Do you know why American Idol immediately worked as a show? Because its judges had a gimmick, and the show steadfastly stuck to Simon being mean, Randy being chill, and Paula being drunk. In the world of singing competition shows, these judges and panelists are our anchors. They’re the ones we champion and argue with before we make up our minds about a show’s many mystery contestants. And right now The Masked Singer‘s panelists are about as reliable as Ken Jeong’s terrible guesses.
There’s only one person who seems to know his place on The Masked Singer: the stone-faced and serious Robin Thicke. Jenny McCarthy and Nicole Scherzinger jump between dishing lavish praise and cutely not guessing each performer. And Ken Jeong, a comedian I truly enjoy, is just plain bad on this show. His guesses are so wrong they border on insane, his banter is off, and he’s not funny. That’s not even touching on the fact that none of these people seem to have any chemistry together.
The only time this series’ panel almost worked was when Joel McHale smirked his way on board. Give us more of that! The Masked Singer is a patently insane idea. Lean into it, and give us some celebs who know they’re here to judge a dumb singing show, and not picking the president. May we suggest Nicole Byer, or even Hannibal Burress? And speaking of the panel… — Kayla Cobb