"Big, monocultural reality competition hits usually work by showcasing real people plucked from obscurity into stardom," says Alessa Dominguez. 'This was the model that powered behemoths like American Idol and America’s Got Talent to be number one in their heyday. (Idol even aired multiple days a week at one point, and shocking eliminations used to make as much news as these unmaskings.) But The Masked Singer, imported from South Korea, is part of the more meta reality genre where celebrities — who may or may not be actually famous — attempt to prove their skills at an unexpected talent, like business acumen (Celebrity Apprentice) or dancing (Dancing With the Stars). The difference is Singer makes the randomness of the celebrities part of the show. In little animated vignettes before their performances, the celebs reveal things about their career and struggles through the metaphor of their characters. This plants clues for the judges to guess their identities and helps the audience root for them, since they vote on who gets to stay."