The Masked Singer (American TV series)

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The Masked Singer
Masked Singer USA Logo.png
GenreReality competition
Game show
Based onKing of Mask Singer
by Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation[1]
Developed byCraig Plestis[1]
Directed byAlex Rudzinski[1]
Presented byNick Cannon
Opening theme"Who Are You" by The Who
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes10
Executive producer(s)
  • Craig Plestis[1]
  • Izzie Pick Ibarra[1]
Production location(s)Television City
Production company(s)
Original networkFox
Original releaseJanuary 2, 2019 (2019-01-02) –
Related showsMasked Singer franchise
External links

The Masked Singer is an American reality singing competition television series adapted from the South Korean format King of Mask Singer. It premiered on Fox on January 2, 2019, and is hosted by Nick Cannon. The show features celebrities singing in head-to-toe costumes and face masks which conceal their identities from other contestants, panelists, and an audience.[3][4][5][6]

On January 30, 2019, Fox announced it had renewed the series for a second season.[7] 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.[8]


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 will 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.[9]

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.[9]

Panelists and host[edit]

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, actor and comedian Ken Jeong, and recording artist Nicole Scherzinger. It was also confirmed that Nick Cannon would host the show.[10] Occasionally, there are guest panelists that appear as the fifth judge 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).

On March 28, 2019, Sharon Osbourne revealed on The Talk that she was originally supposed to be signed on as a judge for the series; those plans fell through after being contractually obligated to appear on The X Factor.[11]


Executive producer Craig Plestis explained that he first discovered the format during a visit to a Thai restaurant. An episode of King of Mask Singer was playing on a television in the restaurant, and 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." Pletsis and his daughter began to research the series, and he later secured the rights to produce an American adaptation—which he would sell to Fox. Due to Pletsis's relationship with the studio, the first season of The Masked Singer was produced by Endemol Shine North America, then-owned partly by Fox (due to its acquisition of 21st Century Fox, the stake is now owned by Disney). For season 2, production transitioned to a new in-house studio under the Fox network, Fox Alternative Entertainment (which is led by the network's president of alternative programming Rob Wade).[12][13]

The show's production staff undertakes significant security measures to prevent the participants' identities from leaking; showrunner Izzie Pick Ibarra (an alumni of Dancing with the Stars) explained that only 25 people knew the actual identities of the contestants in advance.[14]

Season synopses[edit]

Season Number of Duration Finalists Host Judges Guest Judges
Celebrities Weeks Winner Runner-up Third place
1 12 9 January 2 – February 27, 2019 T-Pain
as "Monster"
Donny Osmond
as "Peacock"
Gladys Knight
as "Bee"
Nick Cannon Robin Thicke Jenny McCarthy Ken Jeong Nicole Scherzinger Joel McHale
J. B. Smoove
Kenan Thompson
2 16[15] TBA September 25, 2019[16] N/A N/A N/A T-Pain[17]
3 TBA TBA February 2, 2020[8] N/A N/A N/A TBA TBA TBA TBA TBA TBA

Season 1 (2019)[edit]

The first season premiered on January 2, 2019, and lasted for 10 episodes and featured 12 celebrities. On February 27, 2019, the Monster (rapper T-Pain) was declared the winner, and the Peacock (singer Donny Osmond) the runner-up.[18] Costumes were designed by Marina Toybina, a four-time Emmy Award winner.[19]

Season 2[edit]

The second season will premiere on September 25, 2019[16] and will feature 16 contestants.[15] Among those revealed include a butterfly, an egg, a leopard, a flamingo, a fox, an eagle, and a skeleton.[20]

Season 3[edit]

The third season will premiere on February 2, 2020, following Super Bowl LIV.[8]


Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Nominee(s) Episode(s) Result Ref.
2019 MTV Movie & TV Awards Best Host Nick Cannon Season 1 Nominated [21]
Teen Choice Awards Choice Reality TV Show The Masked Singer Season 1 Nominated [22]
Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Costumes for a Variety, Nonfiction, or Reality Programming Marina Toybina
Grainne O'Sullivan
"Finale" Pending [23]

Critical response[edit]

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";[24] 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?"[25]

Kelly Lawler of USA Today named the judging panel as the worst in reality television history.[26] The judges were deemed as "weak",[25] "off balance",[26] "ineffective",[26] and "[approaching] their jobs with all the insight and acumen of an America's Next Top Model contestant trying to decipher the Tyra Mail."[25] 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.[25] However, the format was described as brilliant[26] and deemed to have depth for being "a pretty fascinating examination of celebrity culture, mass appeal, performance, image, and fame."[25]


Season No. of
First aired Last aired TV season Timeslot (ET) Season averages
Date Premiere viewers
(in millions)
Date Finale viewers
(in millions)
(in millions)
Including DVR
1 10 January 2, 2019 9.36[27] February 27, 2019 11.47[28] 2018–19 Wednesday 9:00 pm 13 11.57[29] 3 3.8[29]
2 TBA September 25, 2019[16] TBA TBA TBA 2019–20 Wednesday 8:00 pm TBA TBA TBA TBA
3 TBA February 2, 2020[8] TBA TBA TBA TBA TBA TBA TBA


  1. ^ a b c d e "FOX Reveals a Second Season of Television's #1 New Show and #1 Unscripted Series, "The Masked Singer"". The Futon Critic. January 30, 2019. Retrieved May 14, 2019.
  2. ^ a b Haynes, Dade (May 13, 2019). "'The Masked Singer' Renewed For Third Season, Gets Post-Super Bowl Slot On". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved May 13, 2019.
  3. ^ "FOX Unveils 'The Masked Singer,' A New Celebrity Competition Series with a Groundbreaking Twist". The Futon Critic. August 2, 2018. Retrieved August 2, 2018.
  4. ^ Birnbaum, Debra (August 2, 2018). "Fox Orders 'Masked Singer' Reality Series; Nick Cannon to Host". Variety. Retrieved August 2, 2018.
  5. ^ Lynch, Jason (August 3, 2018). "Celebs Are Disguised as Monsters and Animals in Fox's Bonkers Trailer for The Masked Singer". Adweek. Retrieved August 3, 2018.
  6. ^ Piester, Lauren (August 2, 2018). "Fox's New Show The Masked Singer Is Very Mysterious and Totally Bonkers". E!. Retrieved August 3, 2018.
  7. ^ Otterson, Joe (January 30, 2019). "'Masked Singer' Renewed for Season 2 at Fox". Retrieved January 30, 2019.
  8. ^ a b c d "FOX Announces New Primetime Schedule for 2019-2020 Season" (Press release). FOX. May 13, 2019. Retrieved June 24, 2019 – via The Futon Critic.
  9. ^ a b Stone, Natalie (May 13, 2019). "The Masked Singer Renewed for Season 3, to Premiere After 2020 Super Bowl". People. Meredith Corporation. Retrieved May 13, 2019.
  10. ^ Jones, Adrienne (November 12, 2018). "Fox's The Masked Singer Looks Like The Weirdest Singing Competition Yet". CINEMABLEND. Retrieved January 3, 2019.
  11. ^ The Talk. "The Talk - Sharon Osbourne Unleashes on Simon Cowell For Losing Out on 'Masked Singer' Gig". YouTube. CBS. Retrieved March 28, 2019.
  12. ^ "The Secrets of The Masked Singer: Everything We've Learned About TV's Most Mysterious Show". E! News. February 27, 2019. Retrieved August 17, 2019.
  13. ^ "Fox Launching Unscripted Studio With 'The Masked Singer' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved August 17, 2019.
  14. ^ Bricker, Tierney (January 31, 2019). "Unmasking The Masked Singer: Revealing All the Secrets About TV's Most Secretive Show". E!. Retrieved August 19, 2019.
  15. ^ a b "'The Masked Singer' Judges and Host Dish on Costumes and How Season 2 Will Be Different (Exclusive)". Entertainment Tonight. CBS Interactive. June 5, 2019. Retrieved June 24, 2019.
  16. ^ a b c "FOX Announces Fall Premiere Dates for the 2019-2020 Season" (Press release). FOX. June 24, 2019. Retrieved June 24, 2019 – via The Futon Critic.
  17. ^ Keveney, Bill (August 9, 2019). "The Masked Singer preview: New animals face off in smackdowns, and winner T-Pain returns". USA Today. Gannett. Retrieved August 10, 2019.
  18. ^ Henderson, Cydney (February 27, 2019). "'The Masked Singer' recap: The winner is finally revealed and the judges got it all wrong". USA Today. Gannett. Archived from the original on February 28, 2019. Retrieved May 14, 2019.
  19. ^ Zarum, Lara (January 17, 2019). "Those Wild 'Masked Singer' Costumes? She Designed Them". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-01-21.
  20. ^ Preview: TV's Greatest Show Is Back (Video). Fox. July 9, 2019. Retrieved July 10, 2019.
  21. ^ Bell, Crystal (June 17, 2019i). "2019 mtv movie & tv awards winners: see the full list". MTV. Retrieved June 20, 2019.
  22. ^ Kaufran, Gil (June 19, 2019). "Lil Nas X & Post Malone Lead 2019 Teen Choice Awards Nominations: See the List". Billboard. Retrieved June 20, 2019.
  23. ^ "Nominees/Winners | Television Academy". Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Retrieved July 21, 2019.
  24. ^ Yahr, Emily (January 3, 2019). "Yes, that was real life: 'The Masked Singer' premiered and was even weirder than you imagined". The Washington Post. Retrieved January 3, 2019.
  25. ^ a b c d e "The Masked Singer Is a Reality-TV Fever Dream". Vulture. Retrieved January 3, 2019.
  26. ^ a b c d Lawler, Kelly (February 25, 2019). "The 5 best (and 5 worst) reality-TV show judging panels of all time". USA Today. Gannett. Retrieved May 14, 2019.
  27. ^ Welch, Alex (January 4, 2019). "'The Masked Singer' adjusts up, 'SEAL Team' adjusts down: Wednesday final ratings". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved January 4, 2019.
  28. ^ Metcalf, Mitch (February 28, 2019). "UPDATED: SHOWBUZZDAILY's Top 150 Wednesday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 2.27.2019". ShowBuzzDaily. Retrieved February 28, 2019.
  29. ^ a b Porter, Rick (June 10, 2019). "2018-19 TV Season: Live-Plus-7 Ratings for Every Broadcast Series". The Hollywood Reporter. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved June 11, 2019.

Preceded by
The World's Best
Super Bowl lead-out program
The Masked Singer
Succeeded by