'The Masked Singer''s Virtual Audience Is So Absurd and So Unnecessary

“Mom, come pick me up, The Masked Singer is scaring me again.” But seriously, just when you thought the series where pseudo-celebrities unmask themselves after singing on TV couldn’t get any more alarmingly absurd, The Masked Singer season 4’s virtual audience proves all of us wrong. I’m so happy the show came back despite the obvious COVID-19 challenges, and I understand why the network would feel the need to have audience reactions to bits, but the fake audience footage makes me feel gaslit and anxious. That’s pretty much the opposite of what I should feel while watching this show. Let me explain.

First of all, to clarify: The audience is not 100% real. The season was actually taped in a mostly empty studio with just the contestants, back-up dancers, security escorts, socially-distanced(ish) judges, and Nick Cannon. The party line on The Masked Singer audience—a.k.a. what they’ll tweet at you if you mention it to them on social media—is that the audience is “virtual” and the result of “movie magic.”

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