Russia is in the middle of screening Maska, its own version of the popular celebrity singing show The Masked Singer. In the most recent episode, the collection of masked stars were joined by a singing dinosaur, who was revealed to be two-time Russian Eurovision star Sergey Lazarev.
The Masked Singer is a celebrity singing contest based on a popular South Korean show format. The acts range from established singers to amateurs from other fields, such as acting and sports, who just fancy a singalong. But while the contestants are household names in Russia, they can’t rely on their fame.
The contestants all perform in disguise, wearing elaborate costumes that hide their true identity. The Russian series features a Parrot, a Panda, a Cloud, a Robot and an Egg. But regardless of the costume, it ends up being all about the voice.
In the most recent show, a guest masked singer took to the stage, dressed as a dinosaur. He performed the song “Zhestokaya lyubov'” (“Cruel Love”), a 2002 single from Russian Eurovision maestro Philipp Kirkorov.
Kirkorov is also a judge on the show and was faced with having to guess the identity of his good friend singing one of his hits.
However, Sergey didn’t make it easy. He disguised his voice, giving a deep and expressive tone to his performance. When the Dinosaur was finally unmasked, Kirkorov looked shocked to discover his friend inside the costume.
With Sergey Lazarev revealed as the Dinosaur, this rules him out as the performer behind the Panda. After the Panda’s week three performance of Leonid Agutin’s “Ostrov”, Philipp Kirkorov and his fellow judges were adamant that Sergey was inside the furry black and white suit. But it appears there’s another Russian star behind the Panda.
t.A.T.u.’s Lena Katina also made an appearance
Sergey Lazarev isn’t the only former Russian Eurovision star to feature on The Masked Singer. In week five, the Spider was unveiled as the singer Lena Katina. She’s best known as one half of the Russian pop duo t.A.T.u. who represented Russia at Eurovision 2003 “Ne Ver’, Ne Boysia”.
Lena had survived for four weeks, performing songs such as Lana Del Rey’s “Young and Beautiful” and Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face”. But sadly in week five, the Spider lost her duel against the Egg and was eliminated from the contest.
Other former Eurovision stars have had success on local editions The Masked Singer in their own countries.In August 2019, Germany’s Eurovision 2004 singer Max Mutzke won the German edition of the show. In December, France’s Eurovision 2001 singer Natasha St-Pier finished fifth on the French edition, while Equinox singer Zhana Bergendorff was the runner-up on the Bulgarian edition. Earlier this year, Portugal’s Eurovision 2003 singer Rita Guerra won the Portuguese edition.
But the Russian contest continues, with the Deer, the Panda, the Wolf, the Lion and the Parrot still competing to see who will be the first Russian champion of The Masked Singer.