Adapted from a South Korean show -- and this totally feels like a wacky game show from the first second -- the premise is both simple and maddening. Twelve contestants are famous for something, be it singing, acting, cracking jokes or athletics. They each don a mask and sing live (maybe) and we all get to try and guess who it is.
Throw in hints in an introductory package, in their costume choice, probably in their song choice and the clues should be there. So we're totally going to give it a go and see if we can guess who these first six contestants are in the premiere.
Play along at home and make your own guesses. We'll have to stick around for ten weeks to see who all these people are, but we got at least one reveal tonight -- and we were right. As this is the first episode, you'll just have to trust we made our pick before the reveal. Would we lie to you?
Right off the bat, the judges were throwing out some very big names who would never compete on a show like this, including huge stars like Hugh Jackman. We aren't totally ruling out one of the Kardashians popping up underneath one of these getups however, especially when it comes to the Lion. The mystery singer called herself "Hollywood royalty" from a "pride" filled with women. Other possible guesses there, however: Tracee Ellis Ross or Rumer Willis.
This is easily one of the most ridiculous competitions we've ever seen, and that includes "Splash," "The Swan" and "Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire?" The bottom line is it's supposed to entertain and we're supposed to guess, alongside celebrity judges Ken Jeong, Jenny McCarthy_, Nicole Scherzinger, Robin Thicke. Sure, why not? New year, new show, We're in!
This peacock entered to Bruno Mars and gave me a serious Donny Osmond vibe. The vocals were rock solid and he proved himself a real showman, even adorned in a ridiculous costume. Not all of these performers are singers, though, so it'll be interesting if his singing prowess ultimately matters. Sadly, we won't find out who he is until he either wins or gets booted, so we'll just have to hang onto this guess, or modify as the season progresses. We agree with the judges on a Vegas tone, and the clues fit our pick as a heartthrob for your mom, friends with Michael Jackson and someone who was part of a magic act.
GUESS: Donny Osmond
Okay, so there's no way to clearly identify this one, but it's almost definitely a football player based on the clues before that performance. He flat-out said we've never heard his voice, so that's no good. Honestly, it kind of makes him a poor choice to compete on this show, because what are we guessing from. The vocals were just eh, and he even messed up the lyrics at one point. Really it comes down to which NFL player has gotten in trouble for end-zone dancing and maybe got fined $10,000 for it -- to match the total he left at the diner in the package -- which has us guessing Antonio Brown.
This performer was plagued with scandal and even considered a monster, per his own package, and he's 5'8', which really has us thinking Cee Lo Green. He certainly came under fire for his rape tweets, pleading no contest to supplying a woman with ecstasy. Plus, after leaving "The Voice" amid the scandal, he virtually disappeared from the public eye. Could this be part of a comeback effort? As for the voice, he sounded polished, professional and a lot like our guy. When asked if he was a pro singer, he said, "Not to everyone." That clue has us thrown a bit, but we're standing strong ... for now.
GUESS: CeeLo Green
All of these clues are leading to "Beverly Hills, 90210" alum Tori Spelling, who was born in Beverly Hills, was trashed for her singing and almost every other facet of her life at one time or another. The final clue for us was the fact that she hosted a "My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic" wedding special six years ago, which fits her costume and strength ("Made of Magic"). Her voice was not that of a polished professional singer, but neither was it terrible.
Another athlete, this one's package was a little more generic and challenging. The voice -- which was just okay -- does nothing to help with the guessing. There was mention of Ravens and taping athletes and getting knocked down a lot. When called on the western connection, he said, "I like horses." That narrows down our guesses to Peyton Manning, who was with the Broncos and Colts, and Terry Bradshaw, who played with the Steelers. The Ravens call-out could be related to the Steelers arch-foe, or Manning's "Mile High Miracle" against the Ravens. This one is a toss-up, but we're confident it's one or the other, and going with Manning because of the horses comment.
GUESS: Peyton Manning
This is a great performer and someone who is very comfortable in front of the camera, with solid vocals if not mind-blowing. But her package made it out like she's not known as a singer, which has us thinking "black-ish" star Tracee Ellis Ross. She called herself "Hollywood royalty" and Ross is the daughter of Diana Ross. But then she said her "pride" is filled with women, and suddenly we have to note that Kylie Jenner is 5'6". Can she sing? Who knows. But the only way to get a legit shot based on talent alone would be through something like this. But we're not totally sure that costume would have hidden her infamous Kardashian curves, and we've no proof she's so good on-camera or would bother to do this. Ross, meanwhile, seems game for anything.
We were kind of hoping for a sing-off between the bottom three, but it was just whoever drew the short straw in the audience vote. That meant it was the end of the road for Hippo, revealed to be Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown. Honestly, we think it's a bit of a let-down if the idea is to entice us to want to see who else is here. He's just not the most exciting star in the lineup, we're guessing.
The reveal comes coincidentally (?) after he got benched this past weekend following reported missed practices and a dispute with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. In fact, CBS Sports says he's even requested a trade from the Steelers. So while non-sports fans may have been nonplussed overall by his reveal, sports fans may be scratching their heads and wondering when this was taped and what Brown's priorities are these days.
"Dancing with the Stars" fans might remember Brown as a semifinalist on that show in 2016, giving him some credibility with reality fans. Is he just making his way through different talent shows? Should Gordon Ramsay look out for him next?
We can't stop thinking about this show and we can't believe we can't stop thinking about it. We're also kind of looking forward to watching it again, even though we could not for the life of us identify the exact entertainment factor it has. The first reveal was a bit of a letdown for music and pop culture fans, which doesn't seem to be a great start for a show hoping to grab ratings.
Call us crazy, but we're just not seeing a huge crossover for football fans and this show, unless they are absolutely huge fans of their team mascots. Suggestion for Season 2 -- and there's gotta be a Season 2 -- get some pro sports sponsorship and maybe have those mascots compete, or at least drop by as special guest mentors. After all, they really know how to perform in those oversized costumes.
That's what this show needs, right? Mentors? More content? We need to see these stars rehearsing these routines in these costumes and falling on their faces. Surely there was a lot of falling. Hell, Monster couldn't even find his way off the stage and almost took out a backup dancer during his performance.
Fox was very smart to premiere this tonight when there is absolutely nothing else on for it to compete with, and the gambit worked. Both the shown and Brown's names were trending on Twitter as people fumbled their way through it.
We'd be surprised if it maintains such interest across ten weeks when competition returns. It might have worked better as a summer show, but we'll at least give it another shot to see who we think the other six competitors are.
"The Masked Singer" airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET on Fox.