Death to American Idol, Long Live The Masked Singer

On Sunday night, American Idol—the singing competition television series that aired from 2002 to 2016 on Fox and was revived in 2018 by ABC—tied its series-worst viewing numbers in the 18 to 49 age demographic. If that’s not damning enough, the show’s series-low was set just six days prior, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Viewers have clearly lost interest in the show, and considering that The Masked Singer is an option stateside in 2019, it’s not all that surprising.

There hasn’t been a pop superstar pulled from the American Idol franchise in a hot minute, and wouldn’t you prefer to watch *NSYNC’s Joey Fatone reveal himself beneath a giant rabbit head than hear another yodeling Idol contestant? He had so much fun on The Masked Singer, he got a hideous tattoo of his mammalian character. When is the last time you watched a TV show where the players had so much fun, they ruined their body with a permanent mark of their fanaticism? No one is walking around with Ryan Seacrest’s mug on their calf. At least, I hope not.

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When boy band Svengali Simon Cowell peaced out from American Idol, everyone else should’ve done the same. The era of the straightforward music competition show is over. Americans require the excitement and bewilderment of America’s Got Talent. Country fans love the personalities and chair-turning gimmick of The Voice; their loyalty is to host Blake Shelton and not American Idol’s Luke Bryan (sorry, but it’s true.) The Masked Singer is pure chaos: Where else do the worlds of South Korean competitive game shows and an American love of competition and surprise marry into a perfect 44-minute long program? Where else can Robin Thicke, Nick Cannon, Ken Jeong, Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger, and a noted anti-vaxxer get the shine they so clearly deserve for being forced into relentless, performed enthusiasm each time a contestant belts out a cover and dance moves hindered by furry exterior? It’s like watching an animated game night among B- and C-listers.

American Idol promised success for its contestants but rarely deliveredthat title goes to The Voice or the X-Factor, if we’re being real. The Masked Singer offers nothing but mindless joy and a secretion of dopamine, with the added benefit of absurdity. That’s what viewers deserve from their singing shows in the modern age: absolute madness. That, and AutoTune. Not a poorly aging, uninteresting 17th season of American Idol.

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