Grimes talks her new show 'Alter Ego' and feeling 'pressure to be physically beautiful'

Kelly Lawler

Grimes is about to introduce a generation of singers who may not have to go through some of the struggles that she did. 

The musical artist is a judge on Fox's new singing competition "Alter Ego" (Wednesday, Sept. 22, 9 EDT/PDT), in which the contestants sing their hearts out hidden behind computer generated avatars. It's like "The Voice" meets your favorite video game.

Speaking to reporters at a Television Critics Association panel Wednesday, Grimes talked about the freedom afforded to contestants on the series to avoid judgment about their appearances – much like the kind she experienced early in her career. 

The contestants don't have to worry about being "evaluated" on how they look, Grimes said, "especially for women in this industry."

"It's tormenting. It sucks. I wanted to really care about making beats, and when my career first started, everyone was (expletive) on my appearance because I didn't wear makeup, and then I just slowly started feeling this pressure to be physically beautiful," she said.

Singer Grimes is one of the judges of Fox's "Alter Ego," where singers compete behind the guise of a CGI avatar.

She explained that she has been able to shake off that pressure as her career progressed. "Now that I'm getting older I'm like, 'Man I hate that, I don't care about that,' " she said. "I feel like this show is accelerating a lot of these ideas that could really democratize the music industry and make it less about people who look the part."

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Grimes also said she related to a lot of the contestants who weren't necessarily super comfortable performing as themselves. 

"I have huge stage fright," she said. "I believe I'm a writer and a producer and I love designing performances but I have really bad mental health effects from being a front person. I find it quite emotionally intense. … It's very hard to find a world class performer in the same body as one who is making sick beats and writing sick songs. That's a rarity."

Grimes said "the show sort of represents a future in music where there's a lot more possibility for different types of brains. … To me, and to a lot of the contestants, this show represented a lot of opportunity. We don't need to be super confident, always good on camera, always happy to perform without anxiety."

Nick Lachey, and Alanis Morrissette will join Grimes at the judges' table for the series, which premieres with a two-night event Sept. 22 and 23 on Fox.

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