How Does ‘Alter Ego’s Competition Actually Work? The Digital Competition Unpacked
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We’ve talked a lot about the technology that goes into the new FOX singing competition series Alter Ego. Singers get to use motion capture to perform as avatars, without their true appearance being shown to the judges.
But what about how the actual competition works? Because the show is prerecorded, viewers at home don’t have a say in which contestants move on to the next round. However, there are a few rules regarding elimination that were introduced during the season premiere.
How Does ‘Alter Ego’ Decide Who Gets Eliminated?
There are three ways for a contestant to be saved from elimination in the first round of the competition. The first is by finishing the episode on something called “the diamond.” This is exactly what it sounds like — a platform shaped like a diamond on which the contestants (meaning their avatars) stand one at a time.
The first contestant on the diamond is the first contestant to perform during the episode. With each subsequent performance, the judges vote on whether or not the contestant was good enough to replace whoever is currently on the diamond. The contestant who finishes the episode on the diamond automatically moves on to the head-to-head round.
Another way to get saved from elimination is through a vote from the live studio audience. They decide two contestants they want to see in the next round. The remaining two contestants are then up for the judges’ save. The judges vote on which singer they want to save from elimination. If they’re tied, it goes to the audience to decide.
Whichever contestant isn’t saved by the judges is then eliminated from the competition. They reveal their true identity to the panel in one final performance. The four remaining contestants will then move on to the head-to-head round.
Are the Show’s Rules Too Complicated?
By using “the diamond,” Alter Ego seems to be mimicking previous talent shows such as The Four and The X Factor — both used the concept of switching contestants in and out on chairs or rings during the competition.
But is this complicating things too much? Considering the judges have to vote to put people on the diamond, why not just have them vote on their favorite singer instead of adding another gimmick to the elimination process? Or have the audience vote for three contestants instead of two, and let the judges save one of the remaining singers.
Another aspect of the competition that has us a little confused is the final reveal of the eliminated contestant. We were expecting them to show their face and maybe have a quick chat with the judges, not actually perform a song as their normal selves. Isn’t the whole point of the show to give singers a confidence boost by allowing them to perform as someone else?
If the contestants are already shy about performing on stage, we’d imagine having to perform as themselves when they’ve just been eliminated would be an especially nerve-racking experience.