Following on from the huge success of series one, The Masked Singer has returned to ITV every Saturday evening to offer the nation some light relief and serve as the UK’s new favourite guessing game.
Already deep into the latter stages of the contest, the programme started out with 12 contestants who all remain anonymous, hiding their identities behind outlandish stage costumes while singing in front of a four-person judging panel.
Series 2 has been airing since Boxing Day of last year. Sadly, Covid-19 related travel restrictions meant American actor & comedian Ken Jeong was unable to return after starring in series 1. He has since been replaced by fellow comic Mo Gilligan.
Though the judging panel will occasionally welcome a guest judge, such as Alan Carr who has often appeared throughout this series, the three other regular panellists alongside Gilligan are Jonathan Ross, Davina McCall and Rita Ora.
If you've been watching along you might be wondering how the show is made. In this article we'll share the strict rules the audience must follow, and other show secrets.
Who is the Masked Singer?
As the semi-final creeps closer this weekend, the famous faces that have already been revealed are:
• Pop star Sophie Ellis-Bextor
• Spice Girl Mel B
• Singer & Actress Martine McCutcheon
• Former Football superstar Glen Hoddle
• Comic & Actor John Thompson
• a-ha frontman Morten Harket
• Comedian Lenny Henry
When and where is it filmed?
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The timing of the Masked Singer actually goes a long way to explaining why there is no audience voting process or interaction with viewers at home – these performances were recorded in September of last year!
According to The Daily Express, filming took place over eight nights, starting on Monday, September 14.
This also explains why a live studio audience is visible in all episodes, at the time of recording the Government’s COVID-19 related guidelines allowed a live audience providing they were all socially distanced, even the judging panel are separated by perplex screens.
The host of the show, Comedian Joel Dommett, was still required to remain at least 2 metres from all contestants and judges.
The show was filmed at ITV Studios Bovingdon, a former RAF airfield site in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, just over 20 miles outside London.
What are the rules for the audience?
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You might be thinking why no audience member who witnessed all this back in September is yet to blab about which celebs were revealed, this is because audience members have to sign non-disclosure agreements and hand over their mobile phones before going into the studio.
In fact, in the first series of the show, audience members never saw who was behind the masks, as they were asked to leave the studio before the celebs were revealed.
Joel Dommett, who also hosted series 1, last year told Sunday Brunch "We record the whole show and then they get to the bit where they go 'take it off, take it off', they go to take off the mask and that's the point where, I don't know if I'm allowed to announce this, we then get rid of the audience so they can then keep it a secret."
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"The entire audience leaves, and they're very angry about that. And after we get rid of the audience, we reveal who it is."
Even in this instance audience members were required to sign non-disclosure agreements, to prevent them from exposing everything from costumes to song choices.
New judge Mo Gilligan also shed light on just how far the show goes to keep the identity of the performers hidden, he told Alison Hammond on her My Life in TV podcast: "The set is huge. I got in the car; the driver was instructed he can't talk to me. I cannot talk to you, I'm not allowed. There's a gate. There's another gate with huge security guards. This happened every single day.
"You don't see anyone, you go straight into your dressing room, it's so secretive. It's a fun show, it's a really good family game.”
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Former England football manager Glen Hoddle was recently unmasked as "Grandfather Clock", he also took to twitter to show his "Don’t speak to me" hoodie, an outfit that has to be worn by all performers along with a face shield and gloves.
Sophie Ellis-Bextor, the first celeb to be unmasked this series, revealed that the judges had their suspicions about her from day one, but their correct guesses were edited out of the show to keep the illusion alive.
She told The Sun: "They didn't put it in the edit but three of the judges said my name, so I already knew so I'd been rumbled."
She even confessed she tried to keep it all hidden from her family, but even her one-year-old son identified her distinctive voice.
She took to Instagram to reveal "Even my one-year-old pointed at the telly and shouted "mummy!" when I started singing in the alien suit!”
- The Masked Singer
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