The Masked Singer (American TV series)
|The Masked Singer|
|Based on||King of Mask Singer|
by Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation
|Developed by||Craig Plestis|
|Presented by||Nick Cannon|
|Opening theme||"Who Are You" by The Who|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||2|
|No. of episodes||24|
|Production location(s)||Television City|
|Running time||42–85 minutes|
|Original release||January 2, 2019 –|
|Related shows||Masked Singer franchise|
The Masked Singer is an American reality singing competition television series part of the Masked Singer franchise featuring celebrities in head-to-toe costumes and face masks which conceal their identities from other contestants, panelists, and an audience. It premiered on Fox on January 2, 2019, and is hosted by Nick Cannon.
On January 30, 2019, Fox announced it had renewed the series for a second season. On May 13, 2019, Fox announced that the second season would premiere in fall 2019, and that it had ordered a third season, which will premiere following Super Bowl LIV on February 2, 2020.
The Masked Singer is based on the South Korean show King of Mask Singer. Executive producer Craig Plestis explained that he first discovered the format during a visit to a Thai restaurant. While an episode of the Thai version of the show was playing on a television, he observed that the other patrons "were all just staring at this TV watching this crazy kangaroo in like a pleather outfit singing, and we didn't even finish dinner." Plestis and his daughter began to research the series, and he later secured the rights to produce an American adaptation, which he sold to Fox.
Due to Plestis' relationship with the studio, the first season of The Masked Singer was produced by Endemol Shine North America, then-owned partly by Fox's parent 21st Century Fox (the stake is now owned by Disney). For the second season, production transitioned to a new in-house studio under the Fox network, Fox Alternative Entertainment.
A group of celebrities compete on the show anonymously in costumes over a series of episodes. Each episode, a portion of the competitors are paired off into face-off competitions, in which each perform a song of his or her choice in their real voice. From each face-off, the panelists and live audience vote; the winner is safe for the week, while the loser is put up for elimination. At the end of the episode, the losers of the face-offs are then subjected to the earlier votes of the panelists to determine who will not continue; the eliminated singer then takes off their mask to reveal their identity.
In addition to the singing competition, hints to each masked singer's identity are offered during the show. Pre-taped interviews are given as hints and feature celebrities' distorted voices. The panelists are given time to speculate the identity of the singer after the performance and ask them a single question to try to determine their identity.
Panelists and host
Following the announcement of the series, it was confirmed by Fox that the judging panel would consist of singer-songwriter Robin Thicke, television personality Jenny McCarthy Wahlberg, actor and comedian Ken Jeong, and recording artist Nicole Scherzinger. It was also confirmed that Nick Cannon would host the show.
Occasionally, there are guest panelists that appear as the fifth panelist for a few episodes; in season 1, they were comedian Joel McHale (episodes 3–4), actor J. B. Smoove (episode 7), and actor and comedian Kenan Thompson (episodes 8 and 10). In season 2, they were Anthony Anderson (episode 6), Triumph the Insult Comic Dog (Robert Smigel; episode 7), McHale (episodes 8-9), and season 1 winner T-Pain (episode 10). In season 3, Jamie Foxx is set to be a guest on episode 1, with Leah Remini and Jason Biggs appearing in later episodes.
On March 28, 2019, Sharon Osbourne revealed on The Talk that she was originally supposed to be signed on as a panelist for the series; those plans fell through after being contractually obligated to appear on The X Factor.
The celebrities' costumes are designed by Emmy-winner Marina Toybina. The concepts for the costumes are her own and are inspired by a variety of sources. Toybina says they "[channel] the intricacy of Alexander McQueen, as "the draping and the handwork [are] all done the old school way."
In the first season, both the Rabbit and the Raven were inspired by Hollywood movies. The former was the result of combining the character Frank from the film Donnie Darko (2001) with Edward Scissorhands (1990) to create a darker, unexpected costume, while the latter was inspired by The Crow (1994). The only food costume, Pineapple, was made to resemble a Hawaiian surfer dude on the beach in the summer. Deer was heavily influenced by steampunk elements and made to resemble "a war soldier trapped in a wood." Peacock was made to look like an Elvis Presley "showstopper costume" inspired by the glitz of Las Vegas. The small dogs in Beverly Hills inspired Toybina to make the pink Poodle to have a Real Housewives diva-like presence with accompanying sunglasses, while Unicorn was imagined as an ethereal white snow queen.
Before the costumes are unmasked, the show's production staff undertakes significant security measures to prevent the participants' identities from leaking; showrunner Izzie Pick Ibarra said that only 25 people knew the actual identities of the contestants in advance of the first season.
|Season||Number of||Duration||Finalists||Host||Panelists||Guest Panelists|
|1||12||9||January 2 – February 27, 2019||T-Pain
|2||16||10||September 25 – December 18, 2019||Wayne Brady
|3||18||14||February 2, 2020||N/A||N/A||N/A||3|
- ^ Comedian Joel McHale served as a guest panelist in episodes 3 and 4, actor J.B. Smoove in episode 7, and actor and comedian Kenan Thompson in episodes 8 and 10.
- ^ Actor Anthony Anderson served as a guest panelist in episode 6, Triumph the Insult Comic Dog in episode 7, McHale returned in episodes 8 and 9, and Season 1 winner, T-Pain returned in episode 10.
- ^ Jamie Foxx is set to be a guest panelist in episode 1, Jason Biggs in episode 2, and Leah Remini in episode 3, with others in later episodes.
Awards and nominations
|2019||MTV Movie & TV Award||Best Host||Nick Cannon||Season 1||Nominated|
|Teen Choice Award||Choice Reality TV Show||The Masked Singer||Season 1||Nominated|
|Primetime Emmy Award||Outstanding Costumes for a Variety, Nonfiction, or Reality Programming||Marina Toybina
|"Season Finale: The Final Mask is Lifted"||Nominated|
|People's Choice Award||The Competition Show of 2019||The Masked Singer||Season 1||Nominated|
|The Competition Contestant of 2019||T-Pain||Season 1||Nominated|
|2020||Costume Designers Guild Award||Excellence in Variety, Reality-Competition, Live Television||Marina Toybina||"Season Finale: And The Winner Takes It All and Takes It Off"||Pending|
The premiere episode received mixed reviews. Emily Yahr of The Washington Post described the premiere episode as "one of the craziest reality shows of our time"; Vulture felt that the series was more entertaining, yet "weirder, sillier, and stupider" than other U.S. music competition programs, and described the format as having the "vibe" of "what if [Philadelphia Flyers mascot] Gritty walked out on a soundstage made to look like an arena concert, belted out Sam Smith's 'Stay with Me', was described as 'a professional' by Jenny McCarthy, took off his head to reveal he was Joey Fatone, and the entire experience felt three clicks away from an episode of Black Mirror?"
Kelly Lawler of USA Today named the judging panel as the worst in reality television history. The judges were deemed as "weak", "off balance", "ineffective", and "[approaching] their jobs with all the insight and acumen of an America's Next Top Model contestant trying to decipher the Tyra Mail." In addition, the performances on the show were considered "underwhelming" (using Ryan Reynolds' surprise appearance on the Korean version singing "Tomorrow" in a "low-rent" unicorn mask as a benchmark) due to the contestants not always being singers. However, the format was described as brilliant and deemed to have depth for being "a pretty fascinating examination of celebrity culture, mass appeal, performance, image, and fame."
|Season||Timeslot||Episodes||First aired||Last aired||TV season||Averages (including DVR)|
|1||Wednesday 9:00 p.m.||10||January 2, 2019||9.36||February 27, 2019||11.47||2018–19||13||11.57||3||3.8|
|2||Wednesday 8:00 p.m.||13||September 25, 2019||8.02||December 18, 2019||8.36||2019–20||TBA||TBA||TBA||TBA|
|3||16||February 2, 2020||TBA||TBA||TBA|
On January 7, 2020, at the winter Television Critics Association press tour, Fox Alternative Entertainment and Warner Bros. Television announced that they had ordered a spin-off series, The Masked Dancer, with Ellen DeGeneres as executive producer. DeGeneres had previously conducted The Masked Dancer as a recurring segment of her syndicated talk show The Ellen DeGeneres Show, as a self-admitted parody of The Masked Singer. DeGeneres stated that the show was "gonna be just as fun and suspenseful", but "with a lot more krumping."
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The Masked Singer