15 Secrets You Never Knew About "The Masked Singer"

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15 Masked Singer Secrets You Never, Ever Knew
Entertainment And News

The Masked Singer is coming back to TV in September and fans can't wait to start trying to guess who is under the outlandish costumes once again. Past performers have included Margaret Cho, Wanye Brady, Jojo Siwa, Rob Gronkowski, and even Dr. Drew Pinksy.

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The Masked Singer premise is simple: celebrities clad in wild costumes that hid their identities sing songs and a panel of four judges — Jenny McCarthy, Ken Jeong, Robin Thicke, and Nicole Scherzinger — have to try and guess who they are. The audience votes contestants off one at a time and they only take their masks off as they're departing the show for good. 

But a show that's all about secret identities has to be filled with other secrets as well.

Here are 15 Masked Singer secrets you never knew:

1. The Masked Singer originated in South Korea.

Like a lot of the best talent shows in America, The Masked Singer got its start overseas. The original version was a South Korean show called King of Mask Singer. The American version was conceived thanks to two happenstance: first, executive producer Craig Pletsis caught an episode of the original show on a TV in a restaurant and got curious. Then, Ryan Reynolds did a guest spot on the Korean show and went viral with his performance. That was enough to launch as U.S. version. 

2. Ryan Reynolds sang a song from Annie.

In case you need to know more about Ryan Reynolds doing the show, we have all the scoop. He appeared on the Korean version in 2018 to promote Deadpool 2. The perennial good sport and prankster donned a very silvery unicorn costume and crooned "Tomorrow" from the musical Annie. He's got a solid singing voice and can carry off a sparkly cape with the best of them.

3. The singers are masked all the time.

So far, the show has managed to pull off three seasons without any spoilers about who is under the crazy masks. That's because even the crew of the show don't get to see who the cast members are. Contestants arrive on set with their faces covered and staff of the show aren't supposed to talk to them so even speaking voices are hidden. They stagger their filming schedules and have them rehearse and different locations to reduce the chances of anyone ruining the unmasking surprises.

4. Contestant's friends also wear masks.

That's right. If you're competing on the show and you want to bring your bestie or your mom or your publicist with you, they have to cover up as well. Just imagine what would have happened if one of former contestant Sarah Palin's recognizable kids had walked into rehearsal with her. The guessing game would have been over before it started. 

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5. The audience is sworn to secrecy.

The show isn't filmed live. All the performances are shot with a studio audience and aired later. If you go to a filming, expect to sign a non-disclosure agreement and don't even think about bringing your phone in to record the performance in secret. 

The new season is less than a month away.

6. The big reveals don't happen in front of the crowd.

Even with the secrecy measure in place, the audience still doesn't get to know the full story. They get to watch the performances but once an unmaking rolls around, most of the crowd is escorted out after filming some generic reaction shots to be edited in later. Only close friends of the performers get to stick around for the actual reveal. 

7. The cast doesn't see the reveals, either.

The secrecy on this show is so serious that the cast doesn't even know who else is on the show until it all airs. The other competitors don't find out who is unmasked during a filming day so they're just as surprised at the TV audience at the end. 

8. Who actually gets to interact with the contestants?

According to to producers, almost no one knows who the celebrity performers are. Of the hundreds of people involved in the production and the additional hundreds of audience members, virtually none of them know who is under the masks. Only about 25 people known who the cast is and that might include the cast members themselves.  

9. The cast gets to choose their costumes.

Well, they get to choose within limits. The design team, headed up by Marina Toybina, already has the concepts laid out and the cast gets to come in and choose from the proposed designs. Once they have settled on a character, they can have input into the final details.  

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10. The costumes are more special than you know.

Even though the contestants aren't designing their characters from scratch, they have surprisingly strong reactions to the choices offered to them. "Some people when they came to look through sketches went automatically to one costume, and there would be tears and there would be a very deep story behind why it had to be that one," producer Izzie Pick Ibirra said. "It was a really interesting process. There were a number of people who reacted emotionally to the costumes and the explanation that came out about them were things that none of us would've ever have known. It's deeply personal."

11. Contestants need help getting into their costumes.

The costumes on the show are like the fanciest, most intricate college mascot characters you have ever seen. They are also designed to work for singing and dancing so there are lot of different elements at work, including microphones. Each contestant has a team dressing them. And don't think contestants get to skip hair and make-up just because their faces are covered. They have to have that done before donning the costume just in case they will be unmasked. They do get to run backstage and get a touch-up before the unmasking shots, however. 

Sarah Palin kept her glasses on under the mask.

12. The judges really, truly don't know who's under the masks.

Just like the audiences, the rest of the cast, and most of the production team, the four judges for the show are kept clueless about who is performing for them. They aren't allowed in any of the backstage areas where the contestants go so there's no chance of getting a hint of who is under the costumes. 

The judges with the season 3 winner Kandi Burruss. 

13. Ken Jeong is the most likely to be wrong.

Of all the judges, Ken Jeong is the worst at picking out who's who on the stage. Show host Nick Cannon has joked about it, telling reporters "Ken makes the worst guesses. The fact that he's a doctor and super-intelligent, all of that goes out the window because he's just throwing names out there. But it's hilarious."

14. Not every contestant is a singer.

Some of the performers for this show aren't known for their singing ability at all. There have been athletes and actors like Johnny Weir or Tori Spelling who have never been known for singing. Then there have been celebrities who can sing like nobody's business despite being known for other things. Such was the case with Ricki Lake and Rumer Willis. Everyone gets a team of music and dance coaches to help them do the best with the talent they bring to the show. 

15. All the Masked Singer winners have had musical backgrounds. 

At the end of the day, musical talent wins the show. The winners of the past three seasons are all musicians. First was T-Pain as "Monster",  then Wayne Brady as "Fox", and finally Kandi Burruss as "Night Angel".

The new season of The Masked Singer will premier on Fox in September. 

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Rebekah Kuschmider has been writing about celebrities, pop culture, entertainment, and politics since 2010. She is the creator of the blog FeminXer and she is a cohost of the weekly podcast The More Perfect Union.