AGT Elvis

Elvis Presley Resurrected for America’s Got Talent by Metaphysic and Synthetic Voice Startup Respeecher

Elvis Presley took the stage for the first night of America’s Got Talent (AGT) season finale, or at least his deepfake double did. Synthetic media developer Metaphysic showed off the digital King of Rock n’ Roll performing songs and dancing to match Elvis tribute singer Emilio Santoro on the stage below. Unlike Metaphysic’s earlier entries, however, the audio performance was enhanced by synthetic voice startup Respeecher, best known for de-aging and synthesizing the voices of Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker for recent Star Wars TV shows.

Synthetic Elvis

Elvis started singing “Hound Dog” on his own, but quickly transitioned to “Devil in Disguise,” now joined by virtual versions of judges Heidi Klum and Sofia Vergara singing backup. They were quickly joined by a deepfake Simon Cowell, who sang a duet with Elvis while his real-world self sat with his jaw gaping open in astonishment at the show. Cowell regained the power of speech in time to heap praise on Metaphysic, however.

“Let’s remember what this night is all about: It’s about winning, it’s about the money, and more importantly, it’s about being in Vegas. This, in my opinion, is probably the most incredible, original act we’ve ever had,” Cowell said. “You’re so creative. You’re going to have your own show in Vegas, no question about it, at the Luxor Hotel. Get ready.”

Metaphysic brought the judges and audience to their feet in its previous performances as well. For the semi-finals, the synthetic Cowell joined virtual versions of host Terry Crews and judge Howie Mandel to sing “Nessun Dorma.” Cowell was also the center of the initial audition when his double performed “You’re the Inspiration.” The $1 million prize will be awarded Wednesday night, but the value of the exposure for Mtaphysic is far more valuable. A musical revue is one of many potential uses for the tech, but it’s easy to imagine image and song rights owners lining up to knock on Metaphysic’s door. Update: Metaphysic ended up taking fourth place.

“You indeed could create an entire Vegas show out of what Metaphysic put together. The show concept practically writes itself. This is a large group of Vegas tourists that love to watch those “vintage” acts that were popular in their youth. Now, you can even have acts where the performers have passed away,” Voicebot founder Bret Kinsella concurred in the most recent Synthedia newsletter. “A company like Veritone or Lucasfilm could have purchased Metaphysic six months ago for something in the low eight figures. No longer. The company, along with its competitors, are going to be sought after to create entirely new entertainment concepts. Beyond Las Vegas shows, you have television series, comedy specials, and feature films.”

Of course, even if there’s no synthetic musical act to come, Klum might just dragoon her colleagues into forming a real band.


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