The Masked Singer



Joel Dommett


Davina McCall (The Masked Singer and The Masked Dancer)
Jonathan Ross (The Masked Singer and The Masked Dancer)
Rita Ora (The Masked Singer)
Oti Mabuse (The Masked Dancer)
Ken Jeong (The Masked Singer: 2020)
Mo Gilligan (The Masked Singer and The Masked Dancer: 2021-) Peter Crouch (The Masked Dancer: 2022)

Voiceover: Jim Johnson

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


Bandicoot Scotland for ITV, 4 January 2020 to present

as The Masked Dancer, 29 May 2021 to 22 October 2022 (15 episodes in 2 series)


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 usually Mo Gilligan - 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.

The Masked Dancer

A dance version debuted over a year later and was pretty much the same format as the singing version, but didn't last long.

Key moments

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

Morten Harket of a-ha singing his own song Take On Me and still not being detected. Conversely, it being so obvious that Monster was CeeLo Green that, in the 'two truths one lie' round, he even threw in "I am CeeLo Green" as one of the truths. I guess you had to be there.


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


The Masked Singer

2020 Nicola Roberts
2021 Joss Stone
2022 Natalie Imbruglia
2023 Charlie Simpson
2024 Danny Jones

The Masked Dancer

2021 Louis Smith
2022 Heather Morris


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 Singer series, broadcast during the Covid-19 pandemic, panellists sat separated by perspex, and the audience was sat in bubbles. Security guards wore face coverings. That series had an ITV2 spin-off, The Masked Singer: Unmasked, on which panellists sat two metres apart, and which itself social distanced from the main show by premiering on TV after the Saturday afternoon ITV2 repeat, around 162 hours later.

The first Dancer series was an emergency commission to fill the void left by the absence of Britain's Got Talent caused by COVID-19. Rita Ora, who was on the panel for Singer, could not return for it as she was filming The Voice Australia at the time.

The last three episodes of both Dancer series, broadcast 2 to 4 June 2021 and 8 to 22 October 2022, featured guest panellists; in the first series, these were David Walliams, Holly Willoughby and John Bishop. Mo Gilligan was not able to participate in the second series as he was busy, was replaced by Peter Crouch for most of the series, and appeared as a guest panellist for its sixth episode. John Bishop, the booked guest for episode seven, deputised for Jonathan Ross in episode eight due to illness.

At least two versions have been played on other shows; Jon Richardson's sitcom Meet the Richardsons had The Masked Singer of Mytholmroyd, with Richardson, Rob Beckett and Craig Charles, while Jonathan Ross and Davina McCall returned for the version on Dommett's lockdown show Home Alone with Joel Dommett, which featured Ore Oduba, James Argent and Chesney Hawkes.

Web links

Wikipedia entries: The Masked Singer, The Masked Dancer

See also

Weaver's Week review


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