The Masked Singer starts on Fox Jan. 2, showcasing incognito celebrities competing in a singing competition. Nick Cannon hosts the show, and Ken Jeong, Jenny McCarthy, Nicole Scherzinger and Robin Thicke are the panelists.
It is based on a South Korean format. According to Fox, The Masked Singer is “a top-secret celebrity singing competition that will have everyone asking, ‘who’s behind the mask?!’”
Fox said the contestants have a combined 65 Grammy Awards nominations, and 16 more from the Emmys. One contestant is eliminated each week, based on their performance, and will then reveal their identity.
I spoke with Jeong, who starred in Dr. Ken on ABC, about the show during TCA press tour back in August. He said his mother was a huge fan of the Korean Masked Singer. “She loves the emotionality of it,” he said. “Everyone wants an emotional journey when they watch a show. This show definitely provides that.”
We spoke a bit about Jeong’s musical background, which he admitted is pretty scant. He said he played piano and violin as a kid, and sang in a cover band in college. “I was a big Black Crowes fan,” Jeong said. “I sang some truly good Black Crowes songs horribly.”
He can laugh about the band today--and does. “We were truly egregious,” said Jeong. “I think that was the name of the band--Truly Egregious.”
Jeong said spontaneous singing would break about among the panelists, though not from him. He singles out Scherzinger, a singer who was a judge on The X Factor. “Nicole has got one of the best pure voices I’ve heard in my life,” he said. “She can do everyone from Britney Spears to Steve Perry.”
Fox is on board for nine episodes of The Masked Singer. A dozen celebs will do battle.
The series has “moments of levity with moments of heart,” Jeong said. “I think the twists and turns of the heart are the most pleasant of surprises on the show.”
Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.
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