Explain The Masked Singer to me

I know it’s a bunch of celebrities singing while wearing costumes which conceal their identities. But even after reading the Wikipedia article, I’m not sure how the competition aspect works.

I see that the judges and the audience vote on the contestants’ singing abilities. And the ones who get the lowest votes are eliminated. But I also see that the judges are trying to guess the identities of the contestants. What happens if the judges succeed and guess who somebody is? I also see that some contestants are described as winning an episode. What does that mean?

On a more specific note, I learned that Donnie Wahlberg was one of the masked singers on the show last year. His wife, Jenny McCarthy, is one of the show’s judges. Did the show pretend that she was unaware her husband was appearing on the show?

I suppose I could clear all this up by watching an episode of the show but that’s not a price I’m willing to pay.

It is important to remember that TMS is first and foremost a light entertainment show, not really a competition (although there is a competition element). Sometimes it’s incredibly obvious who the person in the costume is, and sometimes it’s not. The judges’ role is to throw out a whole list of names from the plausible to the ludicrous to guide the viewing audience at home into guessing who’s in the costume in a way that will make them feel smarter than at least some of the judges (and by validating them thusly, encouraging them to keep watching).

From an applied standpoint, nothing is confirmed until the mask comes off so nothing changes whether a judge guesses correctly or not other than the judge in question getting to feel smug about it. In the case of Wahlberg/McCarthy, it’s not like McCarthy was going to stand up and go “Yeah, that’s my husband” because that would ruin the show and she wouldn’t get renewed for the next season. On the rare occasion I see any of it I watch the UK version so I didn’t see her reaction but I’m guessing exaggerated overdramatic faux shock.

You’re not missing much by not watching it, but it’s mindless family-friendly entertainment. I wouldn’t particularly recommend it but if you’re flipping past, watching it for a few minutes will show you all you need to know.

That’s why I read the SD. So I can learn these pop culture things without having to endure them.

So guessing the identities is not part of the competition?

Have there been occasions when the judges did clearly identify a singer before their identity was revealed? Or do the judges play along and only make wrong guesses?


There have been occasions when the judges guessed the identities. I don’t think they have any idea who the celebs are until they get revealed.

I don’t watch the show, but I heard a rumor that Ken Jeong was so good at guessing the singers at first that the producers told him to start making bad guesses.

There is no prize for judges guessing who each singer is, other than the publicity. I wouldn’t be surprised if each judge has their own fan base that’s more interested in “their” judge getting the most right (which is not something the show keeps track of) than who actually wins the competition.

I think “winning an episode” is something the fans make up - presumably, who they think is the best singer.

Here’s something that gets lost in the shuffle; this summer, there was a “Masked Singer Live Tour” where they had anonymous people “performing” in the costumes - I never did figure out of they were doing their own singing, or they were lip-syncing, but they weren’t celebrities - except for one celebrity, who was unmasked at the end of the show. Usually, it was someone local, like a local TV talk show personality or newsreader, but occasionally they got a “name”; the celebrity in Toronto was 1988 figure skating Olympic silver medalist Elizabeth Manley.

An additional competition element seems to be happening with Jenny McCarthy and Nicole Scherzinger taking turns from night to night exposing as much of their breasts as possible.
I’m also wondering if Jenny gets a bonus each time she screeches, “Who is it?!”

It’s a terrible show, I kind of like it.

IMO The only reason to watch the show. I am not a fan of TMS. I usually catch the end as I tune in to the wonderful Lego Masters- Legos and competing teams who are nice to each other.