The Moment A Crazy Korean Singing Show Exploded Across The Globe
Unless you live in South Korea -- or are a huge K-Pop fan -- it's probably fair to say you'd never heard of a little show called 'The King Of Masked Singer' until just last year.
The popular TV series normally features a host of Korean singers, actors and personalities who don colourful masks and costumes, with a panel trying to guess who the secret celebrity could be.
But in 2018, a very unusual contestant was added into the mix, and as a result, introduced the zany show to the rest of the world via the power of the internet.
Appearing on stage as The Unicorn, the mystery celeb belted out musical hit "Tomorrow" with more gusto than Little Orphan Annie's original rendition, accompanied by a very jazzy little flute solo.
The performance had the panel raising their eyebrows, clearly impressed, and the entire crowd began swaying gently to the optimistic tune.
While one panellist rudely suggested the American-sounding voice might belong to President Donald Trump -- the actual reveal was much more surprising.
"The main actor of the movie 'Deadpool 2'", a voiceover announced.
"He's the most popular bad boy of Hollywood!" the host added, as Ryan Reynolds took off his mask to screams from the audience.
How The Show Is Different From The Australian 'Masked Singer'
The Costumes: While a couple of characters might be the same (yep, we've got a Unicorn) the costuming is much more low-key on the Korean show.
'The King Of Masked Singer' features gorgeous paper masks and elegant sparkly capes -- but the downside is you can totally see the singers' shoes, which is how one panellist picked Ryan's identity.
"You said it early, you knew right away!" he told judge Gu Ra, adding, "You saw my darn sneakers".
The actor also joked that he was so nervous he was "wearing an adult diaper" -- which we can safely say is also not part of the Australian costumes, designed by Tim Chappel (the Oscar-winner behind the 'Priscilla, Queen Of The Desert').
The Characters: While we're very proud of our 12 luminous animals, AI and extraterrestrials -- the Korean version has had the chance to really go wild with character ideas in the last four years.
There's been Warm Heart Robot, The Lamp Genie, Devoted Singer Carnation Man, Little Wizard Abracadabra, Salvador Dali, and Domestic Clock. Then they've also had characters that seem much more like lines of poetry like If You Listen To My Song Banana, Find Your Aunt, and Be Careful For Cold The Little Match Girl.
How the Australian 'Masked Singer' Will Be Similar To The Korean Version
The hosts of the Korean show explained to the audience that Ryan was only going to be in Seoul for a couple of days and managed to keep his appearance completely under wraps.
"Despite all the offers he got, he chose to appear on our show secretly. He didn't tell anyone. He kept his words with us."
"I didn't even tell my wife," Ryan chimed in, probably just so the audience could whisper Blake Lively's name excitedly.
'The King Of Masked Singer' first aired in 2015, and there have been a whopping 220 episodes broadcast since then.
The hugely popular format has since inspired versions of the show in Argentina, Bulgaria, China, France, Germany, Greece, Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, the Netherlands, Portugal, South Africa, Thailand, the UK, the US and Vietnam. Whew.
We're getting our very own version in Australia in just a few days and we're busting to know who's behind the masks -- even if we won't be able to guess based on footwear.