Ken Jeong Calls 'I Can See Your Voice' the 'Perfect Companion' to 'Masked Singer'
Sure, the singing competition, which premieres after September 23's Season 4 launch of Masked Singer, is also “a hugely successful detective singing game show game that is from Korea, just like The Masked Singer,” says executive producer Craig Plestis. And Masked Singer panelist Ken Jeong is involved, but that's where the similarities end.
On I Can See Your Voice, Jeong takes on the role of host as a group of panelists (called "detectives") who guess whether a singer is good or bad without them truly singing at all.
“If you can determine that correctly, [the contestants] can win big money,” Plestis says of the $100,000 prize on the line. Between lip syncing, interrogations and clue packages, detectives Cheryl Hines (Curb Your Enthusiasm) and Adrienne Bailon-Houghton (who was the Flamingo in 2019 on The Masked Singer) as well as a rotating group of celeb singers — Donny Osmond, Nicole Scherzinger, Arsenio Hall, Niecy Nash, Kelly Osbourne — will try to guess the correct singers. The final singer chosen will get to sing (really well or horribly bad) with one of the guest detectives on that episode.
TV Insider recently chatted with Jeong about his new hosting gig and what reality show fans can expect from I Can See Your Voice. Read on below:
How did I Can See Your Voice come about for you?
Ken Jeong: Well, it really is the gift that keeps on giving because of the success of The Masked Singer. It's based on a hit game show from Korea. And like with The Masked Singer, I consulted my mom again, when I was offered this show. She loved the show, and she sent me some YouTube videos of the Korean version of it. I totally got it, and I loved it.
It's airing right after The Masked Singer, which seems like a good spot for it!
It really is the perfect companion to The Masked Singer. It's fun, it's musical but it's different. The spotlight is more on the secret voices that are not celebrities so there's something different to offer. There are some traditional game show elements of The Masked Singer in that you have an amazing panel of celebrity judges and the musical guests. But I think because it's coming from Fox and from the producers of The Masked Singer, all credit goes to them, really. They've really formatted it in a way that's easily digestible and I'm really just there to provide the energy.
You are hosting this time but do you still get a chance to weigh in with your thoughts? I know you must have an opinion to share!
I try not to, to be honest. I'm there for the contestant, who is trying to win money. It's funny, there have been times where the panelists are like, "Ken, what do you think?" I'm like, "You really want to know my opinion, the dumbest judge on The Masked Singer?” I want to help him or her win money. If anything, I'm really kind of the advocate for the contestants, as well as just kind of purveying a certain tone that's consistent with the fun of The Masked Singer.
Like The Masked Singer, are there times where things get emotional?
It's a really fun show but it’s unexpectedly emotional at times. I won't lie to you. I knew it would be funny. We have panelists and friends of mine even, who are on the show, that they're hilarious, and then some amazing musical talents, but what surprised me was how unexpectedly emotional that it can really be because you're really feeling for the contestant making very difficult choices. It's also different than The Masked Singer where all the contestants are established celebrities. It's a bit different, where it's more grounded in a sense, the stakes are different in many ways, and in some cases, dare I say, a bit reality-driven. I've been very surprised, in a great way, of how an emotional journey these shows are.
So we will hear the stories of the contestants in their packages, right?
Yes to all of that. The whole point is to know if they're a good singer or a bad singer without ever hearing their [actual] voice. You're doing it on the basis of clues and interviews and if they're voice modulated or lip-syncing. There's a lot of ways. Then you're having these musical experts that are helping and also entertainers and celebrities and comedians that are helping the contestants try to win and try to get the guesses right, to see if they're good or bad singers. Like The Masked Singer, it's incredibly hard.
And was it an adjustment for you to take the host role?
It was a lot of fun to be in that element. It was definitely a lot harder just to try to kind of keep the show moving and having an eye for production. I'm really, really grateful for the opportunity.
I Can See Your Voice, Wednesdays, 9/8c, Fox