The Masked Singer aims to be out of control—a paradoxical type of self-management—and yet somehow misses its intended marks all the time. It is not in control of being out of control. It tells you that what you’re watching is weird—there were multiple references to weirdness on Wednesday’s Season 2 premiere—yet it doesn’t adequately prepare you for what you’re about to see. This is the greatness of the show, a purée of success and failure, an intentional comedy that is often unintentionally funny.
Of course it is “wacky” to have b-list (at best) celebrities underneath intricate costumes like Tree, Ice Cream, and Thingamajig, doing generally mediocre renditions of pop songs. And yet, it’s the finer details, often provided by the non-performers, that truly make this thing sing. Jenny McCarthy referencing The Bridesmaid’s Tale (remember that movie about the oppressive society where women are mandated by the government to wear tulle and have 24/7 diarrhea?), Robin Thicke having a highly senior moment and forgetting the word “streaming,” Nicole Scherzinger communicating almost entirely through a system of intricate whoops, a one-woman dolphin language. The audience, too, has truly stepped up its game this year.
Aside from the addition of a “smackdown” round, in which two characters up for elimination face off and perform a final number—similar to the lip-sync-for-your-life portion of Drag Race, except these contestants’ lips are covered by giant cartoon masks so they just sing supposedly (I’m not convinced that their vocals aren’t prerecorded)—this is the same show it was last season. And who would have it any other way? Enjoy the montage above.