'Alter Ego' Delivers Avatar Performers Thanks to Tip-Top Tech

The Night Journey avatar on Fox's 'Alter Ego'
(Image credit: Fox)

Singing competition series Alter Ego premieres on Fox Sept. 22, leading out of the season six premiere of The Masked Singer. Singing hopefuls reinvent themselves with a dream avatar, which performs in a way that showcases the singer’s performance style via motion capture technology. 

Rocsi Diaz hosts and Alanis Morissette, Grimes, Nick Lachey and will.i.am are the judges. 

At a TCA session, Matilda Zoltowski, executive producer, referred to the “amazing technology” behind Alter Ego. “We hope to get the opportunity, using the alter egos, to give singers and people who wouldn't necessarily usually be able to take part in a show or a competition like this, and give them the chance to do it,” she said. 

The avatar lets people express their true selves, according to Lachey, who described the tech as “mind-blowing.”

“You're able to watch performances where people are stepping into an alter ego and feeling truly liberated,” he said. “And maybe for the first time in their lives, feeling truly liberated as an artist, as a performer.”

Diaz said watching the avatars perform on behalf of the human contestants was “really touching and amazing.” For perhaps the first time, “they get to be liberated and be themselves,” she said. “So you really get emotionally invested in the stories of the performers and alter egos because, for the first time ever, they get to live out these experiences in such an amazing way that I think everybody at home is really, really, really going to feel what we felt while shooting this.”

Will.i.am said Diaz, who hosted 106 & Park on BET, is well suited to host Alter Ego. “I got interviewed with Rocsi on our way up to success,” he said. “And now, here are these newcomers ‑‑ these new cats that have aspirations and dreams. And Rocsi's there for that crossroad as well. She's authentic, and a cornerstone to music.”

Alter Ego will get a healthy lead-in from The Masked Singer. Lachey actually won The Masked Singer last season. “It’s unlike anything we’ve ever seen before,” he told B+C about Alter Ego. “There’s a taste of it on The Masked Singer, where you perform behind the facade of a character. But the way Alter Ego combines the artistry of the music and the mind-blowing technology of avatars, I’ve never seen.”

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.