The Masked Singer has been one of the biggest TV phenomenons of the past few years. Audiences were captivated by the show’s unique blend of clues, colorful performances, and charismatic judges. That said, the success has led many viewers to question why the show has caught on so quickly. Why is The Masked Singer such a big hit in the U.S.A?
In a piece for The Ringer, Rob Harvilla theorized that the enduring appeal of the show is that one can never tell what’s going to happen next. Compared to other competition shows like American Idol or The Voice, The Masked Singer is constantly bewildering viewers with strange clues and even stranger performances. Rather than watch passively, viewers are urged to get involved, and develop their own theories as to who could be under each costume. Finding out whether you are right or wrong is part of the fun.
‘The Masked Singer’ Invites Viewers to Participate In the Show
“In these moments, when the bewildered viewer confronts the possibility that this is all some sort of visually and morally hideous rehab project for a pack of #canceled fallen stars, The Masked Singer ceases to be what it’s trying to be,” Harvilla writes. “… Which is a very specific and cynic-proof brand of Totally Absurd. There is just no way of knowing how seriously you’re supposed to take any of this.”
The Masked Singer was one of the biggest shows of the 2018-19 season. It averaged a 2.6 rating in the 18-49 demographic and just over 8 million total viewers per episode. It also showed good consistency throughout its freshman season, dropping around 20% from its premiere to episode 2. FOX’s alternative-programming chief Rob Wade said that the success of the show caught the network off guard. “We were told well done, great marketing, great scheduling, great show, but then it swiftly became how do we keep moving this, how do we keep this conversation going,” he told Variety.
FOX Executives Credit the Chemistry Between the Panel & Host Nick Cannon
When asked why he feels The Masked Singer is such a big hit, Wade credited the host and the panel of celebrity judges. “I think the judges themselves and Nick [Cannon] become more of an ensemble. If you look at the first season, we were sticking five people in a room together who didn’t know each other,” Wade explained. “To create a chemistry is very difficult from the word go. Now they are thick as thieves, if you watch the first couple shows you’re going to notice how naturally that ensemble acts together now, it’s a natural improvement in the show.”
As the second season continues to draw massive ratings, Wade says that the network has made a point of keeping things fresh within the format of the show. “In season 2, we’ve unashamedly gone for people that different segments of the audience will know, it’s certainly taking some shots at people who maybe aren’t as well-known as others, but a certain segment of the audience will be passionate about them,” he revealed. “Yes we still have very broad names, but the thing we’ve noticed with the super big names is they’re much easier to guess. You have to be careful; we definitely have some people in there that are harder to guess and are quote, unquote less famous.”
This strange appeal isn’t limited to the viewing audience. Jenny McCarthy, one of the show’s four judges, told that they had to turn down dozens of celebrities for the second season. “There were so many celebrities that wanted to be on the show that they actually had to turn some down,” she revealed. “[Fans] will be surprised by some of these people who aren’t singers who come on to debut their voice. Shocked again.” Tune in to FOX at 9/8c to see which celebrities did make the cut, and which will be unveiled on The Masked Singer!