The Masked Singer debuted Wednesday with this simple idea:
“Celebrities” in disguise perform pop songs for a panel of judges and a live audience, whose job it is to figure out their identities while wearing full-body animal costumes sure to obscure their identities.
It was inspired by the hit South Korean series King of Mask Singer ― which made American headlines when Ryan Reynolds sang Tomorrow in a multicolored unicorn mask .
Nick Cannon (who else?) is the MC wrangling the show’s multiple rounds, where two animals square off in a mask-to-mask singing battle. The audience then puts one creature on the chopping block. Meanwhile, the judges are making wild, uninformed guesses as to who the contestants really are.
What kind of “celebrity” would agree to this? At the end of the premiere, the audience voted off a Hippo, who was revealed to be a football player from the Pittsburgh Steelers. Huh?
According to Priscilla Frank at the Huffington Post,
“The Masked Singer is the latest manifestation of reality TV eating itself. Its host, contestants, judges, audience members, and hell, viewers at home, all appear slightly mortified that this is where we’ve landed. (Well, truthfully it’s hard to gauge anything about the contestants, but one can assume.) Not even Charlie Brooker could manufacture a scene so jarring as a riled-up crowd chanting ‘Peacock! Peacock! Peacock!’ as a life-sized bird-man in a sequined Greatest Showman suit takes a lengthy bow.”
(Phos, Fox; via Huffington Post)