Will New Talent Show ‘Alter Ego’ Return for a Second Season?

Jill O'Rourke
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Alter Ego finaleGreg Gayne/FOX

Alter Ego just finished its first season on FOX. The talent show puts a new twist on the classic singing competition by having contestants perform as digital avatars using motion capture. Dipper Scott (aka Jacob Thomsen) was named the winner of the first season, as judge Will.i.am offered to match the $100,000 prize to pay his medical bills.

The first season featured some seriously talented people and interesting technology, but it was unfortunately bogged down by overcomplicated rules and a panel of judges that didn’t seem to know what they were looking for. This, coupled with the show’s lackluster ratings, means a second season is looking pretty unlikely.

Will ‘Alter Ego’ Return for Season 2?

Alter Ego debuted in September to just under 3 million viewers, and the ratings never got higher than that this season. At its lowest point, the show attracted 1.741 million viewers. Compare that to its lead-in The Masked Singer, which has stayed at over 4 million viewers for most of the current season.

People don’t seem to be hanging around after The Masked Singer ends each Wednesday. They also don’t seem to be particularly engaged with Alter Ego on social media. The show has 18,000 followers on Twitter compared to The Masked Singer‘s 327,000. This season’s winner Jake Thomsen, meanwhile, still has fewer than 4,000 followers on Instagram.

The show also isn’t a hit on IMDb, where it has a score of 3.9 out of 10. In the reviews, some viewers have problems with how the avatars look, while others find the show’s premise of boosting singers’ confidence by covering them up to be problematic. “I would have preferred to watch the actual singers overcome their anxiety in a healthy way,” wrote one reviewer.

It doesn’t help that the show had some pretty complicated rules for who moves on each week. Between the diamond, the audience vote, the judges’ save, and the audience tie-breaker, there were too many methods of save and elimination, and they changed from week to week. At the end of the season, the audience didn’t even have a say in who won the show despite making decisions throughout the competition.


If the Show Does Return, What Should Change?

Considering the judging panel has some pretty big names, there’s always chance Alter Ego will return for a second season. If it does, it needs to make some changes to clean up the concept.

First, the judges need to have a much clearer idea of what they want, aside from saying they’re looking for the “next generation digital superstar” every five minutes. What does that entail? Is a unique avatar more important than a technically good singing voice? Why would judge Nick Lachey call Seven’s finale performance “perfect,” but then vote for Dipper Scott as the winner?

One thing that could help make things clearer is if the judges scored the contestants on a few different criteria, such as vocal performance, stage presence, and use of the motion capture technology. They should also probably do away with the diamond, because it just makes things too complicated.

What did you think about the first season of Alter Ego? Would you watch another season? Let us know in the comments.

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