Pure chaos, a beautiful mess, and truly the best COVID workaround we’ve seen on TV yet.
Bow down and say sorry to Jordan Firstman’s Instagrams, because the Masked Singer Australia finale is the best thing to come from COVID-19. Filmed across Melbourne, Sydney and a quarantine hotel room in New Zealand then pieced together through the magic of green screen, this season finale was chaotic, continually jarring, unnerving, and genuinely awe-inspiring.
This season has missed a little je ne sais Lohan — aka A Little Less Unhinged (Snore). That’s probably not the show’s fault, of itself: we’ve all been debased so much this year and the world’s so off its axis that Masked Singer doesn’t even feel that strange anymore. Even the Battle Royale-esque calls for public decapitation at the end of each episode just feel like our new ritual: consider it the sly introduction of the purge into society.
But this finale was an insight into the true future liberals want — furries running amok, bodies floating on a TV screen, everyone just vibing, destroying the final frontier.
True virtuality: in essence, Masked Singer Australia‘s finale was an exercise in creating a metaphysical utopia, a queering of space. And there’s nothing queerer than failure, which is why Queen, aka Kate Miller-Heidke, came second this episode. As the saying goes, ‘No one sings a melodramatic, camper-than-camp theatre kid deconstruction version of ‘I Will Survive’ without reading a little queer theory first’.
So who won? Miss Bushranger Bonnie Anderson herself, who clearly is creating a narrative for a return to releasing music after explaining she went on the show after ‘focusing too much on acting’ via Neighbours. If her team’s smart, they’ll have a single out Friday, and we will be streaming! Any later, and I will probably forget.
Frillneck came in third, because Eddie Perfect knows a man’s place is behind two strong, successful masked girl bosses. It was an excellent top three, as each led the pack when it came to performance. Usually the singing is the most boring part of the show, but this trio could really perform and belt.
Shut up! This doesn’t matter! We need to get back to the green screen of it all, which was the true winner of not only Masked Singer, but culture as a whole. You hear that, Las Culturistas?
First, a moment from our Osher. He took to Instagram to explain just how they filmed this episode, and while the video’s worth watching below, here’s the quick run-down.
With the Masked Singer set shut down three weeks ago due to what became 17 cases among the crew and cast, the show was stuck without its finale.
Everyone involved went into a 14-day self-quarantine but given that Australia’s media jobs are just passed back-and-forth between the same twenty people, the big guns — Osher, Jackie O — had to head back to Sydney for work afterwards, where they green-screened their way onto set.
As evident on the show, Urzila was simply deeply horny and so returned to New Zealand to be with her wife — but unlike Dannii Minogue, she couldn’t bypass hotel quarantine, meaning she Zoomed herself in. They filmed last Monday, reportedly wrapping around 3am, no doubt because it was an absolute headache to orchestrate.
To be sincere for a second, the end product is so impressive, and easily the best COVID work-around I’ve seen TV do so far (sorry to the soap stars currently making out with mannequins).
EXCLUSIVE: An insider look at how tonight’s #maskedsingerau grand finale came together. Two countries, two states, two stages and one hotel room – the team at #WarnerBros and @channel10au truly rallied to get this made, and it’s an incredible piece of television. Best bit was during the very end of filming it got quite late in the night here in Australia, and because of the time difference it was even later in NZ – so at one point @urzilacarlson had hotel quarantine security banging on her door because she’s screaming « TAKE IT OFF » into a webcam at two in the morning. Get ready – tonight 7:30pm on TEN. #maskedsingerau @themaskedsingerau @jackieo_official
Having said that, it was also utterly broken — seeing the four judges, two on life-size TVs, behind the panel with perspex glass between each of them was mind-melting. As was the dip in quality between how Jackie O looked more or less like she was actually on-set and how Urzila, using her hotel WiFi, was low-res and laughably off-scale.
And the acting! The judges clearly were told to make things as normal as possible, which meant that Jackie O, who in reality was sitting alone in Sydney, would turn to her left or right to laugh with Hughesy or point at Urzila. I have to give it to her, the commitment levels are unparalleled: she might be the hardest working person on the show behind Osher, who made the fact he was green-screened onto the stage completely normal. He’s just an absolute vegan king. Two in one show?
Jackie O turning to look at Urzila is the performance of the year! Critics (me) are raving!
Other parts were slightly less convincing. No one in Australia thinks that group performance at the show’s beginning featured any of the actual eliminated contestants, given half of their vocals sounded like they recorded on Hughesy’s cracked iPhone. And that’s not even to mention that the head-reveals at the song’s end were all shot via green screen, with this incredible fast zoom-in trying to disorientate us.
In reality, it just made it look like something halfway between a sitcom’s opening credits and Luca Guadanino’s Suspiria. Again, it was perfect.
Why is this the bouncer at Palms and why won’t he let my friend who is definitely NOT drunk and definitely NOT me in????
Nothing felt real, and nothing hurt. Well, again, just one thing: Queen was robbed! Frillneck gave a perfectly good performance of an INXS banger and Bonnie Anderson belted out David Guetta’s ‘When Love Takes Over’, but Kate Miller-Heidke goes all in with her performances.
Sure, they literally lifted her into the sky in a trick straight out of the Broadway production of Wicked, but even without the stunts, it would have been an event. And with the stunts? Well honey, has anyone seen my jaw because I dropped it when I saw that performance touch-a-down!
Look how happy she looks! KMH hive, we stream at dawn. And night. And arvo. Always stream!
Plus, it doesn’t really matter who won and who lost. What matters is that in five years we will all shed our physical bodies and ascend to the Masked Singer Australia green-screen plain. An hour of pure heaven, long live the new flesh.
Bonnie might have sung us off, but Eddie had the true final word of the night when he talked about doing the show to offer something fun and silly for audiences. This incredibly dumb show has been a real reprieve from, well, everything — a twice-weekly hour where my Twitter feed and group chats pivot from existential dread to existential laughter.
Maybe it’s a good thing the show lacked the je ne sais desperation and latent sadness of S1, as we’re not exactly in short supply. I hope this recap has been part of that escapism in some small part, or, at the very least, you’ve pretended my (10/12 correct, sorry sportsmen) guesses were your own and impressed your friends.
And if not, a final gift: this very real and now-deleted Tweet from News.com.au, announcing the winner of tonight’s episode. It does explain Bonnie’s true distraction from music, at least, and it’s far from the weirdest plot-twist this year.
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