Johannesburg - South African entertainment lovers will be pleased to know that the popular international show, The Masked Singer, will have a South African version gracing their screens this June.
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 costumes and masks 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 up 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, spoke with exhilaration about the show, saying they wanted to offer this show to the South African audience for years.
“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 is 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, the wizardry of masks, and the splendour of costumes. This is the biggest musical mystery show on the planet and for our local audiences,” said Tuku.
Anele Mdoda and her partners, Paul Buys and Frankie Du Toit, are 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.
“The Masked Singer is the new wave of music shows that have 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,” said Mdoda.
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 brings immeasurable musical acumen and gravitas. And then, of course, there will be the iconic Somizi, the choreographer of choice to well-established and up-and-coming stars.
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.
South Africans can expect a fanciful show filled to the brim with fun. But in the end, it is, in the words of Mdoda, “a good old family show”, and that is part of its charm and success.
“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 a toddler to granny,” said Mdoda.
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,” she said.
The Masked Singer South Africa launches in the second quarter of 2023 as a weekly show on SABC 3 and SABC 1.
Detective panel J'Something, Somizi Mhlongo, Sithelo Shozi and Skhumba.