American Idol hooked prime time audiences on the singing show format, The Voice innovated with a hint of mystery and spinny chairs, and now The Masked Singer dials it up to ’11’ with the trippiest spin yet.

What is The Masked Singer?

Part singing competition, part guessing game, all crazy, The Masked Singer features a mystery celebrity, fully masked in an over-the-top, Las Vegas-style costume, performing in front of a celebrity panel who try to guess which big-name-star is performing in front of them.

Not surprisingly, the format is a foreign import and based on a wildly popular South Korean game show. Celebrity panelist Ken Jeong knew firsthand what he was getting into.

“It’s like the most popular singing competition show in all of Asia, and my mom, we’re Korean, and it is her favorite show.”

Naturally, the actor/comedian had to take the gig, if for no other reason than to make his mother happy.

“When I got the invite to be on the show, my mom was like, ‘You gotta do it. You gotta do it. You will love it.’”

Who is the Masked Singer?

Just like the diverse group of celebrities trying to guess who is under the mask, the singer could come from any corner of fame, according to panelist and pop-culture guru Jenny McCarthy.

“The competitors are actual, real celebrities, but not just any celebrities — they’re Grammy Award winning artists, they’re athletes, they’re actors, actresses with hidden talents …”

The star explained the spectacle and mystery behind the show.

“They come on the show, and they’re dressed in these ornate, amazing, beautiful, crazy, bizarre costumes, singing with their amazing voices, and we just try to figure out each week who they are.”

Fellow panelist Robin Thicke elaborated on how the show differs from singing competitions that audiences are accustomed to.

“We’re not there to criticize; we’re there to encourage and support, and help the people at home, and the in-house audience, figure out who’s behind the mask.”

Thicke compared it more to a mystery than a competition.

“That’s what we don’t have anywhere on American television is the ‘who dunnit’, ‘who sang it’ type format.”

Why Be a Masked Singer?

If it’s not a competition, and the people performing are already famous in their respective field, why will celebrities perform on the show? Panelist Nicole Scherzinger shared her thoughts.

“They all have different reasons for coming on the show, and why they’re doing it, but I think it’s really cool because they have a mask there — it kinda gives them the courage to show other parts of them, and reveal sides to them they have not maybe gotten to do in the past.”

Although she and her fellow panelists aren’t there to judge, they are there for a very real reason.

“You’ve got heart on the other side of it, because there’s actually real people; we would know them as celebrities in their names, but we actually don’t know who they are so we connect with them on a real human level.”

You can try to guess The Masked Singer Wednesdays on FOX.