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Sarah Palin's 'Masked Singer' Performance On Fox Perfectly Encapsulated Rightist Absurdist Reality
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Cheeto Benito
2020-11-17 22:42:47 UTC
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'The Masked Singer' is bizarre and somewhat creepy. It's also going to be
a huge reality competition hit.

I'm pretty sure the deer is Chris Jericho and I think the lion is Paris
Jackson. How about you?

https://www.nbcnews.com/think/opinion/masked-singer-bizarre-somewhat-
creepy-it-s-also-going-be-ncna956926



Jan. 9, 2019, 5:53 PM EST
By Ani Bundel, cultural critic

In the current era of television, it is rare for a show that isn’t being
billed as a prestige drama to become an overnight sensation. Reality
shows, which are cheap as hell to make, have rapidly filled the cable
wasteland space, but rarely command attention. So when “The Masked Singer”
premiered last week with nearly 10 million viewers over on Fox, it wasn’t
just a surprise. It was shocking. And yet, one look at the current
television landscape shows why this series was the predictable next step
in reality-competition programming.



Reviewers have noted how bizarre “The Masked Singer” feels, with its
frankly unique concept of singing celebrities hidden in elaborate
costumes. More than one review has suggested it’s the type of show one
would expect to appear in the background of a creepy movie set in a future
(dystopian) America. But future America is here, the dystopia is
happening, and the planet is probably just a generation away from
cataclysm. This is the show that should be playing in the background of
now.

“The Masked Singer” makes even more sense when you look at where reality
performance competitions have been heading over the past decade.

“The Masked Singer” makes even more sense when you look at where reality
performance competitions have been heading over the past decade, as
America steals more and more ideas from popular shows overseas. When “The
Voice” (a remake of the Danish “The Voice of Holland”) first supplanted
“American Idol” (remade from “Pop Idol” in the UK) as the most popular
singing competition, it made celebrity judges more important than the
unknowns competing. This was already true in the world of reality dance
competitions, where “So You Think You Can Dance” (“Idol,” remade for
dancers) had fallen behind “Dancing With The Stars” (henceforth DWTS, a
direct import from the UK where the show is known as “Strictly Come
Dancing”).

But this focus had a downside, as DWTS eventually discovered. In our
polarized climate, celebrities have become ideological lighting rods, and
voting for fan favorites has become a proxy war over political beliefs.
Over the last few years, DWTS voting in particular has been skewed by
political factions pushing their competitor much farther than he or she
should go. Bristol Palin making it to third place in season 11 was the
first sign of trouble, but country radio star DJ Bobby Bones’ win this
year upset fans so much DWTS is taking the spring cycle off to recover and
regroup. And bias creeps into the competitions in other ways as well.
Since Kelly Clarkson joined “The Voice” as a mentor, for example, she has
won every cycle, her popularity eclipsing all other comer, no matter their
singing talent.

“The Masked Singer,” based on the South Korean competition series “King of
Mask Singer,” instantly solves this issue by taking away the one thing
celebrities have going for them: their identity. By rendering them as
helpless as any “Idol” newbie, celebrities must find a way to project
personality through their ludicrous costumes as well as sing. Not that
singing talent is wholly required, but it is notable that the first week’s
dismissal was Antonio Brown, a football player of zero vocal talent and a
merely mediocre hippo costume.

The judging table is also less glitzy then other shows, filled as it is
with non-costumed “C-listers” like Robin Thicke, known as much for his
songs being on the losing end of plagiarism lawsuits as they are catchy
(and creepy); Jenny McCarthy, a 1990s TV actress, noted anti-vaxxer and
anti-science advocate; Ken Jeong, a former physician who gave it all up
for a mid-range comedy career; and Nicole Scherzinger, who the music
industry desperately tried to make happen, until one day it didn’t. These
are celebrities one sort of recognizes — and potentially dislikes —
without necessarily knowing why.


But that’s the point. Their guesses as to who are under the masks are
utterly useless. Unlike “The Voice,” “DWTS,” or “Idol,” the judges are not
there to command our respect. They are there to make the viewers feel
smarter.

Combine that with the over-the-top costuming perfect for our meme culture
and easy for other shows to reference, and one has a hit. The diverse
nature of the contestants makes cross-promotion easy. For instance, though
the series airs on Fox, ESPN, owned by rival company Disney, had anchors
wearing costumes periodically all last week, because at least two of the
celebrities competing this season are sports figures. Commercials for the
show also ran during NBC Universal’s WWE broadcasts, because at least one
is a wrestling figure. Everyone makes money, or at least gets exposure,
from the insanity.

Unlike “The Voice,” “DWTS,” or “Idol,” the judges are not there to command
our respect. They are there to make the viewers feel smarter.

Speaking of which, Fox — the broadcast channel bit that wasn’t bought by
Disney — is increasingly turning to live sporting events, multi-camera
sitcoms and endless cheap reality shows now that it doesn’t have the
backing and resources of 20th Century Fox. “The Masked Singer” is a
perfect fit, given that everything from the venue to the production value
suggests as little money as possible went into making the entertainment.

It’s Five Guys for the eyeballs: tastes great, but let’s not think about
what it’s doing to our bodies. 2019 may already feel like it will be as
long as 2018, but at least there's something sublimely ridiculous for us
to stare at, especially this week when the pineapple turns up. Personally,
I am 100 percent sure the deer is Chris Jericho and I think the lion is
Paris Jackson. How about you?
max headroom
2020-11-18 19:23:50 UTC
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Post by Cheeto Benito
'The Masked Singer' is bizarre and somewhat creepy. It's also going to be
a huge reality competition hit.
I'm pretty sure the deer is Chris Jericho and I think the lion is Paris
Jackson. How about you?
https://www.nbcnews.com/think/opinion/masked-singer-bizarre-somewhat-
creepy-it-s-also-going-be-ncna956926
Jan. 9, 2019, 5:53 PM EST
Another two+ year old article.

Your masters just don't give a shit, do they?

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