“The Masked Singer,” a reality show from South Korea (the country that seems to have perfected the form in recent years), is back on Wednesday for its second season. The premise is simple: Groups of celebrities perform anonymously in elaborate costumes while the judges and viewers try to guess their identity. Each week, two “face off” in a competition, and the loser is eliminated and de-anonymized, providing most of the show’s memorable moments. Beyond that, I really knew nothing else before watching the season two sneak peek, which recapped the first season and introduced new contestants, and I realized that I don’t really know how to judge reality TV at all. So, here are a couple questions I simply want answers to by the end of this season.
My first question is: Who is blackmailing Nick Cannon? To be honest, for the C-list celebrities, notable and formerly beloved Steelers wide receivers and Terry Bradshaws who make up most of the contestants, the entire deal seems like a good amount of fun. This includes Ken Jeong, who plays a supercharged clueless version of what I imagine my own dad would be like as a judge. But Nick Cannon looks like he’s struggling out there. It’s not that he’s not enthusiastic or charming like on “America’s Got Talent” or similar shows, but there’s a look of desperation and existential questioning that’s distracting.
My next question, a rather short one that I think I already have the answer to is: Is Robin Thicke, one of the regular judges, really a human being? I’m 99 percent sure the answer is no, and this “sneak peek” hasn’t changed my mind one bit. While Nick Cannon’s dead eyes are a cry for help, Robin Thicke’s even deader eyes, flatter monotone, and general lack of any sort of genuinely appearing emotion are because he is an automaton. In any case, I’m looking forward to more evidence.
Perhaps the most important question is: Where the hell have I been? Apparently, this show was a really big deal? Noted anti-vaxxer Jenny McCarthy mentions that she has been told that broken family units have been brought together because of this show? Apparently, it was one of the highest rated shows on TV during the first season? As someone who considers himself mildly culturally aware, is such a perception complete nonsense? Is this entire thing just a fever dream? Is Nicole Scherzinger actually complimenting LaToya Jackson dressed up as an alien on her stage presence while Ken Jeong ponders whether she is Kate Moss or Paula Abdul? Or am I watching some sort of interdimensional cable?
For all the answers to these questions and more, looks like Wednesdays at 8 p.m. will be your stop.