The television reality show, The Masked Singer, with broadcasts in over 50 countries, is top of pops for audiences across the globe. In the United States, it is one of the most-watched reality competition shows. Today, the show, based on the South Korea Masked Singer, is an international phenomenon.
Celebrated personalities and entertainment superstars sing well known songs while bejewelled in full body costumes and masks, to hide their identities. The flamboyant masks and costumes have a personality of their own, and invite as much commentary as the performances themselves do. A celebrity panel of detectives must guess who is behind the mask. The studio audience is a rich component of the show, voting together with the celebrity detectives for their favourite performance.
The least popular performers are eliminated, but not before she or he removes costume and mask to reveal their true identity. “Take it off”, “Take it off”, roars the audience, along with the judges, in an electric atmosphere, followed by shrieks of surprise and delight as the celebrity is unmasked.
And now a trinity of media players in South Africa, is bringing this showbiz glitz to television screens across the nation. The SABC, Primedia, and Anele Mdoda’s production company, Rose and Oaks, have teamed together to develop and broadcast a local version of The Masked Singer to the nation’s ready audience.
The SABC head of local productions, Lala Tuku speaks with exhilaration about the show, “for years now, we have been wanting to offer this show to our audiences - it is one of the hottest reality show properties in the world and now at last South Africa will have its very own version. This thanks to the collaboration of SABC, Primedia and Rose and Oaks Media.
Our audiences are in for a real treat. The show is an entertainment festival, with its magical music, wizardly of masks, and splendour of costumes. This is the biggest musical mystery show on the planet and for our local audiences.
Lindile Xoko, Primedia Group’s chief revenue officer, said “Investing in and developing world quality content is intrinsic to the DNA of Primedia and a pivot for the Group’s growth strategy. We are delighted to have been able to facilitate the production of The Masked Singer by Rose and Oaks for the SABC. We wish Anele and Lala every success with this world-class show.”
Anele Mdoda and her partners, Paul Buys and Frankie Du Toit, is ready to fire up the media and entertainment industry as her production company, Rose and Oaks, sets its sights on licensing top international programming for local audiences, and on creating new formats that can be sold internationally.
Mdoda says “The Masked Singer is the new wave of music shows that has had viewers across the world enthralled for the last three decades. We remember how The Shell Road To Fame show in South Africa many years ago got families sitting together to back their favourites. The Masked Singer is the new generation of singing shows and I am certain South African audiences will embrace this show with the same passion and intensity that they did the earlier generation singing competition shows”.
Every element of the show has been carefully selected from the costumes to the host to the panel of detectives. The masks, designed by Rose and Oaks Media, have been localised to reflect the best of what South Africa has to offer.
The high energy and fresh faced Mpho Popps will host the show. His winning sense of humour and inquisitive nature is what is required in “a detective show like this”, Anele said. “He is a newcomer to the shiny floor format and he is the perfect person to guide the viewers down this tunnel of fun”.
J'Something of MiCasa fame, will be part of the detective panel. He, bringing immeasurable musical acumen and gravitas. And then of course there will be the iconic Somizi, choreographer of choice to well established and up and coming stars. His encyclopaedic knowledge of the industry and anecdotal musical wisdom makes him a perfect panelist. The ever topical and entertainment savvy Sithelo Shozi is a real trendsetter and is expected to be a vivacious and popular detective. Funny man Skhumba is a seasoned entertainer and actor. His larger-than-life personality is
certain to enchant and excite contestants and audiences.
Known for its leadership and innovation, Andolex® SA’s No1. brand for sore throat and mouth, is a proud associate sponsor of The Masked Singer South Africa. “It is a perfect association” says Kym Hampton, managing director of iNova Pharmaceuticals, South Africa. “The Andolex® brand is all about a healthy mouth and throat when you need to perform at your best. This sponsorship will not only allow us to deepen our connection with current Andolex® consumers but to also reach a broader audience, driving the Andolex® brand to new heights.”
South Africans can expect a fanciful show, filled to the brim with fun. But in the end, it is, in the words of Anele Mdoda, “a good old family show” and that is part of its charm and success.
Mdoda says “television consuming habits have become very scattered; families consume content in isolation. This show is sure to have the whole family in front of the TV at the same time. It is the intrigue, the guessing, the unexpected and the fabulous that will pull in toddler to granny”.
Anele Mdoda is not only excited about the high family entertainment value of the show - “it’s what we need right now on our screens” but also about the positive impact on the industry. “It is a boost for the industry, the return of hype. We also have many interns on the team and are opening up much needed opportunities for creatives, dancers, singers, as well as production and technical professionals”.
The Masked Singer South Africa launches in the second quarter of 2023 as a weekly show on SABC 3 and on SABC 1.
At last, South African viewers will have access to their own version of the entertainment worlds’ most exciting guessing game. The Masked Singer South Africa is all set and ready to enchant young and old, dreamer and sceptic.