The Masked Singer NZ: A legendary unmasking that left me wanting ‘Moa’


“Who is it? Who is it? Who is it underneath the mask?” As the theme song bellowed out of the television, signalling the beginning of episode two of The Masked Singer, I found myself in a predicament.

I loathed myself for coming crawling back to a show with a format I didn’t understand and a talent pool who clearly felt the same. But I genuinely wanted to know – Who is it? Who is it? Who is it underneath the mask?

Tonight’s episode began with a host of women in Look Sharp top hats and masks sashaying across the screen. The audience erupted as host Clinton Randell appears behind one said Look Sharp mask, attached to a piece of painted dowel. It’s honestly production at its finest.

But something must be working for Three because the viewers are flocking faster than host Randell managed to slip in a promo for his radio show. We get it, you are the guy from the radio and the eighth placegetter on season 3 of New Zealand Idol.

The Masked Singer NZ was the strongest series launch for Three in 2021, winning the time slot last night with over 400,000 viewers tuning into the premiere. But while they won the time slot, did they win the hearts of the viewers and get that elusive return audience?

As someone who thrives on awkwardness and sequins, I decided to come back for one more night in the hopes of that perfect combo. And I found it.

Tonight we met six new heroes in costume and Monarch and Sheep were up first. Lady6 was impressed with the costuming of Monarch, “she is stunning.” James Roque agreed stating, “we’ve blown all the budget on this.”And I’m sorry but I just absolutely disagree. What is this … WHAT IS THIS.

Tonight we also were treated with meeting Sheep, Pavlova, Orange Roughy, Moa and Monster.

And while the singing was a huge improvement from the previous night – except Moa, Moa shout-sung like he was on a party bus with road rage – the guesses were equally obscene: “Richie McCaw”, “Grant Dalton”, “Russell Coutts”, and “Joseph Parker”.

Of course, as a nation we collectively found ourselves fuming at the premise that all of these highly successful people would have the spare time and be willing to sacrifice their thriving careers for this show. I was genuinely shocked nobody guessed the newly single Bill Gates at this point.

For me, the production low point came when Monster’s eye fogged up and Randell had to become a human windshield wiper (add that to the bursting CV), in an attempt to defog the giant plastic eye.

Was there no option to cut and give it a quick wipey wipe before committing to using that moment in the final cut?

Tonight our bottom three, as voted by the studio audience, were Monarch, Moa, and Orange Roughy.

And, sadly, tonight it was Moa’s time to be unmasked, and when the mask came off, unlike last night, I was genuinely shocked. Shocked how they got All Black legend Stephen Donald to say yes to being on the show.

Someone get this brilliant man a Fujitsu or Versatile Garage ad immediately.

“I said yes and then I was standing out here in front of all these people singing in a Moa. I don’t know how I got here.”

“Same,” said every person who ever went to the Wellington Sevens.

And just when you thought we had endured enough Kiwi reality show cringe for one night, it happened.

Host Randell, who played Richard Kahui in the movie The Kick – based on Donald’s infamous kick during the 2011 Rugby World Cup – decided this was his moment to shine and set to work on the ultimate tie-in.

Randell decided to then awkwardly interrogate Donald on the fact that he might not remember him, and promo his portrayal in the movie. Just put your IMDB link in your Instagram bio like a normal Kiwi “celeb”, please.

But despite all this, just like an ex that you just can’t quit, I’ll probably come crawling back on Sunday night and I’ll probably hate myself for it on Monday morning.

• The Masked Singer NZ screens on Three on Sundays from 7pm and Mondays from 7.30pm

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