The Masked Singer is back
From left: Ken Jeong, Nicole Scherzinger, Nick Cannon, Jenny McCarthy and Robin Thicke for the American talent show The Masked Singer
The Masked Singer is back
SOUNDS FAMILIAR - Baby A. Gil (The Philippine Star) - October 6, 2020 - 12:00am

The Masked Singer is back on the Blue Ant Entertainment channel. That means one hour of my Thursday evenings from 9:45 to 10:45, will be spent watching what is certainly this unique, most exciting, suspenseful, informative, visually impressive talent show on television.

Now we all love talent shows. We may not know the contestants personally but there is nothing like watching them in competition to keep viewers interested for hours and in the case of TV shows for seasons on end.

There are several cooking contests now running simultaneously. There are searches for supermodels, fashion designers, interior decorators, etc. Why some enterprising producers have even turned home renovation and product pitching into a race.

But there is nothing more entertaining than singing contests. That is why we have so many of them, worldwide. Eurovision from Europe is now an institution. Then there are various incarnations of The Voice, Britain’s Got Talent, American Idol and others. Surf cable TV or the net and you will find Korean, Indian, Japanese and talent searches.

We do not have the legendary Tawag ng Tanghalan and Hamon Sa Kampeon anymore but we have the local versions of those popular shows from abroad. And we have profited from them with the discovery of major stars, foremost among them, pop princess Sarah Geronimo from Star for a Night and West End actress Rachelle Ann Go from Search for a Star.

None of those shows though is as entertaining as The Masked Singer. Like most pop culture phenomena these days, it comes from South Korea and now has versions in places like the U.S. of A., Australia, Belgium, Thailand and others. Maybe, also in the Philippines soon.

The Masked Singer is not really a regular talent competition. The contestants are well-known figures in showbusiness, sports, fashion and even politics. They are not performing to be the best, but to garner the most number of votes online to be able to stay in the game and win the Golden Mask at the end.

What we have available on cable TV here is the American version. This has improved a lot from the original by not using merely masks. Instead, the producers create fabulous characters with matching elaborate masks and costumes every season. Then they put the celebrities inside as contestants.

The show has great use for today’s ubiquitous accessory. Each contestant performs wearing a mask, therefore hiding his true identity. Clues are provided with every episode and there is a panel which tries to guess the answer. They do not always get it right but they have a lot of fun trying and so do the viewers.

Among those who have worn the mask and I must say given showstopping performances are Dionne Warwick as The Mouse, Donny Osmond as The Peacock, Jackie Evancho as Kitty, Gladys Knight as Bee, Chris Daughtry as Rottweiler, T-Pain as Monster, Gov. Sarah Palin as Bear, Busta Rhymes as Dragon and Wayne Brady as Fox, to name a few.

Why do they do it? Hidden behind a mask, they get to get out of their comfort zones. They get to do different things. And they enjoy the experience tremendously. Think Warwick singing Natalie Cole or Evancho doing Marilyn Monroe, or Palin as a rapper. Best of all, they have lots of fun while keeping the audience guessing.

The panel is made up of music artist and producer Robin Thicke, the gorgeous ex-Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger, the lovely writer and TV personality Jenny McCarthy-Wahlberg and comedian doctor Ken Jong. They have guest members like Jamie Foxx and Sharon Osborne once in a while. Their good-natured banter plus Nick Cannon as host help make the show a real treat.

In keeping with the demands of this coronavirus-infected time, the fourth edition of The Masked Singer is presented virtually. But it is no less entertaining. Truth to tell, this one is looking up to be its best season ever. The show has even introduced the cutest snow owls ever seen as its first duet contestant. I wonder who are those celebs inside that mask.

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