Freddie Mercury's English accent was perfect

"The Masked Singer": If you don't know celebrities, you shouldn't make fun of their names

Celebrities, singing show, guesswork. The successful format “The Masked Singer” is arriving in Austria. With some cheap-looking costumes and the question: is there an international star among them?

Masket, maskd, maakd, mäsked or mäskt? The English program title is still caught in the pronunciation. At least with presenter Arabella Kiesbauer (variant "mäsket") one could have practiced a little before the broadcast. "The Masked Singer" is the name of the successful TV show format from South Korea, which is currently in its second season due to great success in Germany and also arrived in Austria on Puls4 on Saturday evening. Trying to recognize celebrities from all genres based on their singing voice - that can be quite entertaining.

Briefly about the mode of the program: Eight masked and costumed stars (not just singers) compete against each other in four singing duels. In conspicuously short telephone voting phases immediately after the duels (50 cents per call), one of the two is voted directly into the next program. The four losers compete in a final voting round - without singing again - for the votes of the audience. The last-placed winner is finally unmasked - and hopes that the jury will recognize him too.

The corona crisis was probably just as hard a blow for Puls4 as it was for ORF with its Friday evening entertainment battleship “Dancing Stars”, which was finally canceled for the time being. But the private competitor decided on an implementation without an audience, also because of the smaller staffing required. In terms of quota, certainly not a bad decision, most of the potential viewers would be at home. The applause in the studio in Cologne is recorded, allegedly with online applause from viewers. That was good for the mood. The fact that the budget for the Austrian edition is a bit tighter can be seen in the somewhat less loving costumes and the lack of a live band.

Please who

The fact that the show is not a singing show was proven by several performances, most of which were singing, oscillating between a karaoke evening with friends and a failed song contest entry. It's just a guess show, not a music show. Eight “darlings of Austrians from home and abroad” as presenter Kiesbauer put it, are behind the masks. Not even she herself was privy to who was taking part. Neither did the advice team in the studio: actress Elke Winkens, singer Nathan Trent and society journalist Sasa Schwarzjirg tried to find out who was behind the scenes through the vocal performances of the masked men. At the premiere, she supported rapper Nazar as a guest.

And that brings us to one of the problems of the show: During the guessing process, the jury should name who could have been singing there now. There are absurd suspicions like David Alaba, Arnold Schwarzenegger or pop star Anastacia as well as names of people that only a few are familiar with. It is legitimate not to know every more or less celebrity in the country, but if rapper Nazar deliberately pronounces the name of singer Shlomit Butbul four times (yes, she is also the daughter of Jazz Gitti), then that is it disrespectful. Shlomit Butbul, it's not that difficult, please. In case of doubt, silence would have done too.

The attraction of the show lies in guessing together anyway. And that also works in the Austrian version. Do you know the voice, the gestures, the figure? Is it possible to correctly interpret one of the very vague references? Fueled by tips from viewers via Twitter - or real friends in the quarantine shared apartment - this results in an entertaining guessing game (more on this at the end of the text). Knowing that the candidates don't know each other who the other is also makes the matter more interesting. The stars must keep their participation top secret. That has to be well planned.

The falcon was eliminated

In the end, the celebrity selection should move at the dancing star level. But that doesn't have to mean a total failure. You can expect outliers up and down in the alphabet of B-to-G celebrities.

For one of the well-known stars, it was over on Saturday. For the man in the "falcon" costume it was all about unmasking. He lost his duel with the "ghost countess" and was then also subject to the remaining competition in the final voting. James Cottriall was hiding under the sun-glasses of the bird of prey. The British pop singer, who made his breakthrough in Austria in 2010 ("I thought we were unbreakable"), has no luck with celebrity TV formats. He was also eliminated in the first round of the "Dancing Stars". And not everyone will have recognized him as soon as he revealed himself. Arabella Kiesbauer's facial expression also revealed a big question mark before the director helped with a whisper button in his ear .

Overall, the jury turned out to be quite well selected. Winkens and Trent have many contacts in acting and singing, Schwarzjirg as a society reporter has already interviewed many local celebrities. All three should know Cottriall reasonably well, they were believably astonished that they had not guessed him. The three also function nicely as a group. Rapper Nazar as a guest had little creative new names to contribute to the guessing game and seemed more like a foreign body.

But next Saturday there will be another guest juror anyway. Arabella Kiesbauer stays. Until then, the program editors will practice with her again on the pronunciation of the program title. One would like it to be British. De Maskd Singer, here you go.

The masks, the clues, the suspects: The first "The Masked Singer" show in fast-forward mode

"TheFalcon" = James Cottriall sang "Junge Römer" by Falco

The fact that the Briton was the best German song irritated everyone - including the jury. Trent, Winkens and Schwarzjirg should actually know him well. But it sounded more like a West German accent, at least like a man who dares to venture into new territory. Many suspected "Wanda" singer Marco Wanda in costume. The voice actually reminded of a ragged Wanda or Josh ("Cordula Grün"). The presented choreography made it clear that Cottriall was not eliminated in the first round of Dancing Stars for nothing. Professional -The falcon was not a dancer.

Nameswho also fell: Gregor Seeböck, Mark Seibert, Rainer Schönfelder

"The ghost countess" sang "Take Me To Church" by Hozier

First impression: Not a professional singer, but an expressive voice that can fill rooms with emotion, category actress? Quite powerful, sounds like a more mature voice.

Hints: A train with passenger wagons on which signs with “Barcelona”, “Athens” and “Rome” were attached, as well as a freight wagon filled with cauliflower and a note with the number 15. “Where other people ponder, the ghost countess only gets going . "

The Names: Sasa Schwarzjirg guessed musical star Maya Haakvort - that is definitely not correct vocally, Hakvoort would have sung better, apart from her own Dutch musical pronunciation. Nazar taps Sarah Wiener. The fact that the cook and MEP sings on private television is also a daring thesis. Elke Winkens suspects a college colleague behind the costume: Nina Proll. That could get there sooner, seems to be the most credible thesis.

"The carp" sang "Diamonds" by Rihanna

First impression: A grunting male voice who is definitely not a professional in the vocal field. Power behind it, also musicality. Rock show.

Hints: A blackboard with a mathematical formula, a pink skipping rope with a sign with "12" printed on it. "Knowing I swam faster than the others."

The Names: The swimming hint could actually point to Markus Rogan, but the size of the carp diva contradicts this. Nathan Trent guesses on Gary Lux. It would be a surprise that the ESC participant is looking for the public eye again in 1985. Martin Puntigam is not a bad thought, the Science Buster. Because of the blackboard, it is believed it could be a teacher. Sasa Schwarzjirg suspects cabaret artist Andreas Ferner behind the mask, Elke Winkens Harry Prünster. On Twitter, a viewer suspects the ex-skier Felix Neureuther.

"The cat" sang "Your Song" by Elton John

First impression: Not a professional singer either. A lot of vibrato in the voice, many cheers and sighs when interpreting, which masked the true voice or even more difficult passages. The voice was probably only coached for a short time and not long-term. Visually, the cat moves gracefully, but you don't have to study for the few cliché cat moves.

Hints: A box with Christmas tree garlands with the words 1983 - 2020, a Thai flag (not a Luxembourgish one, as Winkens said), a gingerbread heart with icing "I mog di", "Cat" is also on the box. “Like any house cat, I have several lives. A very colorful life. "

The names: Schlomit Butbul, the daughter of Jazz-Gitti, suspects Elke Winkens. But with all due respect, Butbul also sings a lot better, so she must have pretended to be a lot. Sasa Schwarzjirg picks actress and cabaret artist Nadja Maleh. Someone from that profession seems more realistic. Nazar thinks ski star Lizz Görgl is likely, but Görgl also sings better (as far as memories are not deceptive). Even the stature does not speak in favor of an ex-ski racer ...

"The climate hero" sang "Formidable" by Stromae

First impression: Too shaky for a professional singer, too, but a courageous performance with good French pronunciation and a high affinity for rap. The tones weren't always perfect, but the rhythm was just as good as the quick articulation. More like a younger voice.

Hints: Black jacket, disco ball, old football boots.

The Names: The jury recommends young athletes? Sasa Schwarzjirg says that a Styrian is hiding behind the mask because of the green blinking heart on the costume chest. Another tip that is also circulating on Twitter: ORF football expert Peter Hackmair. The clues would fit (Dancing Stars, ex-soccer player, TV expert), something in the emphasis in his clue sentence, which the celebrities say in a computer-distorted voice, reminds one of Hackmair. David Alaba would be absurd, since Sasa Schwarzjirg is a little too optimistic about the station's budget. Elke Winkens taps Conchita. Also a daring tip, but more realistic than Alaba.

"The Capricorn" sang "Girl You'll Be A Woman Soon" by Urge Overkill

First impression: Vocally not quite clean either, a lot of vibrato that makes you think of a more experienced voice. Rather darker vocal color. The over-masculine demeanor could distract from true identity.

Hints: A voting box and a sign with "Capricorn 4 President". "It is easy for the Capricorn to seek votes."

The Names: Nathan Trent suspects Thomas Kamenar from Ö3. There have been more unrealistic tips. The clues point to the political milieu - but Arnold Schwarzenegger, who is also named? Jokingly, Sasa Schwarzjirg names Stefan Petzner, ex-BZÖ politician and ex-dancing star. Can that really be ruled out? Elke Winkens taps ski icon Franz Klammer, but the English pronunciation was too good for that - without a bracket, or wanting to offend Armin Assinger and Hans Knauß from the same sports corner. Couldn't it also be Alfons Haider - or ex-Neos boss Matthias Strolz? Yes, both seem possible!

"The Lipizzaner" sang "Listen To Your Heart" (Roxette)

First impression: A professional singer compared to the previous candidates. The figure is very petite, dance-like - with a slightly smoky, sexy voice. During the singing, minor weaknesses were revealed at delicate passages that an absolute professional would not undermine - or it is quite alien to the genre. "Technically cool sung," says Nathan Trent. You can agree with that.

Hints: A cleaning car with a number, the Lipizzaner trimmed the straw broom with scissors. "A K&K Lipizzaner does not return to his own door".

Names: Elke Winkens names musical star Maya Hakvoort. Their timbre could sound like this due to the slightly different genre. Schwarzjirg picks pop singer Simone. Nathan Trent calls Marjan Shaki - here too: Shaki should have adjusted her voice properly. Shaki and Hakvoort would have done it differently. Could it be "Wipe is Power" actress Ursula Strauss? She can also sing.

"The Yeti" sang "Supergirl" by Reamonn

First impression: Definitely the best singing voice on the show. Sung extremely “twisted” in the depths, this is what this somewhat quacky sound is called, as with US star Anastacia. In the heights, the first shyly playing Yeti was able to develop the full power of his well-trained female voice.

Hints: An old Nokia cell phone, an American flag on a Hollywood swing, two "Walk-of-Fame" stars with the inscription "Farrokh Bulsara" (the real name of Queen singer Freddie Mercury) and "What have we done to the world ? ", A line of text from Michael Jackson's" Earth Song "." I like swinging, but I don't like making calls "

Names: A first thought was Eva Maria Marolt, but the voice finally sounded too young and modern for that with all the vocal effects that are common today in the higher passages. A popular tip on social media was "Starmania" winner Nadine Beiler, but she also sounds different, with normally more indistinctly articulated, fuzzy vowels - but a long time has passed since "Starmania" and the 2011 Song Contest. Elke Winkens picks it up Ina Regen, that could be done. Sasa Schwarzjirg to US singer Anastacia. But apart from the fact that it would be a mega coup by Puls4, the voice doesn't fit, despite the Anastacia moment at the very beginning. Singer Sandra Pires would still be a possibility that is relatively small, but the costume would have to be deceiving. Sarah Lombardi was another tip from Sasa Schwarzjirg. Possible. Singer Virginia Ernst? That doesn't fit the timbre.