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Angela Henderson-Bentley: Strange but fun ‘Singer’ defies explanation

December 27, 2018

There are some TV shows that defy logic when it comes to why they’re on the air. They’re so strange that you have no idea what the network executives were thinking when they green-lighted them. FOX’s newest reality show would definitely fit into that category.

But even though “The Masked Singer” has its weird moments, it also manages to suck you in until you’re totally into it. And yes, that defies logic as well.

The concept of “Singer” is pretty simple: 12 masked celebrities sing for a celebrity panel that critique their performances and try to guess their identities based on clues they’re given during the singer’s intro video and on their singing voice. The audience votes for their favorites with the bottom three vote-getters eligible for elimination. The panel chooses their least favorite and that celebrity is unmasked.

But there is nothing simple about this show, which is based on a popular South Korean format. The masks are actually elaborate animal and character costumes that completely conceal everything about the celebrity. The performances feature dramatic lighting and choreography. So what could have been just a cute celebrity game show becomes something much more - which makes it much harder to describe.

The premiere features three face-offs between the celebrities known only by their character names: Hippo vs. Peacock, Monster vs. Unicorn and Deer vs. Lion. Nick Cannon serves as the host, while Robin Thicke, Jenny McCarthy, Nicole Scherzinger and Ken Jeong sit on the panel. During the intro videos and performances, the panel talks among themselves about who they think the celebrity is.

Though the show is downright strange at times, it somehow finds a way to be fun as you can’t help but find yourself participating in the guessing game. I genuinely had no idea with anyone except for Deer, which I’m pretty confident about.

The biggest problem is until you see the first celebrity unmasked, you have no idea just how big the participating celebrities are. Even I can’t tell you that, because FOX blurred the reveal at the end of the review screener. The official FOX press release says the masked stars have 65 Grammy nominations, 16 Emmy Award nominations, four Super Bowl titles and four stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame among them. But if that first celebrity is not as big of a name as people are anticipating, it could totally kill the show. And I don’t want to see that happen until I find out if I’m right about Deer.

“The Masked Singer” premieres at 9 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 2 on FOX.

Angela Henderson-Bentley writes about television for The Herald-Dispatch. Contact her at ahenderson-bentley@hotmail.com.

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