The Masked Singer (American season 1)

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The Masked Singer
Season 1
The Masked Singer US Season 1 Poster.png
Promotional poster for season one featuring "Rabbit"
Starring
Hosted byNick Cannon
No. of contestants12
WinnerT-Pain as "Monster"
Runner-upDonny Osmond as "Peacock"
No. of episodes10
Release
Original networkFox
Original releaseJanuary 2 (2019-01-02) –
February 27, 2019 (2019-02-27)
Season chronology
Next →
Season 2
List of episodes

The first season of the American television series The Masked Singer premiered on Fox on January 2, 2019, and concluded on February 27, 2019. The season was won by rapper T-Pain as "Monster", with singer Donny Osmond finishing second as "Peacock", and singer Gladys Knight placing third as "Bee".

Production

As with every costume, the Lion began as a sketch by Toybina. Its mask was coated in pure gold and was heavily inspired by runway fashion.

Casting was less difficult than executive producer Izzie Pick Ibarra predicted due to her strategy of sending the possible participants sketches of costumes that might be featured during the season. She said many of the celebrities had emotional reactions when presented with the proposed costumes and were excited to reinvent their public image.[1] Potential participants were also shown video of international versions of the show to explain the show's format visually.[2]

The costumes worn by the celebrity contestants were designed by Marina Toybina, a four-time Emmy Award winner.[3] Toybina described the Lion and Monster costumes as her favorites from the first season. The Lion—which took the longest to make—was inspired by The Chronicles of Narnia and Joan of Arc. It was unlike the other eleven costumes as the gemstone-laden mask was sculpted out of clay and coated in gold to give it an "armor-like aesthetic." The Monster, meanwhile, was designed around a 360° foam cylinder with built-in vents made of mesh to provide oxygen to the performer. However, during filming, the large eye the celebrity saw out of frequently fogged up due to a lack of air; tiny fans were then installed inside the costume to provide circulation.[4][5][6] Fans were also placed inside the full-body Pineapple costume, which was constructed to resemble a Hawaiian surfer on the beach in the summer.[7]

Other costumes, such as the Rabbit and Raven, were inspired by Hollywood movies.[8] Toybina says the majority of costumes turn out identical to her sketches.[8] The former was the result of combining the character Frank from the film Donnie Darko (2001) with Edward Scissorhands (1990) to create a darker, unexpected costume, while the latter was inspired by The Crow (1994).[7] Deer was heavily influenced by steampunk elements and made to resemble "a war soldier trapped in a wood"[8] and Peacock was made to look like an Elvis Presley "showstopper costume" inspired by the glitz of Las Vegas.[7] The small dogs in Beverly Hills inspired Toybina to make the pink Poodle have a Real Housewives diva-like presence with accompanying sunglasses,[8][9] while her love of hip-hop music inspired her to add LL Cool J-style chains to the Hippo.[10] Unicorn, which was imagined as an ethereal white snow queen,[11] had its horn break off during the filming of an episode. Toybina says she had to "reach for the wire and glue" to fix it backstage.[12]

Filming occurred from June 4 to June 24, 2018.[13] For their work on the tenth and final episode of the season, Toybina and costume supervisor Grainne O'Sullivan received a Creative Arts Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Costumes for a Variety, Nonfiction, or Reality Programming.[14]

Panelists and host

The panelists consisted of singer-songwriter Robin Thicke, television personality Jenny McCarthy, actor and comedian Ken Jeong, and recording artist Nicole Scherzinger. Nick Cannon hosted the show.[15]

Throughout the season, various guest panelists appeared as the fifth panelist in the judging panel for one or two episodes. These guest panelists included actor and comedian Joel McHale in the third and fourth episodes, actor and comedian J. B. Smoove in the seventh episode, and comedian Kenan Thompson in the eighth and tenth episodes.[16][17][18]

Contestants

The competitors were said to have a combined 65 Grammy nominations, 16 multi-Platinum albums, 16 Emmy nominations, nine Broadway shows, four Super Bowl titles, and four stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.[15]

Stage name[19] Celebrity Occupation Episodes
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 10
Monster T-Pain Rapper RISK SAFE SAFE SAFE SAFE WINNER
Peacock Donny Osmond Singer WIN SAFE SAFE SAFE SAFE RUNNER-UP
Bee Gladys Knight Singer WIN SAFE SAFE SAFE SAFE THIRD
Rabbit Joey Fatone Singer WIN SAFE SAFE SAFE OUT
Lion Rumer Willis Actor WIN SAFE SAFE SAFE OUT
Alien La Toya Jackson Singer RISK SAFE SAFE OUT
Raven Ricki Lake Talk show host WIN SAFE OUT
Unicorn Tori Spelling Actor WIN SAFE OUT
Poodle Margaret Cho Actor/comedian RISK OUT
Deer Terry Bradshaw NFL Hall of Famer RISK OUT
Pineapple Tommy Chong Actor/comedian OUT
Hippo Antonio Brown NFL player OUT
  The masked singer won their face-off and remained in the competition.
  The masked singer lost their face-off and was in the bottom three, but was not eliminated.
  The masked singer was safe from elimination.
  The masked singer was eliminated from the competition and unmasked upon their elimination.
  The masked singer did not perform.
The celebrities who competed in the first season of The Masked Singer, pictured in order of elimination (l-r):
Antonio Brown ("Hippo"), Tommy Chong ("Pineapple"), Terry Bradshaw ("Deer"), Margaret Cho ("Poodle"), Tori Spelling ("Unicorn"), Ricki Lake ("Raven"), La Toya Jackson ("Alien"), Rumer Willis ("Lion"), Joey Fatone ("Rabbit"), Gladys Knight ("Bee"), Donny Osmond ("Peacock"), and T-Pain ("Monster")

Episodes

Week 1 (January 2)

Performances on the first episode[20]
# Stage name Song Identity Result
1 Peacock "The Greatest Show" by Hugh Jackman undisclosed WIN
2 Hippo "My Prerogative" by Bobby Brown Antonio Brown OUT
3 Monster "Don't Stop Me Now" by Queen undisclosed RISK
4 Unicorn "Fight Song" by Rachel Platten undisclosed WIN
5 Deer "Thunder" by Imagine Dragons undisclosed RISK
6 Lion "A Little Party Never Killed Nobody (All We Got)" by Fergie undisclosed WIN

Week 2 (January 9)

Performances on the second episode[21]
# Stage name Song Identity Result
1 Rabbit "Livin' la Vida Loca" by Ricky Martin undisclosed WIN
2 Alien "Feel It Still" by Portugal. The Man undisclosed RISK
3 Raven "Rainbow" by Kesha undisclosed WIN
4 Pineapple "I Will Survive" by Gloria Gaynor Tommy Chong OUT
5 Poodle "Heartbreaker" by Pat Benatar undisclosed RISK
6 Bee "Chandelier" by Sia undisclosed WIN

Week 3 (January 16)

Performances on the third episode[22]
# Stage name Song Identity Result
1 Lion "Feeling Good" by Nina Simone undisclosed SAFE
2 Deer "Get Your Shine On" by Florida Georgia Line Terry Bradshaw OUT
3 Peacock "Counting Stars" by OneRepublic undisclosed SAFE
4 Unicorn "Oops!... I Did It Again" by Britney Spears undisclosed SAFE
5 Monster "I Don't Want to Be" by Gavin Degraw undisclosed SAFE

Week 4 (January 23)

Performances on the fourth episode[23]
# Stage name Song Identity Result
1 Rabbit "Wake Me Up" by Avicii ft. Aloe Blacc undisclosed SAFE
2 Alien "Lovefool" by The Cardigans undisclosed SAFE
3 Raven "Bad Romance" by Lady Gaga undisclosed SAFE
4 Poodle "Time After Time" by Cyndi Lauper Margaret Cho OUT
5 Bee "Locked Out of Heaven" by Bruno Mars undisclosed SAFE

Week 5 (January 30)

Performances on the fifth episode[24]
# Stage name Song Identity Result
1 Rabbit "Poison" by Bell Biv DeVoe undisclosed SAFE
2 Unicorn "I Love It" by Icona Pop ft. Charli XCX Tori Spelling OUT
3 Alien "Happy" by Pharrell Williams undisclosed SAFE
4 Lion "California Dreamin'" by Sia undisclosed SAFE

Week 6 (February 6)

Performances on the sixth episode[25]
# Stage name Song Identity Result
1 Bee "Wrecking Ball" by Miley Cyrus undisclosed SAFE
2 Peacock "All of Me" by John Legend undisclosed SAFE
3 Raven "Brave" by Sara Bareilles Ricki Lake OUT
4 Monster "American Woman" by Lenny Kravitz undisclosed SAFE

Week 7 (February 13)

Performances on the seventh episode[26]
# Stage name Song Identity Result
1 Monster "I Love Rock 'n' Roll" by Joan Jett & the Blackhearts undisclosed SAFE
2 Lion "Diamond Heart" by Lady Gaga undisclosed SAFE
3 Alien "Ex's & Oh's" by Elle King La Toya Jackson OUT
4 Bee "What's Love Got to Do with It" by Tina Turner undisclosed SAFE
5 Rabbit "Isn't She Lovely" by Stevie Wonder undisclosed SAFE
6 Peacock "Can't Feel My Face" by The Weeknd undisclosed SAFE

Week 8 (February 20)

Performances on the eighth episode[27]
# Stage name Song Identity Result
1 Peacock "Let's Go" by Calvin Harris ft. Ne-Yo undisclosed SAFE
2 Monster "Stay With Me" by Sam Smith undisclosed SAFE
3 Lion "Don't You Worry 'Bout a Thing" by Stevie Wonder Rumer Willis OUT
4 Rabbit "My Girl" by The Temptations Joey Fatone OUT
5 Bee "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" by Aretha Franklin undisclosed SAFE

Week 9 (February 27) – Finale

Performances on the final episode[28]
# Stage name Song Identity Result
1 Peacock "Shake a Tail Feather" by Ray Charles Donny Osmond RUNNER-UP
2 Bee "I Can't Make You Love Me" by Bonnie Raitt Gladys Knight THIRD PLACE
3 Monster "This Is How We Do It" by Montell Jordan T-Pain WINNER

Reception

Critical response

The premiere episode received mixed reviews. Vulture felt that the series was more entertaining, yet "weirder, sillier, and stupider" than other U.S. music competition programs, and described the format as having the "vibe" of "what if [Philadelphia Flyers mascot] Gritty walked out on a soundstage made to look like an arena concert, belted out Sam Smith's 'Stay With Me,' was described as 'a professional' by Jenny McCarthy, took off his head to reveal he was Joey Fatone, and the entire experience felt three clicks away from an episode of Black Mirror?"[29] The panelists were considered to be "weak" and "[approaching] their jobs with all the insight and acumen of an America's Next Top Model contestant trying to decipher the Tyra Mail",[29] and that the performances were "underwhelming" (using Ryan Reynolds' surprise appearance on the Korean version singing "Tomorrow" in a "low-rent" unicorn mask as a benchmark) due to the contestants not always being singers.[29] However, the format was deemed to have depth for being "a pretty fascinating examination of celebrity culture, mass appeal, performance, image, and fame."[29]

Emily Yahr of The Washington Post described the premiere episode as "one of the craziest reality shows of our time", acknowledging other similar reactions to the series.[30]

Ratings

The show's premiere was the highest rated unscripted television series debut since The X Factor in 2011. Following three days of DVR viewing, the first episode's 18–49 rating grew by 30 percent—the highest increase ever for a premiere in the show's genre.[31] Although initially dropping, ratings grew towards the end of the season, and the finale became the most watched episode.[32] According to Comscore, the show had one of the highest viewer engagement levels of any series during the week the finale aired.[33] It concluded the 2018–19 television season as the highest rated new series among adults 18–49, averaging a 2.6 rating throughout all ten episodes,[34] and as the highest rated entertainment series among teenagers, men 18–34, adults 18–34, and adults 18–49.[35] The show was the first unscripted series to rank number one in the genre in its first season since Joe Millionaire in 2003,[36] and was one of the reasons why Fox was the only network to gain viewers compared to the previous television season.[37]

Viewership and ratings per episode of The Masked Singer
No. Title Air date Timeslot (ET) Rating/share
(18–49)
Viewers
(millions)
DVR
(18–49)
DVR viewers
(millions)
Total
(18–49)
Total viewers
(millions)
1 "Season Premiere: Mask On Face Off" January 2, 2019 Wednesday 9:00 p.m. 3.0/12 9.36[38] 1.2 3.60 4.2 12.97[39]
2 "New Masks on the Block" January 9, 2019 2.3/10 7.07[40] 1.4 3.81 3.7 10.89[41]
3 "Five Masks No More" January 16, 2019 2.2/9 6.94[42] 1.3 3.61 3.5 10.56[43]
4 "Another Mask Bites the Dust" January 23, 2019 2.3/9 7.14[44] 1.4 3.85 3.7 11.01[45]
5 "Mix and Masks" January 30, 2019 2.6/11 7.87[46] 1.1 3.33 3.7 11.21[47]
6 "Touchy Feely Clues" February 6, 2019 2.2/9 7.13[48] 1.2 3.30 3.4 10.44[49]
7 "All Together Now" February 13, 2019 2.4/11 7.84[50] 1.3 3.52 3.6 11.37[51]
8 "Semi Finals: Double Unmasking" February 20, 2019 2.7/11 8.27[52] 1.1 3.11 3.8 11.38[53]
9 "Road to the Finals" February 27, 2019 Wednesday 8:00 p.m. 2.6/12 8.58[54] 0.7 2.18 3.4 10.77[55]
10 "Season Finale: The Final Mask is Lifted" February 27, 2019 Wednesday 9:00 p.m. 3.6/15 11.47[54] 0.9 2.74 4.5 14.22[55]

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