‘The Masked Singer’ disappoints with bland execution

By Peter Zemeske

Fox’s new reality singing show “The Masked Singer” is a hybrid of all the buzzed-about modern day shows and plays on the audience’s basic level of interest: anticipation. The show aired weekly, starting Jan. 2, and has been renewed for a second season, announced Jan. 30.

Similar to shows like “American Idol,” “The Masked Singer” has a panel of four judges, consisting of comedic actors Ken Jeong and Jenny McCarthy, media persona Nicole Scherzinger and singer Robin Thicke with host Nick Cannon, who formerly hosted “America’s Got Talent” from August 2009 to September 2016.

Each week, a celebrity in a flamboyant costume, whose identity is unknown to both the judges and audience, performs a song of their choice after giving hints to their identity. The judges then ask the singer a question about who they are. Two singers from the show are put head to head in a singing match, and the winner is safe for the week while the loser is put up for elimination determined by the votes cast during the face-off. The loser of the round must take off their mask and reveal their identity.

The first episode is telling of the blandness ahead. The show is the visual equivalent of waiting for a Christmas present, only to open it and find wool socks from grandma. “The Masked Singer’s” only point of retaining attention is mild suspense to find out who the singers are. Once the singer is revealed, the reward of waiting proves to be unworthy. It’s especially disappointing if the person watching isn’t familiar with who the singer is.

In addition, there is no reward for the contestants or judges. At least with a show like “The Voice,” the judges and contestants have a stake in winning the competition; they have a chance to become successful in the music industry, and the judges have the satisfaction of winning the season. “The Masked Singer” simply plays the game of “Guess Who.”

“The Masked Singer” is another TV show with Buzzfeed-esque mindless entertainment. The last show to insult America’s intelligence this badly was “Lip Sync Battle,” which was at least mildly entertaining when boxer Mike Tyson attempted to perform Salt-N-Pepa’s “Push It.” “The Masked Singer” can’t get off the air soon enough.