Virtual celebrities are not entirely new.
In Japan, Hatsune Miku has won a large fanbase since her 2007 debut, despite being virtual. First appearing as a voice-synthesizing program, she has featured on TV and in concert.
On Instagram, the virtual influencer and music artist Lil Miquela has some 2.8 million followers. In the UK, indie band Gorillaz consists solely of cartoon members.
But the latest hit Chinese talent show is breaking new ground.It was a computer game spin-off that sparked the idea that would evolve into Dimension Nova.
Executive producer Liu Jiachao shared, “The original idea came to us…when we saw League of Legend’s game character Akali perform ‘offline’ as a virtual idol.”
Watching Akali on screen convinced Liu that technology had progressed to a level where it could produce sophisticated virtual reality performances.
The show auditioned over 150 virtual idols before choosing 31 to become contestants on the popular show.