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Amazon is retiring its celebrity voice feature on Alexa

So long, Samuel L. Jackson, Melissa McCarthy, and Shaq – hello, good ol’ robotic monotone.

Amazon dot fourth generation on a wooden table
Image: KnowTechie

Amazon’s Alexa has had a brief flirtation with the stars, but it looks like their party is getting cut short, reports The Verge.

Since 2019, we’ve gotten some kicks out of Amazon’s neural text-to-speech model, making these famous voices sound more lifelike.

But let’s be honest: who was really shelling out five bucks to ask Sam Jackson for tomorrow’s weather forecast? There were even discounts at launch.

Anyway, no one can say they didn’t see this coming.

Shaq alexa
Image: Amazon

 “After three years, we’re winding down celebrity voices,” Amazon spokesperson Eric Sveum wrote in a statement. “Customers will be able to continue using these voices for a limited time, and can contact our customer service team for a refund.”

Don’t worry; if you’re already on a first-name basis with your celebrity voice assistant, there’s still some time left to cherish those last anecdotes and dad jokes.

If you purchased Samuel L., savor that candid camaraderie until June 7th, but if you opted for Melissa or Shaq, enjoy their wit and wisdom till September 30th.

There isn’t any clear-cut explanation from Amazon as to why they’ve given these idols the boot.

But between the limited adoption rate, the downright weird restrictions on how much assistance celebrities could provide (sorry, no shopping lists or reminders), and massive losses in Amazon’s devices segment…well, all signs point to an inevitable exit.

So, enjoy asking your favorite celebrity about “Bridesmaids” and playing rock, paper, scissors while you can because it seems like Amazon is going back to basics.

Raise a toast to the gimmicks that were fun while they lasted, and brace yourself for another wave of billion-dollar corporate cost-cutting decisions.

As you lean into your plain-Jane, tech-enabled existence, never forget that time when Shaq helped set your alarm clock. RIP celebrity voices on Alexa – it was fun (and weird), but now the party is over.

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Kevin is KnowTechie's founder and executive editor. With over 15 years of blogging experience in the tech industry, Kevin has transformed what was once a passion project into a full-blown tech news publication. Shoot him an email at or find him on Mastodon or Post.

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