Who is that ‘Masked Singer’? Fox’s hit series keeps asking

Panelists try to deduce identities of costumed celebrities

Whether you’re wearing a mask, guessing who’s behind a mask or simply observing it all, “The Masked Singer” has been a “win” for all concerned.

Currently airing its fifth season Wednesdays, the Fox competition series has been one of the network’s top success stories of recent years … even more valuable to Fox since its separation from most of its formerly related television properties, now owned by Disney. Kermit the Frog (yes, really) and Caitlyn Jenner have been among the elaborately costumed celebrities revealed in this round, and the regular cast members believe they know why the show works for those on both sides of the screen.

The character “Robopine” has been among this season’s “contestants” on “The Masked Singer” Wednesdays on Fox.

“We’ve never been on a set where we’ve had so much love and support,” says Ken Jeong, who’s also a panelist on Fox’s “The Masked Dancer” spinoff series. “The producers will do a completely edited package for each panelist, and whether they’ll bring in friends and family and old highlight clips, it’s just for us. It’s not for public consumption, and it’s not just for shallow morale. It really is just how much we genuinely love and support each other, especially during these times. It’s the best TV job I’ve ever had.”

In terms of playing the game, fellow panelist Jenny McCarthy reflects of the already taped fifth season, “There were celebrities that were on this show that I thought would never be on ‘The Masked Singer’ … so, to me, that was game-changing alone. I was like, ‘No way. This person? They are on our show?’ Even though I feel like that every season, this one really blew my mind.”

Panelist Robin Thicke attests that “it’s gotten harder” to guess the masked singers’ identities, “and this season, we are pretty much inadequate in most ways. Jenny studies hard on the clues. Ken gets lucky because every dog has their day. And Nicole (Scherzinger) and I usually get close after a few listens, but this first-impression guess has made us all challenged.”

In assuming the host role on “The Masked Singer” in Nick Cannon’s absence (though he is expected to resume that job with this week’s episode), Niecy Nash has had the advantage of being on the series in another capacity.

“I had the opportunity to actually sit with the judges and be a guest,” she notes. “It was way different hosting, because I wanted my own guesses. I wanted to look to my left or right and say, ‘Now, which one do you think it sounds like?’ … but you can’t, because you are up there trying to lead the charge. However, every time I had a free moment, I was somewhere trying to figure out the clues. I loved it, because I still felt like a viewer even though I was hosting.”

Jay Bobbin

Jay Bobbin

Jay Bobbin has decades of experience covering the television and movie businesses, winning Tribune Media Services’ Crown Jewel Award in 2008 for his performance in the company. Over those many years of interviewing and writing, he has spoken with everyone from Robert De Niro and John Travolta to Paul McCartney and Tony Bennett … from Meryl Streep and Julie Andrews to Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood.

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