Korean mystery music shows: “King of Mask Singer” and “I Can See Your Voice”

Korea is known for churning out music variety programmes with a twist. It is no longer about singing competitions like “I Am A Singer” or “K-pop Star”. It is about music shows unearthing gems and encouraging viewers to listen without bias in an entertaining way .

“Hidden Singer” (singers and their vocal doppelgängers sing behind a screen and audience vote on who they think is the real deal) is a trend-setter in the “mystery music show” genre. This year, two new programmes have emerged as worthy contenders, “King of Mask Singer” and “I Can See Your Voice“.

“King of Mask Singer”

Contestants range from singers, actors, comedians and pop idols. They wear elaborate masks and clothes to conceal their identity while singing. This ensures that the jury panel, made up of celebrities and audience, will not know the identity of the contestants and can vote without prejudice.

The losers of each round are eliminated and will have to remove their masks and reveal themselves. The winners get to keep their masks on and advance to the next rounds until only one contestant is left standing. He/she will then face off with the previous King. The eventually crowned King will go on to defend his/her throne in the next episode.

This programme has received extremely rave reviews and high ratings since its inception. Long forgotten singers got a second stab at popularity. Pop idols were discovered to have good vocals matching of their looks. Comedians and actors were given a chance to showcase their hidden singing talent.

– English subbed episodes
– Cuts of my favourite King (with spoilers):

“I Can See Your Voice”

Guest judges, usually established singers, will have to identify which of the unknown faces on stage are skilled vocalists and which others are tone-deaf, based on scraps of clues like 0.3-second snippets of their voices and lip-sync segments. Guest judges can seek advice from a celebrity panel and audience before making their decisions to eliminate the participants in each round. The last participant standing will get the opportunity to sing with the guest judge at the end, which will then reveal whether he/she is a skilled vocalist or a tone-deaf.

– English subbed episodes
– Youtube playlist of skilled vocalists from ICSYV (with spoilers)
– Cuts (with spoilers):

(image credit: MBC, Mnet)


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