Imagine approaching a television network with the following pitch.
You have an idea for a reality TV show - a singing competition (so original). But this one involves celebrities disguising themselves with intricate, head-to-toe costumes (crazy costumes) and competing against their peers, unknown to each other, in front of a panel of celebrity judges and audience members who then vote to find the winner of the sing-off.
I wish I could have been there to hear that pitch and witness the reactions. I also wish I could have been a fly on the wall when celebrities were approached to be part of it.
However those pitches went, the show was approved and the first season of The Masked Singer has not long finished, and its winner revealed.
It turns out, the show is so much more interesting and entertaining, and less stupid, than it sounds.
What happens is, two celebrities - athletes, actors, comedians, singers, television hosts - sing covers of songs in front of a studio audience and the judges - Robin Thicke, Jenny McCarthy, Ken Jeong, and Nicole Scherzinger, and the identity of the lowest rating singer is identified.
**Spoiler alert**. The first season's winner was T-Pain and of the 12 stars who competed on the show, it's not surprising rounding out the final top three were also singers - Gladys Knight and Donny Osmond. Yes, the king of auto-tune beat legendary soul singer Gladys Knight (you really have to watch to see how).
Since winning, T-Pain has been interviewed a lot and has commented that the whole concept was the stupidest thing he had heard (joking, not joking). But, he's smart and took the job, which he has also coincided with the release of a new album and new music - clever marketing.
About 10 years ago, T-Pain - the American singer, songwriter, rapper (I use that term loosely), was everywhere. He had hit after hit and he and his autotune sound were heavily featured on the tracks of many of the biggest names in hip-hop and R&B. In more recent years, he hasn't been.
There have been videos of T-Pain singing without auto-tune doing the rounds for years but this show has actually allowed him to showcase his vocal ability to a much wider audience, also making him current and relevant again.
His new album 1Up was released around the same time as the finale of The Masked Singer, he has released new songs, including Getcha Roll On with current R&B star Tory Lanez and he's being talked about again.
T-Pain has found the perfect time for his second wind and he can definitely thank dressing up in a monster costume for that.