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Singing and talent competitions are basically a dime a dozen nowadays, and they usually follow some pretty predictable paths once they hit the small screen. Well, Fox just debuted it's wackiest singing competition yet, The Masked Singer, and we now know if audiences are into this crazy idea or not. It looks like Fox made a solid gamble when it decided to take on the show where celebrities wearing elaborate costumes try their hands at winning a singing show, because The Masked Singer actually helped its network win the night with 9.21 million viewers.
You read that right. People were so intrigued by the idea of watching celebrities dressed as hippos, lions, aliens and assorted other real and pretend things sing their hearts out that they tuned in to The Masked Singer in droves for its premiere. Along with the 9.21 million sets of eyeballs that spied the oddball competition, TV By The Numbers also noted that the show also raked in a 2.9 rating in the key demo of 18 to 49-year-old viewers. So, not only did The Masked Singer win the night, it's also now the highest rated series premiere of the entire 2018-2019 TV season and Fox's biggest unscripted premiere since The X-Factor debuted way back in 2011, as long as we exclude any show which premiered after NFL games.
Speaking of shows that got a boost from football games, if you were thinking that The Masked Singer simply held on to the viewers from its lead-in, it would seem that that's not completely true. While it's likely that many of the 4.14 million viewers of the Season 2 premiere of Gordon Ramsay's 24 Hours to Hell & Back stuck around to see what insanity was coming up next, there's a pretty big jump from 4.14 million to 9.21 million. I'm taking this to mean that a lot of you (don't lie, I know you watched it) tuned in specifically for The Masked Singer, and you probably weren't disappointed in the costumed antics the show treated you to, either.
Aside from the R & B singing hippo you see above (who ended up in the bottom three of the 6 competitors who performed and was unmasked at the end of the night after being voted off), the premiere also brought a sparkly peacock whom Elton John would be proud of, a post-apocalyptic deer in a leather gas mask, a one-eyed furry monster, a gilded lion and an all-white, Elizabethan-esq unicorn. Yeah, if you were looking for something weird to start your new year off right, it seems like you really can't go wrong with The Masked Singer.
The show is based on the South Korean competition King of Mask Singer, which began in 2015 and has already amassed 177 episodes, so, clearly the idea has managed to capture the hearts, minds and eyes of millions of viewers before. In fact, even though The Masked Singer has just hit our shores, it would be fair to call the concept a worldwide hit, seeing as how it's already been adapted for audiences in China, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam, and more than half a billion people around the globe have turned various versions of the show into a viral phenomenon. For what it's worth, King of Mask Singer has even managed to nab some pretty high-caliber talent, so we might soon find that we've been listening to our favorite actors or pop stars all along.
Over 10 episodes, a total of 12 celebrities will get all covered up and try their hand at singing in front of the judging panel, which features Robin Thicke, Ken Jeong, Nicole Scherzinger and Jenny McCarthy, while this whole screwy shebang is hosted by former America's Got Talent host Nick Cannon. Along with evaluating the singing talent of the competitors, the panelists will also be trying to figure out exactly who is under those costumes, but, they and everyone watching will probably have a difficult time of it.
The producers of The Masked Singer have gone through extreme pains to make sure that none of the the identities of those competing leak out. While we are given clues during each show as to who is filling out what loony costume, all singers are covered from head to toe so that we can't even make immediate assumptions about gender or race. Also, the singers stay completely covered the entire time they are even near the set, and if they have friends, family or employees with them on set, those people all have to wear disguises as well.
According to Fox, the people they've gotten to don these batty full-body covers every week are no slouches when it comes to their given professional fields, even if they aren't all great singers. Everyone you see perform is supposed to be an honest to goodness household name, and, between the 12 singers, they have 16 Emmy nominations, 9 Broadway shows, a whopping 65 Grammy nominations, 4 Super Bowl titles, 16 multi-Platinum albums and 4 stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Taking that info into account, and the clues given each week for everyone, you just might be able to figure out who they are if you pay close attention.
It's clear that the mystery celebrity aspect of The Masked Singer is what drew a lot of people to the premiere, now the only question is whether or not folks will continue to tune in to see who's unmasked every week. Well, that's not the only question. I also want to know how bad these costumes smell at the end of a taping day and whether or not they get cleaned between wearings or at least blasted with Febreze on a regular basis, but maybe that's just me.