely be. A holographic projection image of Hatsune will be paired with her Vocaloid track, and there's no doubt that everyone in the Letterman audience is going to be weirded the heck out.

Source: CBS, Letterman (Twitter)

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Not sure if this is the weirdest news I've read here on the Escapist today ....
or the one about EA apologizing for battlefield's 4 broken launch....

I guess now that Letterman is retiring he wants to leave with a bang ....

Of course they'll be weirded out by it, they're the american viewing public, and this is an 8ft tall holographic fetishised schoolgirl with green hair singing autotune.

JoJoDelight:
Of course they'll be weirded out by it, they're the american viewing public, and this is an 8ft tall holographic fetishised schoolgirl with green hair singing autotune.

More so in that Letterman's audience is primarily the over-40 demographic, so we're talking about people to whom Japanese culture in general, let alone anime, are... well, foreign.

I was curious about this as I've seen someone in an MMO run about with a similar name, wondered what it was all about, but could never be bothered to look it up. Secondly, having then found out it's a Vocaloid based act I was intrigued; we use it with an English library (Avanna) to mock up vocal tracks for session singers, giving them a (very) rough idea of what is needed. Very useful if the vocalist is in a vastly different time zone or on the other side of the planet.

Vocaloid is not difficult to use but requires a lot of patience and experience, basically. Even the best people using it manage to produce something so goddamn awful that, in some respects, it would be better to attempt to fart the tune into a microphone after a particularly good curry. Certainly the intonation would be better...

So, with some interest, I clicked the 'live' YouTube link and watched it with an expression that someone would make if they walked into their hotel room after the turndown service and, instead of finding a fresh mint on the pillow, found a freshly coiled turd instead; a growing mixture of horror, disbelief and screw-your-face-up disgust.

I am of the opinion that there can be no such thing as 'bad music' if someone else likes it. It might not be to my taste, but I can appreciate why others might enjoy it - I lump things like boy bands, doom metal, Wagner and Britney Spears into this category. Maybe not Britney.

This brings me to my conundrum. I cannot find any reason to believe that people would like this and yet, clearly there they all are, thousands of the tone-deaf fans, waving their RGB-colour-matched glowsticks in time with the poorly-modelled hair physics. I think I am going to get stuck in a logical quandary from which there is no escape.

This is just the wrong audience. I could see this working on Jimmy Fallon, but the dinosaurs that typically watch Letterman will be too weirded out by the techness of it and the japanness of it.

IndieForever:
I cannot find any reason to believe that people would like this and yet, clearly there they all are, thousands of the tone-deaf fans, waving their RGB-colour-matched glowsticks in time with the poorly-modelled hair physics.

Possibility A is the surrounding enterprise of fetishized schoolgirls, which is BIG in Japan.

Possibility B, to which I attribute myself liking a few of the "songs", is treating the "voice" as an instrument rather than actual vocals(helped along by not understanding the tiniest bit of it), think of it like a choir, but J-pop.

Possibility C is dubstep: there are people who like to listen to the brown note all day, that's the Japanese equivalent.

The musician(s) who work on the songs really matter and I've seen that live hologram concert a couple of years ago, so its pretty dated.

But there are some great artists out there like AVTechNO who experiments with some really different styles within techno:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2KvVf92Fp1I&

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CNbPM4bmnXw

I'll be checking it out. The vocaloids are a 'guilty' (not really) pleasure.

PerfectDeath:
But there are some great artists out there like AVTechNO who experiments with some really different styles

It's not the music or the backing band that makes me want to gouge out my inner ear with a blunt knitting needle - it's that horrific Vocaloid. Everything is going fine until that backstage sadist hits 'play' on the vocal track at which point the sensory assault begins. It sounds like the offspring of a satanic union between a gerbil and an autotuner.

The thing with Vocaloid libraries is they have a very limited useful range. Avanna is the only English library available and, happily, it's one of the best but it still starts to sound very off when pushed into the lower registers. When I say 'best', though, it's like saying 'I got the best STD.' The lovely Miku's lyrics have a frequency range pitched somewhere between 'Dog' and 'VHF Radio' which, coupled with the lack of desire/effort/skill to remove the autotuned sound, makes gargling with broken glass seem a more attractive option than sitting through any more. It probably could sound a lot more polished but, hey, who am I to argue with the glowstick brigade?

Naqel:
Possibility C is dubstep: there are people who like to listen to the brown note all day, that's the Japanese equivalent.

That's the one I'm going for. People pay to be tied up and whipped as well, so it makes a certain kind of sense. Below is the very best I could find on YT - quite a good job, but you can hear it get into trouble on the lower notes as I mentioned above. Even so, I don't think I could keep a straight face if people offered to pay to listen to our Vocaloid guidance tracks...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CwbXqHxNCqc

Ummmmm, Mayhaps I'm not up to date at Lettermans audience demographic but I think a lot of people are going to be very confused.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wHhluDhVtjU

A link where bunch of elderly people react to Vocaloids. They weren't overtly weirded out I think.

Still, I am staying the hell away from any comment sections regarding this episode. I feel that a "certain" types of people will be leaving comments there that will destroy whatever is left of my love for humanity.

So when will she sing a Duet with the Voyager's EMH?
I'd totally love to see that.

I've been a Vocaloid fan since the first English game came out last year. I do NOT endorse being on Letterman at all. I thought it was strange when Gaga had Miku open for her tour. I think this is just another bad experiment that's doomed to fail. I doubt major J-Pop stars would go on American TV of this kind, but this did? Conventions, Vocaloid-branded tours, or gaming/anime style festivals I could understand. This seems like an overreach to the wrong type of audience.

I want to see this.....but I don't stay up that late anymore really.

Why not? As someone who went to see the Gorillaz live before they got all hologrammy, I am in no position to critique. :)

If this kinda of thing is going to be shown to audiences that cater to shows like Letterman's, I totally want a Dr. Kreiger hologram in the audience, just to weird them out some more. (His anime hologram bride sitting next to him would be even better.)

Also, Vocaloid just sounds like some sort of anime about fighting by singing (and friendship, of course). Whenever I am reminded CGI anime pop stars exist, I get the feeling some would make a show like that (and very likely not the first).

I'm not sure, but I don't think Crypton would license an anime or game adaptation (outside of PDF anyway). I don't think the Vocaloids/UTAUloids are characters per se. Most of the stuff known about them is just fan attributed weirdness. Some of the stuff fans came up with makes my head hurt. For example, a moving octopus head mascot for Luka, Teto being a chimera (um), and the whole plays off Miku's name like Hagane or Zatsune. Don't get me started on Ritsu. If any culture could get away with all this though, it's Japan.

A.K.B.:
Not sure if this is the weirdest news I've read here on the Escapist today ....
or the one about EA apologizing for battlefield's 4 broken launch....

EA has long had a apology policy about just about everything people have complained about. It still doesn't mean they won't keep doing things that need apologies in the future..

IndieForever:

PerfectDeath:
But there are some great artists out there like AVTechNO who experiments with some really different styles

It's not the music or the backing band that makes me want to gouge out my inner ear with a blunt knitting needle - it's that horrific Vocaloid. Everything is going fine until that backstage sadist hits 'play' on the vocal track at which point the sensory assault begins. It sounds like the offspring of a satanic union between a gerbil and an autotuner.

The thing with Vocaloid libraries is they have a very limited useful range. Avanna is the only English library available and, happily, it's one of the best but it still starts to sound very off when pushed into the lower registers. When I say 'best', though, it's like saying 'I got the best STD.' The lovely Miku's lyrics have a frequency range pitched somewhere between 'Dog' and 'VHF Radio' which, coupled with the lack of desire/effort/skill to remove the autotuned sound, makes gargling with broken glass seem a more attractive option than sitting through any more. It probably could sound a lot more polished but, hey, who am I to argue with the glowstick brigade?

Naqel:
Possibility C is dubstep: there are people who like to listen to the brown note all day, that's the Japanese equivalent.

That's the one I'm going for. People pay to be tied up and whipped as well, so it makes a certain kind of sense. Below is the very best I could find on YT - quite a good job, but you can hear it get into trouble on the lower notes as I mentioned above. Even so, I don't think I could keep a straight face if people offered to pay to listen to our Vocaloid guidance tracks...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CwbXqHxNCqc

I dont have any strong feelings about this vocaloid business, or feelings at all...but its sort of lousy to keep parroting the 'Im sure someone likes it for whatever reason and thats totally fine!' while piling on such nasty descriptors.

Dont try peddle some 'each to their own' idea, when you're clearly trying to sow negativity with every word.

Well my mum liked it. After I spent half the performance explaining what was actually going on.

Don't know if it's region locked, but the direct link to the performance video on cbs: http://www.cbs.com/shows/late_show/video/3E480A6E-1DFD-75EC-BE74-F1CC9CEB5A4F/hatsune-miku-sharing-the-world-david-letterman/

Interesting to watch, but when I saw the screen at the beginning it kind of ruined the illusion.

Elijin:

IndieForever:

PerfectDeath:
But there are some great artists out there like AVTechNO who experiments with some really different styles

It's not the music or the backing band that makes me want to gouge out my inner ear with a blunt knitting needle - it's that horrific Vocaloid. Everything is going fine until that backstage sadist hits 'play' on the vocal track at which point the sensory assault begins. It sounds like the offspring of a satanic union between a gerbil and an autotuner.
...

I dont have any strong feelings about this vocaloid business, or feelings at all...but its sort of lousy to keep parroting the 'Im sure someone likes it for whatever reason and thats totally fine!' while piling on such nasty descriptors.

Dont try peddle some 'each to their own' idea, when you're clearly trying to sow negativity with every word.

Not sure that's a fair criticism - that was Indie's precise point. He/she is saying that *normally* they are all for the 'someone, somewhere likes it but it's not for me' attitude, but *in this case* they can't maintain it because they can't imagine how *anyone* could like something so objectively awful.

I have some sympathy with that position - but on the other hand I've come to the same conclusion about the whole Anime genre after being subjected to about twelve different series by my daughter and hating every one of them, so I'm not sure I'm the best judge.

(In all seriousness - I just don't get it. Every single anime I have ever seen is an assault on the senses like my brain is being pounded with hammers. I can recognise that some of them are aesthetically impressive, and many of them have an underlying story that could conceivably be interesting, but they are just so *exhausting*!)

(Black Butler was ok)

Flatfrog:

Not sure that's a fair criticism - that was Indie's precise point. He/she is saying that *normally* they are all for the 'someone, somewhere likes it but it's not for me' attitude, but *in this case* they can't maintain it because they can't imagine how *anyone* could like something so objectively awful.

I have some sympathy with that position - but on the other hand I've come to the same conclusion about the whole Anime genre after being subjected to about twelve different series by my daughter and hating every one of them, so I'm not sure I'm the best judge.

(In all seriousness - I just don't get it. Every single anime I have ever seen is an assault on the senses like my brain is being pounded with hammers. I can recognise that some of them are aesthetically impressive, and many of them have an underlying story that could conceivably be interesting, but they are just so *exhausting*!)

(Black Butler was ok)

So...its okay to talk down at any of the fans, and bash the whole concept, because you dont like it either?

Elijin:

Flatfrog:

Not sure that's a fair criticism - that was Indie's precise point. He/she is saying that *normally* they are all for the 'someone, somewhere likes it but it's not for me' attitude, but *in this case* they can't maintain it because they can't imagine how *anyone* could like something so objectively awful.

I have some sympathy with that position - but on the other hand I've come to the same conclusion about the whole Anime genre after being subjected to about twelve different series by my daughter and hating every one of them, so I'm not sure I'm the best judge.

(In all seriousness - I just don't get it. Every single anime I have ever seen is an assault on the senses like my brain is being pounded with hammers. I can recognise that some of them are aesthetically impressive, and many of them have an underlying story that could conceivably be interesting, but they are just so *exhausting*!)

(Black Butler was ok)

So...its okay to talk down at any of the fans, and bash the whole concept, because you dont like it either?

Yawn. Yes. In a lighthearted tone, yes. Get over it.

I accept that some people like things I don't like. As I say, my daughter is a complete anime obsessive. I personally think it's terrible and I can argue my point about why I think it's terrible, just as Indie made a clear argument about why these virtual singers are terrible. I don't think you are in any way inferior to me for disagreeing, and an attack on the things you like is not an attack on you. OK?

The Rogue Wolf:

JoJoDelight:
Of course they'll be weirded out by it, they're the american viewing public, and this is an 8ft tall holographic fetishised schoolgirl with green hair singing autotune.

More so in that Letterman's audience is primarily the over-40 demographic, so we're talking about people to whom Japanese culture in general, let alone anime, are... well, foreign.

Japaneese Anime-culture is foreign to gamers like ourselves. It's outright alien to 40+ mainstream americans.

Flatfrog:

Elijin:

Flatfrog:

Not sure that's a fair criticism - that was Indie's precise point. He/she is saying that *normally* they are all for the 'someone, somewhere likes it but it's not for me' attitude, but *in this case* they can't maintain it because they can't imagine how *anyone* could like something so objectively awful.

I have some sympathy with that position - but on the other hand I've come to the same conclusion about the whole Anime genre after being subjected to about twelve different series by my daughter and hating every one of them, so I'm not sure I'm the best judge.

(In all seriousness - I just don't get it. Every single anime I have ever seen is an assault on the senses like my brain is being pounded with hammers. I can recognise that some of them are aesthetically impressive, and many of them have an underlying story that could conceivably be interesting, but they are just so *exhausting*!)

(Black Butler was ok)

So...its okay to talk down at any of the fans, and bash the whole concept, because you dont like it either?

Yawn. Yes. In a lighthearted tone, yes. Get over it.

I accept that some people like things I don't like. As I say, my daughter is a complete anime obsessive. I personally think it's terrible and I can argue my point about why I think it's terrible, just as Indie made a clear argument about why these virtual singers are terrible. I don't think you are in any way inferior to me for disagreeing, and an attack on the things you like is not an attack on you. OK?

Well, you didnt attack anyone, but Indie certainly did. Also I dont care for it either, I just think there is a rather nasty status quo where things people dont like get attacked, and their fans for liking them.

I'd love to see actual reactions from the main crowd that see this. Most young americans don't know fuck about japan but anyone over 30? god this thing is gonna either confuse, anger or terrify them or all three.

Dear lord, is this the Vocaloid thing I hear so much about? It sounded like something you get out of your miis in tomadachi life.

It was worth just to see the utterly incredible look of 'I'm too old for this' wash over Letterman's face.

Unfortunately Miku's actual performance was with a not terribly great English pack/mix and not her most dynamic song even though its the one for the convention so I didn't enjoy it as much as usual.

Is it wrong that while the song makes me want to ram knitting needles into my ears, I simultaneously think that the absurdity of this makes it one of the most awesome things ever?

What on earth was that thing? What sort of technology makes it move and speak? So this is the "Letter Man" thing I've heard of. It's not very convincing.

Hatsune Miku was great though :)

Every time I see Miku being mentioned, by mind instantly goes to Krieger's girlfriend from Archer, and I laugh. Must be my coping mechanism for the weirdness of it.

Mcoffey:
This is just the wrong audience. I could see this working on Jimmy Fallon, but the dinosaurs that typically watch Letterman will be too weirded out by the techness of it and the japanness of it.

My sentiments exactly... except that every audience is the wrong audience with Hatsune Miku.

Mcoffey:
This is just the wrong audience. I could see this working on Jimmy Fallon, but the dinosaurs that typically watch Letterman will be too weirded out by the techness of it and the japanness of it.

That's why they are doing it. Letterman can still be hip and cool is the message they are trying to put out.

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