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Since its premiere on January 2, 2019, everyone has been buzzing about FOX’s new competition series The Masked Singer. With so many talent and singing competition series out there, The Masked Singer changes things up by hiding celebrities under elaborate costumes leaving fans and the judges to guess who is under the masks. As the show continues to gain popularity, it just keeps getting weirder, but in a wonderful way and might just be in the next biggest reality series. With everyone talking about it, here is everything you need to know about the quirky new series The Masked Singer:
The Masked Singer is an ongoing competition which started with 12 disguised celebrity competitors. Each week they face off two at a time and the audience votes for a winner. After each competing duo performs, one is named the winner and is safe while the other is “at risk” of being unmasked. At the end of every episode, after each set of competitors has gone, the judges eliminate one of the “at risk” celebrities who are then unmasked and their identity is revealed.
The Masked Singer isn’t actually new, although it may be to North American audiences. The US version of the series is based on the South Korean format that was created by Mun Hwa Broadcasting Corp called The King of Mask Singer. The Korean series began airing in 2015, and very quickly became a popular series that even featured Ryan Reynolds dancing while dressed as a Unicorn to promote Deadpool 2.
The Masked Singer brought together an interesting group of stars to serve as judges. Singer Robin Thicke, actress and TV host Jenny McCarthy, singer Nicole Scherzinger, and actor Ken Jeong each try their best to correctly identify the celebrity under the mask before elimination. Robin Thicke opened up about his interest in judging the show, saying, “What I really like about it is that it’s really the only whodunit—or whosangit—show on television, and the fact that it’s all well-known celebrities…So the people under the mask are really the star of the show.”
While the celebrity contestants face-off by singing, their singing talent isn’t the only clue that the judges and audience get as to what their real identity is. “Every celebrity gets to pick their alter ego of who they want to be and that’s how we try to figure out—or try to figure out—who they are, based on their costumes, based on their film clues and also their performances,” McCarthy said. Additionally the judges get clues in pre-taped interviews as to who the masked celebrities are, although it is made more difficult because their voices have been distorted, but they do use their real voices when singing.
Many fans of America’s Got Talent were shocked when Nick Cannon exited the series as host, but it didn’t take long for him to find a new hosting job, this time on The Masked Singer. When asked why he agreed to host the new series, Cannon joked, “Because it is ridiculous.” He added, ” I don’t like to just host anything. After America’s Got Talent, I was like ‘I’m kind done hosting TV shows,’ and this came about.” He added that he heard about the “phenomenon” that the Korean version had already created and he said that The Masked Singer was “different and unique enough” for him to get back in front of the camera.
One of the biggest draws for Fox when bringing the show to North American audiences was the fact there is not just one demographic who would enjoy it, leaving the audience base wide open. “This show is aimed at everyone from 6 to 60 or from 8 to 80, whatever it is,” Rob Wade the head of Fox’s alternative programming said.
When it comes to reality shows that use celebrities as the draw, the problem is getting big enough stars to make it worthwhile. But unlike shows such as Dancing With the Stars that require a lot of time and commitment, The Masked Singer only requires very little from the stars, which means big-named celebrities are more likely to participate. The commitment for the stars was only eight days over the course of a month, and all they really had to do was put on a costume—no hair and makeup required—and sing a song. “It’s very difficult to find someone that everybody knows. So of course, within that, there will be some your kids will know or your parents will know. I feel very strongly that this is a very, well-known cast, and I know most of the people all of you in here will recognize when they pull that mask off,” Rob Wade said of the star-power of the cast.
Although the main point of The Masked Singer is to try to guess the celebrity given their costume and any hints they may give, great lengths off-stage are given to make sure no-one knows who is who. “They were in a completely separate area until they were fully in their costumes. Even their entourage and their representation had to wear masks too if they were on set. So we never knew who these people or any of their crew was,” Nick Cannon said of ensuring the identities didn’t get leaked, especially to the judges who have to guess. The competitors also have access to voice coaches, choreographers and a production team, “so they actually get to put it all together,” he added.
Ken Jeong is the first person to appear on the original Korean series and the new series, and revealed he couldn’t turn it down because his parents are such big fans. The actor and comedian said at first he had no interest in participating as a judge, but his mother told him he had to do it because she loves the Korean show so much.
When The Masked Singer premiered it was called everything from “absurd” to “ridiculous” but that didn’t stop it from raking in insane ratings. Fox 13 said it was “an instant pop culture hit, with 15.3 million multi-platform viewers, and Wednesday’s episode topping Hulu and FOX NOW as the network’s most-streamed episode ever.” Deadline also reported, “The Masked Singer had the highest rated unscripted debut on any network in seven years, excluding post-NFL, since The X Factor launch in September 2011.”
The Masked Singer airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET on Fox. and some of the remaining guesses are Terry Bradshaw and Peyton Manning for the Deer, Tori Spelling for the Unicorn, and Rumer Willis as the Lion.
In case you are just joining The Masked Singer, here is a recap of what is happening and who has been revealed. The characters competing are the Peacock, the Hippopotamus, the Lion, the Alien, the Rabbit, the Unicorn , the Monster, the Deer, the Pineapple, the Poodle, the Bee and the Raven. On the first episode the Hippo lost out to the Peacock and was revealed to be Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown. The second episode saw the Pineapple lose and it was revealed to be actor and comedian Tommy Chong.