The rise of social media usage — and all of the sub-cultural occurrences, practices, and influences that have arisen out of its omnipresence— has seemingly helped to make our species less adept at being more human in real life.
People who seem accomplished, attractive, competent, etc. in their Instagram, TikTok, or Snapchat posts, oftentimes are a huge letdown in actuality. Heck, folks are even opting to use their Bitmojis and iPhone avatars as the basis for their online presences, but one of these Alter Ego judges argues that this isn't necessarily a bad thing.
Who are the judges for Fox's 'Alter Ego'?
If you aren't familiar with the show's premise, spoiler alert: It's a singing competition. Yes, you're probably wondering to yourself, "Why in the heck would we need another one of these shows? Let me guess, everyone has a sob story about how they overcame their fear of potato chips [or insert personal struggle here] in order to stand tall in front of an audience and live out their dreams?"
But this series operates a little differently, and that's because judges Alanis Morissette, Grimes, Nick Lachey, and will.i.am don't see the performers who are auditioning. Well, at least not the actual performers.
Instead, the panel of judges will see an avatar of the competitor's own creation as they audition.
This layer of artifice may sound like something a Kardashian would pull off, you know, without injecting bits of this and that into various parts of their bodies in order to look great in a well-lit selfie, but it actually seems like to be an amalgamation of popular premises as of late. The first that comes to mind is The Masked Singer, and maybe even some of the recent success that Doja Cat's been accomplishing with her complete ownership of an e-girl aesthetic.
But one of the show's own judges, Nick Lachey, was involved with one of the most popular dating reality series in recent history: Love is Blind, in which he and his wife Vanessa helped to conduct an experiment to see if people could really fall in love and build long-lasting relationships with each other after committing to getting married without even seeing what the other person looks like.
While it's rather easy to decry this obsession towards avatar-ism as pushing us one step closer to making the 2009 Bruce Willis Sci-Fi film Surrogates a reality, Grimes (real name Claire Boucher) talked about the "torment" of being forced to look a certain way in the music industry, stating that there is an immense pressure to be attractive.
"It’s tormenting. It sucks. I wanted to really care about making beats, and when my career first started, everyone was on my appearance because I didn’t wear makeup, and then I just slowly started feeling this pressure to be physically beautiful," she told USA Today.
The Alter Ego judge also stated that she suffered from intense stage fright early on in her career.
With artists being able to "hide" behind an avatar, they can focus solely on their music and not worry about how they're going to look. It could help both the judges of the show and viewers at home gain exposure to artists who otherwise may not be able to perform on a stage and battling the thought of everyone looking at them.
Grimes stated that the show's unique format could potentially help contestants experimenting with gender fluidity, something she touched on while she participated in a recent photoshoot: "Actually, just yesterday I did a photoshoot where I dressed up as a man and I don’t even do that much."
She continued, "I was like, man, I should do this more. It just feels good and in the show, I feel like people were doing that, just sort of being like, I’m going to try this.
Alter Ego debuts on Wednesday, September 22, 2021 on FOX at 9 p.m. EST.