‘Alter Ego’: Nick Lachey Breaks Down the Big Reveals in the Premiere
[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Alter Ego, Season 1, Episode 1, “The Auditions Begin.”]
Fox’s newest singing competition has finally kicked off and Alter Ego is bringing something new to the genre with its unusual blend of tech and talent.
In the series premiere on September 22, viewers were introduced to five alter egos: Queen Dynamite, Dipper Scott, Bernie Burns, Misty Rose, and Seven. Behind these avatars were five different and very real people who are all eager to share their talents despite varying challenges ranging from extreme shyness to medical conditions.
Helping determine the singers’ fates are judges Nick Lachey, Alanis Morissette, will.i.am, and Grimes, who brought their own flair to the competition. Ultimately, their shared enthusiasm for Dipper Scott (28-year-old Jake, a competitor with Crohn’s disease) advanced the singer onto the next round along with Queen Dynamite, Misty Rose, and Seven. Sadly, that left classic crooner Bernie Burns on the chopping block and he was eliminated.
Below, Lachey breaks down those twists and turns from the premiere, as well as the show’s format.
Do the avatars look the same in person as they do on TV?
Nick Lachey: I haven’t seen a complete episode yet but from what I’ve seen yeah, the alter egos, are the same as they were when we watched them on stage. It’s a credit to the tech team who put all this together and continued to work it as the show went along.
What was it about Dipper Scott’s performance that seemed to resonate with you and your fellow judges?
[What I think] was so impactful about Dipper was he sang with a real kind of raw emotion and our goal in this was to find this next-generation superstar. There are some people who just seemed to embody their alter ego better than others with the combination of their alter ego and musical style seemeing to work flawlessly together. I think Dipper was one of those people who jumped out. You’re not thinking about anything other than this alter ego and their performance. He just embodied that alter ego and it fit with the musicality he brought to the stage as well.
Are you judging performances based on vocals alone or do the avatars influence you as well?
I think it’s both. The good part of the process was that we have a chance to interview them before they perform. So we get a chance to see their persona and all the quirky things about it. When they perform I wasn’t taken out of it at all. I wasn’t sitting there thinking, I wonder who’s behind that. You buy this alter ego. You’re completely sold on this alter ego giving this powerful performance and you don’t question it for a second. And that’s a credit to the talent of the singers involved and the tech team. Everyone did such a great job [of making] those things come together flawlessly.
How much time goes into the deliberation process?
As much time as we needed. Some decisions were obviously tougher than others, and as you get further down into the competition, the talent level continues to elevate, then those decisions for obvious reasons get harder and harder. I’ve hosted singing competitions before, but it’s my first chance to be a judge, and I definitely didn’t take that for granted. These are people who are there because they love to sing. They love to perform, and they have a dream, and this is their chance to realize that dream through the persona. I realize that there’s a real passion behind each of these performers. They deserve our time and attention, and I tried to give that to them.
Bernie Berns (a.k.a. 17-year-old singer Erny) was the first singer unveiled. What was your initial reaction to that, and what can you tease about other reveals this season?
When you’re watching, you’re buying that these alter egos are giving these performances, but it’s risky to do that because so many times when they would finally unveil themselves, it was like, “wow, I did not see that coming,” which is the beauty of this show. There are a lot of lessons here. Humanity really cuts through, even with the most cutting-edge technology imaginable. You can’t judge a book by its cover.
That diamond on which contestants stand if they’re safe — will that be empty in the next episode or will Dipper Scott still occupy that spot?
If you’re on the diamond at the end of the episode, then you get a free pass onto the next round of the competition. But every episode in the audition round, we have four separate episodes of all new talent. So, it’s a clean start to every episode.
Alter Ego, Wednesdays, 9/8c, Fox