When this whacky singing contest first came to our shores (it was a South Korean show originally, which arrived by way of the US version), it divided viewers over whether it was any good or not – but everyone was in agreement that it was one of the weirdest formats to arrive on our screens in quite some time.
This second run has proved even more of a success, thanks in no small part to the more recognisable slew of faces lurking behind the masks (seeing Hollywood actor Ken Jeong feign recognition when erstwhile Labour Shadow Chancellor Alan Johnson was unmasked early in the first series was really quite something). So far this year we’ve had some unnervingly accurate guesses from the judging panel, with Davina McCall in particular getting kudos for correctly identifying Lenny Henry from the Blob’s performances and VTs.
More surprisingly was the lack of conviction that A-Ha’s lead singer Morten Harket was the man behind the Viking get-up – he literally sang his own song, Take On Me, in week five.
Still, the numbers have been whittled down and there’s just three remaining for this week’s final – two of Badger, Dragon, Harlequin, Robin and Sausage having been eliminated last week.
Westlife’s Nicky Byrne may have recently hinted that he was Robin, although that would (ahem) fly in the face of fans who were adamant that Robin is Aston Merrigold. The biggest surprise this year however has been the early evictions. Last time around the likes of Johnson along with Patsy Palmer were first to go, but this time around the opening two weeks saw professional singers Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Mel B removed.
Glenn Hoddle put in a surprisingly strong showing, making it through four weeks as Grandfather Clock, but it was comedian and actor Henry that will remain a series favourite for many – the Blob’s cover of Word Up! by Cameo a particular highlight.
It’s possible Viking – sorry, Harket – might have gone all the way to the final, were he not, unknown to us at the time, contending with various technical problems. “Sonically, my foldback was really poor but that was my own fault for using my own system because I’ve been so attached to it,” he explained after the episode.
“It’s worked so well for so long but it’s too old and I should let it go. It was failing me,” he added in what felt like a metaphor for so many aspects of life.
Joel Dommett returns as the host to steer us through what will inevitably be a rather chaotic final; the judges McCall, Mo Gilligan (replacing Jeong, whose travel to the UK was curtailed by Covid), Jonathan Ross and Rita Ora will finally get to see the winner of the series crowned – and then find out who they actually are.
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