America’s Got Talent

Watch a Virtual Simon Cowell Perform for ‘America’s Got Talent’


A synthetic Simon Cowell performed for the flesh-and-blood version during the most recent episode of America’s Got Talent. Synthetic media producer Metaphysic introduced the AI Cowell, who lip-synced a performance by former America’s Got Talent contestant Daniel Emmet of  “You’re the Inspiration” by Chicago.

Synthetic Talent

The show clip sees Metaphysic’s co-founders Tom Graham and Chris Ume on stage explaining their company nad the way synthetic media works before bowing out as Emmet walks on for what Cowell called a “mysterious” act.  As Emmet began to sing, a projection of Simon Cowell matched to his facial movements was projected onto the large screen behind him. Cowell, who struggled to even look at his doppelganger, appeared to perform for the live audience, a first for Metaphysic. The audience enthusiastically roared approval for the AI singer, joined afterward by the briefly shy judge whose virtual face had garnered so much applause.

“The aim of our performance was always to harness the power of AI and synthetic media to create entertaining and meaningful content to delight the audience. Graham and Ume explained in a blog post. As we are so used to producing content online, it was incredible to see such a positive reaction from a live audience. Simon obviously loved it, and stressed the surreal nature of the act in the sense of watching himself perform something he did not, or potentially could not, do.”

Metaphysic Reality

Metaphysic first gained fame for creating a virtual Tom Cruise by synthesizing new videos from existing video and audio. The company recently helped Aloe Blacc honor Avicii in his multilingual version of “Wake Me Up,” digitally syncing his lip movements to the performance produced by audio synthetic media platform Respeecher. As for the startup’s AGT future, the performance earned four yes votes from the judges, but the live round finalists have not been chosen yet. As a brand awareness and marketing ploy, however, Metaphysic scored a solid win, even from the notoriously tough judge, Cowell.

“I’ve always said, is there such a thing as a perfect contestant?” Cowell asked. “We’ve just found them!”

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