When FOX started advertising The Masked Singer for the show’s premiere season, we all knew that the show was going to be a flop. Sure, the concept was intriguing – a famous person singing incognito – but the whole costume bit was just too much, right? What a silly show. So what did we do when it aired for the first time on January 2, 2019? We watched it out of curiosity. All 12.97 million of us. (Sure, about 3.60 million of those had DVR’d it, but let’s not quibble.) The show’s second season averaged about 13.6 million viewers and a 3.0L7 rating, ranking it as last year’s #1 entertainment program (tied with This is Us) and marking it as the first reality series ever to claim this rank. (Take that Survivor!) Personally, the reasons this show works is because it is family-friendly and at least one person is unmasked at the end of each episode, meaning that there is immediate gratification during every episode.
The Masked Singer originated in South Korea in 2015 titled, King of Mask Singer where masked contestants would do sing face-to-face. There were not costumes, just masks. The show ended after just one season. China was next to air the series later that fall and in the following year, they changed the name to Mask Singer. In 2016, Thailand created their own version of the show and they are the ones credited for adding the elaborate costumes. By 2017, Indonesia and Vietnam joined in, but it wasn’t a hit for the latter country. Then in 2019, 10 countries (including the U.S.) were airing the show, and nine more are creating their versions of the show to air sometime this year.
The third season of the U.S. version of The Masked Singer begins this Sunday, February 2 after something called the Super Bowl. For the opening show of the season, Jamie Foxx will join host Nick Cannon and the regular panelists (Ken Jeong, Nicole Scherzinger, Robin Thicke and Jenny McCarthy) and the show will begin approximately at 7:30 p.m./10:30 p.m. (PST/EST).
This season, the 18 fully disguised celebrity singers will be split into three groups of six: Group A, Group B and Group C. Group A will kick off the first three episodes as they are whittled down to three singers, taking off masks as they go. Then Group B will take the stage as they go from six to three, then Group C. The final nine masked contestants from all three groups will then come together as they continue to battle for the Golden Mask Trophy.
Season Three will introduce all-new custom-made costumes for the celebrity singers to wear, including The Robot, The Frog, The Banana, The Mouse, Miss Monster and The Llama, among others. The Season Three contestants have amassed a combined 69 Grammy Award nominations, 88 Gold records, 11 Super Bowl appearances, three stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, more than 160 tattoos and one title in the Guinness Book of World Records.
So, after this Sunday, The Masked Singer will begin airing at its regular time of 8 p.m. on Wednesday, February 5 on FOX.
I write about pop culture, arts and entertainment in the greater Seattle area.