‘The Masked Singer’ accused of ripping Billie Eilish cover arrangement
While we’re all still trying to figure out whether or not Brendon Urie is actually on The Masked Singer in the States, the Australia show is facing much bigger problems. Arizona-based alt act Halocene have shared a 12-minute video outlining why they believe The Masked Singer Australia ripped their arrangement (which includes an original riff) of Billie Eilish mega-hit “bad guy.”
Formed in 2008, Halocene released their debut Can You Hear Us Now? in 2011 followed by a handful of other releases through to most recent Refraction last year. While they have plenty of original content, they also gained a following with covers of everyone from Paramore to My Chemical Romance on their YouTube channel.
The band first shared their Eilish cover in April while the inaugural Australian version of The Masked Singer premiered in September. Osher Günsberg, who is best known as part of Bachelor nation in Australia, signed on to host the new series. Lindsay Lohan, radio host Jackie O, singer-songwriter Dannii Minogue and comedian Dave Hughes are among the judges.
Cody Simpson won the inaugural Australian season, which unmasked him as the robot last Tuesday. But the contestant performance in question was unmasked much sooner.
The Masked Singer Australia teased the Eilish cover from the Lion in late September, which aired the following night during their third episode. On Oct. 14, the Lion was unmasked, revealing singer Kate Ceberano.
Today, the band shared a video outlining the similarities between Ceberano’s cover on the show and theirs posted in April.
“Hey guys, a very important video just went up on our channel,” they posted to Instagram. “We found out that our cover of ‘Bad Guy’ was stolen by a major TV show. And there's not much we can do about it besides spread the word. Please watch & share! Link is in our profile... Thank you ?”
Halocene members Bradley Amick and Addie Nicole lead the video explaining how The Masked Singer Australia has “stolen note for note, beat for beat [their] musical arrangement.”
With their cover posted 22 weeks prior to the show’s airing, Halocene included a clip of Ceberano explaining her song choices were pulled from her daughter’s playlist.
“Regardless of how they came across our version, someone with the music department of the show had to go over the intricate details of our recording. There are things that aren’t even present in the Billie Eilish version, which includes distinct cord changes—the guitar, the basslines, instrumental melodies, the vocals. Even the ad-libs [and] the shouting at the end.”
The duo goes on to explain that they acknowledge that this is indeed a cover, but the arrangement is too close to be simply inspired by their version.
“We just want to make it clear we’re not trying to take credit away from Billie and FINNEAS,” Amick says. “This is their song. They’re on another level when it comes to music, and this is really just our niche. We enjoy trying to change genres of songs. It really should be noted that we pay full license and royalty fees to make sure we do right by the acts that we cover.”
Amick further explains that their arrangement also included part of an original song of his, “Why Wait?” which by allegedly stealing the band’s arrangement was taken along with it.
“What they don’t realize is, when they set out to steal our cover arrangement, they also stole from an original song of mine,” Amick explains. “As a musician, sometimes you write songs and you set them aside for a while. They can be fully finished songs, and you just don’t feel like they’re ready for the light of day.
“Sometime later you say, ‘I’m going to use that riff in that old song.’ Musicians do it all the time. Guitar players, you store your unused licks, but then sometimes later, you [want] to use it in a new song, and that’s what we did for ‘bad guy.’ We basically borrowed our own ideas, and we interjected into this, so it was part cover, part mashup of our own song. We’re using our riffs and melodies from our original content in this song. The Masked Singer Australia is basically purposefully and willingly stolen our licensed recording of ‘bad guy’ but they’ve inadvertently stolen from my original song, ‘Why Wait?’”
Check out the band’s full video below.
The Masked Singer Australia hasn’t commented on the accusations at the time of publication. This post will be updated should a statement be released.
While the band did include the breakdown of the two tracks in their video, you can see separate snippets of the performance next to the band’s arrangement below.