Show Discussion: The Masked Singer

By | January 4, 2020

Saturday, 7pm,

International singing sensation lands on ITV. Somewhere, someone at ITV is kicking themselves for not going far enough previously.

Celebrities make their way through an elimination singing competition all the while being dressed in spectacular and ridiculous costume. A panel of celebrity judges judge them whilst also trying to work out who they could be, leading to an unmasking at the end of each episode.

You spend the episode wondering “who are they?” hopefully you won’t still be wondering “who are they?” after they’ve been unmasked. In some ways this is the ingeniousness of the format, by the time you discover you’ve been watching D-List celebs, it’s too late, you’ve watched the show now.

Incredibly this was recorded months ago and I don’t think any of the names have been leaked which is quietly quite impressive (as I’m aware, the audience isn’t actually in the room when the celebs are unmasked, just host Joel Dommett and judges). Suspect this thread may die quickly or explode, not sure which. Anyway, feel free to let us know what you think in the comments.

24 thoughts on “Show Discussion: The Masked Singer

  1. Robert Watson

    I was in the audience for the third episode back in September.

    Only about 20-30 audience members were kept in the studio for the reveal but producers had pre-selected them and taken lots more details from them (social channels, etc) presumably to narrow down who could of spoilt the surprise if names did get leaked!
    Other than the small audience, the panel, Joel and a very limited amount of crew (a camera man, sound guy, etc) were allowed to stay in the studio for the reveal.

    Overall I enjoyed the show, albeit the singers weren’t that good at singing in my opinion, other than one. I hope the show mirrors the success of the versions elsewhere in the world.

  2. Jonathan

    I’ve got quite fond of the US version – so I have high expectations, but you never know. I’ve been trying to figure out why I like it, and a lot of things don’t make sense, but I watch each episode and am looking forward to it’s third run. Like the panel, there is a man with dodgy song lyrics, a prominent anti-vaxxer, a signer who can’t eat a yoghurt without getting it on her nose and Ken. Mad. But it works. As host, Nick Cannon comes across effortlessly smooth and slick. As a show, it seems pacey with excellent production values (not just the costumes – but how they build costumes on those costumes for specific songs). Fun touches as well with how they edit the ‘candid between takes I mean you know it’s being recorded’ bits when returning from some breaks.

    Casting must be interesting – as you say, by the time they’re revealed, you’ve already watched. And as they leave based on being eliminated, a crap week one reveal can sour it. You do need a good number of actually decent singers in there I think – but even if they’re not proper vocalists, if you can entertain, that works too. A few on the US have done decently or just been enjoyable because they’ve got comedic sensibilities with how they ‘play’ their character.

    If you’re guessing, they do like to be a bit weird on clues, or focus on an odd thing. So the biggest recurring thing for Wayne Brady on the last series was ‘superhero’, because he’ll be in a superhero show that has not yet aired. The panel did not (on TV) spot or discuss a minor “Yes, And…” On a sign in one of the packages, a clue promoting at improv. So some clues might be twisted weirdly, double meanings (rehab is a great one – it’s mentioned, everyone thinks addiction, no it was for a knee injury), or emphasising not the most known thing. It’s fun and stupid.

    But the main thing is we can all be glad it didn’t go to Channel 4, where Deadline reports in Ian Katz’s infinite wisdom he only wanted the show if everyone was a homeless busker.

    He says he doesn’t remember that but hey Taskmaster is in good hands I’m sure

    1. David Howell

      I fondly remember there being a season 1 hype about the contestants combining for X Emmys, Y Grammys, and four Super Bowls. Which was not only a suitably ridiculous-sounding introduction, it concealed the fact that there were two NFL people in that cast – one of whom (then-current, now-scandal-ruined star wide receiver Antonio Brown) had not won a Super Bowl.

      If he’d outlasted the one who had four wins (quarterback turned pundit Terry Bradshaw) then he might have made quite a stealth move, but Brown went out first IIRC and it was probably fairly easy to guess then that Bradshaw would be somewhere too, he’s a well-known part of the Fox NFL coverage and of course the show was on that network.

      Worth noting the US version is being run into the ground a bit, they’re in a two-cycles-per-year pattern after hinting they might not be – S2 ran in the “fall” and S3 starts next month with the Super Bowl lead-in that has not actually helped anything much in recent years (it especially didn’t help The World’s Best last year, that became a historically epic flop within a month in part because it had to face The Masked Singer head-to-head).

      1. Nico W.

        I heard rumours – admittedly somewhere on the internet – that I find very plausible: It will become a live show with season 3. It works perfectly in Germany and makes it way more interesting. Also it would be helped a lot by being shown after the Super Bowl and could bring back some viewers who thought they had seen all there is to it plus a bigger interactivity factor (if they include app voting) might help as well. And that could also be the reason why two seasons air that closely after one another. Though it is true Americans like to ruin shows by showing two seasons a year without a reason that’s as good as this one.

    2. David

      Catching up on this. I didn’t know either of the two people who’ve been booted so far, but it feels like the base level of the celebrities is probably going to be higher than the US or Australian versions (having said that, your first BB host is a judge while our first BB host was the Octopus, so…).

      Unicorn is John Barrowman. Literally the easiest celebrity to identify I’ve ever seen on any version of this show. Cee Lo Green as Monster is a close second though.

      Fox… at first I thought the accent was Australian. But you know who (1) fits all the clues in the sort of roundabout way this show generally likes, (2) has a similar body and voice, (3) was working in Australia just before this filmed and had a chance to pick up the accent, and (4) would absolutely do this? Denise van Outen.

      Everyone else, no damn clue.

  3. Greg

    I expect a lot of people not knowing who the “celebrities” expect people from YouTube and the like.

  4. Greg

    They are one step away from saying The Pope, Donald Trump and Jesus.

    It’s clearly Charlotte Crosby or Vicky Patterson as a Geordie even distorted I can here that twang in the voice.

  5. Brig Bother Post author

    Enjoyed this quite a lot even if it was, of course, half an hour too long. If you’re not willing to engage with it I could understand it being a tough watch though. Really think shows need to stop with two/three-minute pre-titles – get the titles to give a general impression and the host to sell it on stage, that’s what you pay them for, don’t make it look like padding for goodness sake.

  6. Alex McMillan

    There were some clear pacing issues, but all of the parts of the show that were people singing or people guessing who was singing were really enjoyable. I’m compelled to go back an rewatch the performances to see if I can better identify their voices in hindsight, and none of the singers’ identities have met a total consensus online, which was my main worry for the show’s longevity.

    I think it needs to figure out it’s own tone, at the moment it still feels slightly all over the place, but I think that’s forgivable for its first outing.

    Utterly baffled by the identity of the duck

    1. Brig Bother Post author

      I think it ought to have been played a bit more knockabout Gong Show style, Joel Dommett was fine at keeping the show moving but I’m not convinced he really added much value, bit too straight, may as well have been Dermot. If you’re going to have a comedian host, let them go for the laughs or what’s the point?

  7. Mart with a Y not an I

    It’s the ‘Wild Things’ meets ‘X Factor Celebrity’ cross over that literally no-one was asking for.

    But, I actually enjoyed most of it.

    Yes, it was overly long, yes, the reveal/unmasking went on about 15 seconds too much (although, fully aware as to why it had to be dragged out).

    Still not sure about the immediate post-act mumblings of the panel really adds anything.
    But the actual costume and masks are a BAFTA craft award in waiting.
    Solid effort. 8.3/10

    1. Greg

      It did over 6 million last night according to the ITV voiceover man that’s a hit these days

    2. Chris M. Dickson

      9.5/12 of the costumes and masks are brilliant. Octopus is something of a B effort for an excellent singer, and Monster and Duck look like they were knocked up quickly, though at least they seem to dress the very basic Duck up for effect, which saves it a bit, but nevertheless leaves a fan of ducks disappointed. ‘Tis a shame Harry Hill doesn’t do TV Burp any more, because there’s a sketch to be done in which one of these masks is removed and it is revealed that the singer beneath the mask was in fact Mr. Blobby.

      I’ve watched the two episodes and don’t have much else to add to everyone else. I think there is something to it (it would be a tremendous hiding-in-plain-sight bluff if Chameleon was “Boy” George O’Dowd, for instance) but I’m not sure if I’ll be watching more than the last few minutes of each episode in future.

  8. Brig Bother Post author

    Yep, although I don’t think they’ll be too worried at this point, no show that’s a one-off the following night holds it’s audience (most people forget it’s on, even if you spell it out in black and white, see also: The Apprentice of years past). Next Saturday is the proper litmus test as that’s its regular slot. It won’t want a further drop though.

  9. Philip

    The annoying thing, at least for the American version, is that, one can figure out everybody before the program is even finished.

    What I mean is, during the most recent season, only 4 out of 18 had been revealed. I was checking out some websites who try and decode all the clues and they guessed everybody correctly. So as the week’s went on, it wasn’t a question of who, but when. A lot of these websites like Vulture and GoldDerby have people who like to analyse all the clues and videos so they give their opinions early on and a lot of the time, it’s correct. I don’t know if the same will happen in the UK, but I am going to keep an eye on Season 3 in the States.

    1. Danny Kerner

      Super Bowl premier this year with it then returning to wednesday nights afterwards for the rest of the run. with them confirming the costumes i think it is not live but you never know.

    2. Danny Kerner

      We have added a lot more guest judges,” Fox’s Alternative Entertainment president Rob Wade told Deadline during TCA. The list includes Leah Remini and Jason Biggs, star of the new Fox comedy series Outmatched, who already have filmed their episodes.

      Confirmed not live by deadline.

  10. Danny Kerner

    Costumes this coming series include The Robot, The Frog, The Banana, The Mouse, Miss Monster and The Llama among others. Also 18 celebs will be including up from 16 from season 2. Finally, it will be longer by 4 weeks and that friends and family relatives will dress up in a mask to talk about the relative celeb. More guest judges too.

  11. Brig Bother Post author

    5.2m Saturday.

    I wonder if they should have done two lies and a truth in week one? It might have put a bit more uncertainty about.

  12. Chris M. Dickson

    The fact that nobody here commented on week two, and I saw no mentions of it on my social media, finding out who was demasked only on radio the next day, speaks volumes. (Also, the font keeps reminding me of just how much I liked Five Minutes To A Fortune every time I see it.)

    I think the original Korean version of the format with relatively many costumes and relatively many demaskings per show, but still a winner stays on element to sustain the mystery and intrigue from one episode to the next, would work better than the US (and hence UK) format. Korean telly is better than ours? What a surprise!

    1. Alex McMillan

      I think this might be a case of Your-Mileage-May-Vary, because contrary to this, my Twitter was FULL of discussion during the show. Honestly, the main reason I’m not commenting on here about Masked Singer is because I’m too busy tweeting about it.

      1. Brig Bother Post author

        Yeah, I missed it this week because I stupidly scheduled something else but it’s still overnighting at 5m+ so I’m sure ITV are thrilled with it and I would have watched it otherwise.

        I think there *are* questions as to how long you can do a series in an eliminatory fashion like this, once the surprises have gone and everyone’s worked everyone out I’m not sure what there is to talk about, but it’s still fun.

        I think they probably should have led with two lies and a truth in the first weeks to throw people off a bit more.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.