yahoo-If there’s anything we’ve learned this year, it’s that everything is better when you’re wearing a mask. And Fox’s The Masked Singer was totally ahead of the curve, enforcing face-covering, extreme sequestering, and social distancing in 2018, long before such measures became pandemic safety precautions. For two bonkers seasons in the bonkers year that was 2020, The Masked Singer provided escapist entertainment when we all needed it most. (It’s still hard to believe that Sarah Palin rapping “Baby Got Back” dressed as a Flaming Lips/Care Bear furry wasn’t the craziest thing that happened that internet-breaking night back in March.)
And now, as we head into a scary and uncertain new year, equally bonkers spinoff The Masked Dancer has arrived to keep us all amused and bemused. Honestly, at this rate, I would gladly welcome other spinoffs like Masked Idol, America’s Next Top Mask, The Real Masked Housewives, The Masklorette, or RuPaul’s Masked Race in 2021. (Side note: If you’re currently craving more actual Masked Singer, the U.K. version just started airing this weekend. You’re welcome.)
As you can imagine from its title, the Masked Dancer concept is pretty simple: Just like its sister show, it stars a troop of mystery celebrities dressed as bipedal animals, incredible edibles, and rando inanimate objects. Hijinks and hilarity inevitably ensue. The hardest-working man on Fox, Ken “I Know Exactly Who This Is” Jeong, has returned as the main judge, but I wouldn’t call it a triumphant return; his already-spotty guessing track record is unlikely to improve, since he and the rest of the judges (which include High School Musical graduate Ashley Tisdale and Brian Austin Green, a.k.a. the Giraffe/David Silver) must rely mainly on clue packages and body language. But we do get to briefly hear the cosplaying contestants’ unaltered speaking voices in the “Word Up!” segment. (Another side note: I’m always happy to see Larry Blackmon and Cameo get some recognition/royalties.) And if there’s anyone with an expert eye who can figure it all out just from studying these mystery hoofers’ fancy footwork, it’s the panel’s resident vibeologist, Paula Abdul.