TV's most bizarre reality show, The Masked Singer, is quickly making its way back to our screens for a brand new season, leaving us to wonder whether such a spectacle could ever really count as 'reality'.
The popular singing contest, which is going into its fourth Australian season, has captivated audiences since it first aired in 2019, with its mind-blowing costumes and hit-and-miss singing.
Back in the day Dave Hughes, Dannii Minogue, Lindsay Lohan, and Jackie O made up the judging panel, with Osher Günsberg taking on hosting duties. Now, Chrissie Swan, Abbie Chatfield, and Mel B are joining Hughesy on the bench.
As the series has evolved – mostly through the COVID-19 pandemic – it has kept its hold on the people of Australia, but questions over whether it's a 'fake show' are as rife as ever.
When the show first aired, the celebs at the helm made sure to not reveal one person who had joined the stage beneath a mask, which led to some strange claims that did not support the 'reality' aspect of the show.
While there were cries that the audience was 'fake', it seemed more likely that the audience had been removed for reveals, in order to maintain secrecy until the show aired.
"There were maybe only eight people in the room when it happened. No one who wasn't supposed to be there was there," Osher told news.com.au of the reveals in the first season.
"In the control room, they basically hit record on the machines and walked out. We didn't even have a photographer!
WATCH: Masked Singer 2022 - Thong. Article continues after video
"Every entrance and exit was guarded by security … we protected it really well and I'm really proud of how we did," he revealed.
It seems all of this was done was to protect the identity of the masked singers, with Network 10 desperately hoping the secret wouldn't come out prior to airing.
Secrecy became a lot easier when the show was filmed during COVID-19 restrictions, as no sets were allowed to film in front of a live audience.
But it seems they have invited back live audiences for season four. An article from TV Tonight revealed that tickets were available to watch the live recording, but also warned any potential audience members to "take note, you probably won't get to see who is unmasked each episode".
If the reveals being hidden from the audience are all we have to go on to assume this show is 'fake', then we're not going to buy it this time around.
Let's face it, most of our favourite reality shows have a storyline to them that was probably half-real, half-manufactured anyway.
And if we can have enough suspension of disbelief to watch a giant costumed thong sing us a song, we're going to keep buying into that fantasy!
This article originally appeared on our sister site, WHO.