ABC Music News

Virtual avatars? Nick Lachey weighs in on future of live performances

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Drew Herrmann/FOX

Nick Lachey is celebrating the 25th anniversary of his band, 98 Degrees, this summer and has seen how technology has evolved and enhanced live performances over the years. He saw that in action judging the music competition show Alter Ego, which had contestants perform through their virtual avatars.  

ABC Audio asked him if avatars are the future of performing live.

“I think it’s next for some,” he agreed. “Some of our biggest influencers in the world are actually computer generated avatars,” Nick noted. “[An avatar] allows an artist to feel like they can express themselves creatively in ways that they maybe felt handcuffed to do in the past.”

With Alter Ego, contestants from all walks of life create their a virtual avatar to perform on stage as they control it from backstage using a special motion capture bodysuit during their performances.  

“I’m all about discovering talent and creativity,” Nick said of the show’s unique way of discovering new voices that otherwise were not given the chance to shine. “If this technology provides that opportunity for someone, I think that’s amazing. I think we should embrace that.” 

The “Hardest Thing” singer noted that an avatar can provide “an opportunity, a platform, if you wanted to take your career in that direction,” especially for those who are “paralyzed by” stage fright. Nick said the avatars can help certain people “circumvent” their stage fright and “present their amazing talent to the world.”

So, would Nick ever use one? “I love being onstage. I actually enjoy the anxiety, the butterflies. I would never want to have my career go in that direction because I enjoy the live performance element of it.”

Alter Ego is now streaming on Hulu.

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