Amazon says that when they released the special Samuel L. Jackson guest celebrity on Alexa, it became their top-selling digital purchase on its release day. So they decided to bring some other celebrity guests that users can “interact with” on their Alexa-powered devices. You can now pay to have Shaquille O’Neal give you some of his rap stylings or Melissa McCarthy tell you a funny story as part of the Alexa experience on your smart speakers or mobile devices.
If you tell your Alexa device “Hey Melissa” or “Hey Shaq”, you will be able to hear their respective personalities in things like weather information, a joke, or a personal story. You can also say “Hey Shaq, rap for me” and he’ll share with you some of his vocal stylings from his second career (or third if you include acting). If you feel more like hearing funny things, say “Hey Melissa, tell me a story” and you may get a dad joke.
To get started, you’ll have to purchase either (or both) of the personalities to add to your account. Then you’ll have to say “Alexa, introduce me to Shaq” or “Alexa, introduce me to Melissa” so you can start listening to them or asking them to do things or some questions that have pre-recorded answers. Amazon is hoping to get the same level of success that they had with Samuel L. Jackson, although of course these two celebrities’ personalities may be different.
Aside from these two additions to the Alexa experience, users can now choose between the original Alexa voice and a new male voice option. Just say “Alexa, change your voice” to switch to the new voice option. You can also now add another option to your wake word, Ziggy. The other available wake words are Alexa, Computer, Echo, or Amazon. So to change, just say “Alexa, change your wake word” and then choose from the available options.
The Shaq and Melissa Alexa personalities are now available for $4.99 each. It seems to be available only in the U.S.