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The Masked Singer

Don’t pretend you’re better than Fox’s reality show catastrophe.

The Masked Singer Fox
Emily St. James was a senior correspondent for Vox, covering American identities. Before she joined Vox in 2014, she was the first TV editor of the A.V. Club.

The Masked Singer is so ridiculous and so terrible that it wraps right back around to being one of the most compelling things on television. It’s a reality singing competition that’s barely interested in the words “reality,” “singing,” or “competition.” It’s an excuse for Hollywood to let its freak flag fly, but by “Hollywood,” we mean, “Z-list celebrities you might not have heard of.” And yet it’s undeniably compelling and compulsively watchable in the way that reality shows that blow up in the ratings often are.

The central idea — a bunch of singers in costume perform tunes and a panel of judges (as well as viewers at home) try to guess which famous people are singing based only on a voice — is ludicrous. But the costumes are goofy, the guessing game is fun, and the show feels assembled in the editing room by a 4-year-old who accidentally drank coffee. It’s great, is what we’re saying.

“It’s a tightly paced hour in which the main joys are the good and bad voices, the costumes and the reactions of the judges and the in-studio audience.” Kelly Lawler, USA Today

Metacritic score: 36 out of 100 (but, really, this show defies criticism, so don’t listen to them, America!!!!!)

Where to watch: New episodes of The Masked Singer air Wednesdays at 9 pm Eastern on Fox. Previous episodes are streaming on Hulu.