The Masked Singer UK is back and the silliest show on TV, which reached audiences of up to 10 million last time around, returns with another 12 celebrities donning extravagant costumes and singing to panellists Davina McCall, Rita Ora, Jonathan Ross and Mo Gilligan, who must try to work out their true identities.
Things will be a little livelier this time, as there’s a live studio audience. “The audience changes everything,” says host Joel Dommett. “The energy in the studio has stepped up a notch and it’s the best series yet.”
The unveiling of Sausage (Joss Stone) was the showstopper in the last series, and Joel says there’s another big shock this time round. “There’s one in particular and I couldn’t believe it,” he says.
Here’s what the judges have to say about the new series…
Hi Davina! Is it good to be back?
It’s so nice. I really feel like it’s a show we understand. We know what we are looking for, we know what we want to get, and we know how we need to get it. It’s really fun.
Why do you think it’s such a hit?
Everybody from a three-year-old to a 90-year-old can sit down and enjoy it. I don’t know any other show that allows a family to sit down and watch something and play along together.
What can you tell us about this year’s characters?
The difficulty level is off the charts. It’s so much harder than it’s ever been. I’ve come to realise it’s more fun watching someone get unmasked when you don’t know, because you’re excited to find out. I felt a pressure to get it right in the first couple of series, but now I realise part of the fun is not knowing.
If you had to create a Masked Singer costume, what would you make?
I haven’t got a creative bone in my body. I would never be able to think of the things they dream up. There is one this year called Robobunny, which is extraordinary. It’s insane.
Jonathan, are you happy to be back?
Yes. It’s always exciting to see what the costumes will be. It’s so much fun, too. Having a crowd is lovely and it was great seeing people come along with their kids, who have a great time watching the characters fool around.
What can you tell us about this year’s characters?
There’s a wide variety. The biggest crowd pleaser is Doughnuts – made entirely of doughnuts and the most fun performer to watch.
Have you prepared for the new series?
I do check out who the younger stars are and listen to their voices. I do a little bit of warming up for it, but so far, that hasn’t helped me at all!
Is the panel competitive?
We all pretend it doesn’t matter, but competition is quite hot in some ways. Rita’s the one who really wants to win the series. She won the last two and I think she feels she’s going for the hat trick.
Any stand out moments to look out for?
Rockhopper did their version of a big ballad and you could see they found it really emotional. The panel and audience had a real moment as it was a brilliant version of the song, sung so emotionally.
Hi, Mo! How does it feelto be back?
It’s good. We don’t mix much throughout the year, so it’s nice to be back with the gang.
Will it be harder to guess the singer this year?
Yes. The contestants have seen the show, so they’re trying to change the way they speak and might put on an accent to throw us off. They even change the way they sing now.
What’s your method for guessing?
I’m trying to go in with a totally blank mind and listen to them a bit more closely, rather than getting my dad dancing on.
Who on the panel is on fire right now?
We’re all quite even – even Jonathan is on form. He normally comes out with the silliest names and I sometimes wonder if we’re being pranked by Ant and Dec.
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What has been this season’s standout performance for you?
There was a performance by Doughnuts that I just couldn’t stop laughing at.
Rita, is it great to be back?
It’s amazing. Every time I come back, I’m like “Oh, the family!” Me and Davina were saying we just love working together and it’s such great energy.
Which characters stand out for you this time?
I think Firework is so special, and Robobunny is incredible with the different layers they show. It’s interesting when you get a character that’s holding back and all of a sudden, they’re like, “Bang bang!” Also, Doughnuts is such a laugh.
What would you want to wear if you performed on the show?
Something with loads of hearts all over it, in red, which is my favourite colour. Maybe a red velvet cake, because I love cake.
Which performer has surprised you the most in this show?
I’m shocked every series. The calibre of talent is just crazy. Last year I was so shocked by Ne-Yo, because I listened to him so much growing up. The fact I didn’t get that right threw me.
Which panellist are you tipping to win?
Jonathan is really trying to win this year and he’s doing a great job. It’s hard for me to say that, but he is.
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