The Masked Singer



Joel Dommett


Panel: Rita Ora, Jonathan Ross, Davina McCall, Ken Jeong (most of series 1), Mo Gilligan (series 2)

Guest panellists: Donny Osmond, Sharon and Kelly Osbourne

Voiceover: Jim Johnson

ITV2 coverage (The Masked Singer: Unmasked): Will Njobvu


Bandicoot Scotland for ITV, 4 January 2020 to present


Celebrities sing while concealed inside costumes; think a much more ornate version of Guess the Star.

The stars of the show are the costumes, lifesized creations that look absolutely astounding on-screen. The hedgehog had real quills, the unicorn had a real rainbow mane, and the tree was really wooden.

Tree, Daisy, and Chameleon.

Inside the costumes are some celebrities. Some are singers - the opening series featured pop stars Kelis and Jake Shears. Some are non-singing celebrities, such as footballer Teddy Sheringham.

The Masked Singer makes a great play about how they've kept the identity of the celebrities secret. They're kept under guard, their speaking voice is disguised, and the celeb has a coterie of guards marking their every move. We might snark at how ITV will tell us what's going to happen in its soap operas, but not on this show.

Ken Jeong (standing) with Davina McCall, Rita Ora, and Jonathan Ross.

All of this is to let the pop panel speculate as to who is inside the costumes. The panellists - Davina McCall, Rita Ora, Jonathan Ross, and a guest - make guesses based on the performance. Further clues are included in the conversation on stage, and in video clips filmed backstage.

While the audience is asked to vote for the best performance of the night, almost all of the panel discussion is to identify the singer. Once the worst singer has been identified, their costume is opened and they reveal their human identity.

Monster performs.

The Masked Singer encouraged its audience to speculate through online communities, and that only works if you're watching absolutely live. ITV had come across the magic bullet to get people to watch live, and that includes the adverts during the programme. First series ratings were superb - 6 million through the series, peaking at 7.57 million for the final.

Key moments

Jonathan Ross suggesting that Daisy could be singer Natalie Cole, despite the fact that she's been dead since 2015. Oops.


"I know exactly who this is." - Ken Jeong, which he usually follows with a ludicrous guess.


2020 Queen Bee (Nicola Roberts)


Based on King of Masked Singer, shown on KBS in South Korea. ITV's version is almost a direct copy of the American Fox TV version, itself inspired by a Thai version with spectacular costumes.

Title music

Marc Sylvan and Victoria Horn


Character production was by Plunge Creations, from designs by Tim Simpson and Cath Pater-Lancucki.

The second American series was transmitted as emergency afternoon filler as a result of a dearth of content caused by Covid-19; our second series lost Ken Jeong due for the same reason. They bought the third but didn't need it, so they put it to slaughter on ITV2 opposite new Tipping Point.

In the second series, broadcast during the Covid-19 pandemic, panellists sat separated by perspex, and the audience was sat in bubbles. Security guards wore face coverings. Panellists sat two metres apart from the host on The Masked Singer: Unmasked, who social distanced from the main show by airing only on ITV Hub, and premiering on TV after the Saturday afternoon ITV2 repeat, around 162 hours later.

Web links

Wikipedia entry

See also

The Masked Dancer

Weaver's Week review


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