Last night was the first season finale of FOX’s The Masked Singer, a celebrity competition series that has captivated the hearts and minds and millions. Is it because of the “all-star” panelists? Of course not, because they and their horribly uneducated guesses — especially the ones that come from self-appointed “pop culture guru” Jenny McCarthy — are the actual worst part of the entire series. Is it because of the challenging mystery that comes from those singers who are masked? No, because actual pop culture gurus — or at least anyone with a working knowledge of pop culture, basic attention to detail, and a realization of the level of “celebrity” a show like this could even get — figured out who each masked singer was by week three. Is it because we all love mindless television, as much as we all try to seem cool and hip to the prestige television of today?
That’s definitely closer to the truth, but the actual reason is this: The Masked Singer understands what more television shows should understand—the key to a hit show is elaborate costumes and voice modulators. And not just a hit show. A great show.
Is The Masked Singer a great show? Yes, because it has elaborate costumes and voice modulators. This is a concept that obviously worked for Scream 3, it worked so well for The Masked Singer that it got renewed for a second season, and it can work for so many shows in the future. And not just competition shows, either. Here are a few.