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Alexa’s latest celebrity voices are Shaq and Melissa McCarthy

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‘Alexa, introduce me to Shaq’

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Photo by Dan Seifert / The Verge

Shaquille O’Neal and Melissa McCarthy are the latest celebrities to lend their voices to Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant, the company has announced. The two voices can provide weather reports, jokes, and personal stories when asked using the wake words “Hey Melissa” or “Hey Shaq.” Both voices cost $4.99 individually, and are rolling out in the US now.

Amazon kicked off its celebrity Alexa voices initiative with Samuel L. Jackson in 2019, and says this Alexa voice skill was the top selling digital purchase on Amazon.com the day it was launched. In 2020, the company followed up with Bollywood star Amitabh Bachchan. None of these celebrities replace Alexa’s default voice, but instead offer responses to specific requests.

If you’re after a new Alexa voice for all of your requests, then Amazon says it’s also releasing a new voice option, which you can enable with the command “Alexa, change your voice.” Separately, there’s also a new wake word, “Ziggy,” if you’re tired of the existing selection (which currently includes Alexa, Computer, Echo, and Amazon).

To enable either celebrity voices, you can ask Alexa for an introduction. The commands “Alexa, introduce me to Shaq,” or “Alexa, introduce me to Melissa” should do the trick. Alternatively, you can manually enable each skill via Amazon’s website.