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The Masked Singer US

  • Episode:

    1

  • Title:

    Series 2

  • Transmission (TX):

    Sat 06 Jun 2020

  • TX Confirmed

    Yes

  • Time

    4.40pm - 6.30pm

  • Week:

    Week 24 2020 : Sat 06 Jun - Fri 12 Jun

  • Channel:

    ITV

  • Published:

    Wed 27 May 2020

The Masked Singer US

Episode 1

Nick Cannon introduces the first four contestants - Butterfly, Egg, Thingamajig and Skeleton.

Panelists Robin Thicke, Jenny McCarthy, Ken Jeong and Nicole Scherzinger will be guessing who the stars behind the masks are.

Q&As

NICK CANNON

How would you describe the show for those who have not seen The Masked Singer US?

I believe the reason this show is such a big hit and people loved it so much is that anyone can enjoy it. It’s family fun. From eight to eighty and it’s the who sung it aspect that you can play along and there’s entertainment, singing, showmanship. It’s wonderful!

What did you think when the show did so well?

It was definitely a pleasant surprise. The level of skyrocketing that occurred. I knew it was going to be big but I didn’t know it would be this big.

How did it feel to be part of it?

It felt amazing to be a part of something so big. Just knowing when you believe in something and you’ve got a hard-working crew and team that all share the same sentiments and you get to celebrate the victory together.

And everyone on the show seems to be having a good time…

My favourite part about hosting the show is that it is just a good time. I’ve hosted tons of stuff in my career and I’ve said to this day that I wouldn’t do anything that I didn’t enjoy and I truly enjoy being at The Masked Singer.

Who do you think is the best guesser on the panel?

I think innately Robin Thicke is probably the best guesser. Jenny wants it more. She wants to be on that Sherlock level! Nicole is more paying attention to the talent and her guessing is hit and miss but she’s such a quality vocalist that she’s paying attention to the actual performance and who should win. And then Ken is just out of his mind!

Personally, what clues do you look out for when you’re guessing in your mind?

It’s so interesting because I always have a feeling on this show that I have a kindred relationship with whoever is under the actual mask. I’m always checking do I know this person? Do they have a personal relationship with me? Did I used to date this person?! That’s the stuff that goes through my mind!

I’m up close and personal whereas the panel aren’t so I get to feel their vibe and the way they carry themselves lets me know if it’s a stranger or if it’s a friend. That’s kind of how I start to pick up on things.

Do you have a favourite costume this season?

I started off with the Egg. I was a huge fan of the Egg but now I’d have to say the Ladybug.

The talent this season is remarkable. We know there’s several Grammys, several Emmys, Hall of Famers and you can hear it in their voices. There’s a platinum recording artist in there for sure.

***

NICOLE SCHERZINGER

Tell us about The Masked Singer US

It’s a one of a kind show – fun, bizarre. This season you have 16 celebrities that are covered in these elaborate, detailed, beautiful costumes. They’re masked and they’re singing, competing for a trophy.

What did you think when the show was such a hit?

I was just really grateful because when you sign onto something new you take that risk and you take that chance and you can only hope it’s successful but you really have no idea. Every week we thought maybe it’s beginner’s luck but it just got better and better and it’s really great to know that the US fell in love with the show and it was something for families to watch together. I was just really grateful and super chuffed.

Do you think after the success of season one in America celebrities called in and requested to take part?

Oh yeah. Absolutely! First time round it was unknown – unless you’d seen it in Korea and it was a YouTube phenomenon - and it was something so different unlike anything we’d ever seen here so kudos to those that did the first season. Then when we broke all them records, honey, we were big time so I think we got some sweet phone calls and that’s why we have the talent we have this season. It’s outstanding.

Let’s talk about the performances…

I’m blown away by some of the talent this season. I really admire and respect everyone who signed on. The clue packages are really intimate stories of these people’s lives and they’re being really vulnerable and opening themselves up to tell their stories so we can get who they are. I think everybody is just amazing and awesome for being so brave and bold to come on and half these people don’t even sing. They’re trying something new or trying something that’s a hidden love or passion or secret of theirs. I think the talent is super well rounded and I think we have some really special acts that I’m floored by. I just stare at them and I’m like we have to know who you are! When you’re looking at these people you’re like you’re so talented and I’ve got to know you and you’re looking and thinking is this a hidden talent the world has not seen yet? It’s fascinating! It really is. I’m blown away. I’ve been brought to tears on a number of occasions.

Do you have any favourite costumes?

I love all the costumes. They’re all so different and so unique. I think Butterfly is so beautiful. It’s fascinating and it’s like it’s award winning…like it came out of Avatar or something. The detail – it’s gorgeous.

How are you at guessing?

I’m not gonna lie, I kinda didn’t know what I was doing last season so I’m brushing up on my pop culture, putting on the detective hat and stringing together the clues better.

My best skillset is just going off of their performances. Being a performer, my best skill is my ear. I’m wondering how old they are and if this is something they do for a profession or if it’s a passion they have. I rely heavily on listening and their performances.

How is Nick Cannon as a host?

Nick is such a professional. He is one of the best in the business, if not THE best. What’s great about Nick as a host is that he makes everyone feel good and he’s so present and so in it. He’s always listening and he gives a lot as a host. You know he’s there and he’s got your back.

Are you excited for this season?

Yeah, I’m so excited for this season to start. We have a blast. It’s so fun and it’s like you get to be a kid again. I love singing, it’s my first love and it’s fun to connect with these people through music and their stories.

***

JENNY MCCARTHY

Tell us about The Masked Singer US….

The Masked Singer is a music competition show but on a whole new level. It has celebrities dressed up in certain costumes and it’s up to the judges and also the viewers to figure out who they are. It’s not just who’s the best vocalist but also who is actually behind the mask. It’s actually way more fun for the viewer. You’re not just judging someone on their voice, you’re actually trying to figure out something so you’re using that extra part of your brain which to me makes it more fun.

What did you think when the show was such a success?

I had this weird intuition that this show was going to be fun and I think I was the only one. Agents, friends were like ‘what are you talking about? This is the weirdest show ever!’ but it checked all those boxes that people love which is a family show, the mystery in the show, celebrity, talent. I thought, you know what, if it’s executed as well as it is in my imagination then this show is going to be huge so when it turned out to be a huge success that just confirmed that my intuition is on point. I’m really proud to be part of it.

Does that make you a better guesser too?

Maybe. I don’t know. In terms of guessing I’m very competitive. I definitely want to beat the other judges. I pay attention to clues. There’s not much homework you can do. There are so many celebrities now in the world with the age of social media. You could have a YouTube star that you may not know or an Instagrammer so there’s nothing you can do to prep for this show but as a collective brain amongst the judges – I borrow a little off Robin, nothing from Ken and then a little from Nicole and together I can come up with a pretty good guess.

Do you think because the show did so well last season that celebrities called in and asked to be on this season?

There is no doubt in my mind that celebrities called and begged to be on the show. The proof of that is we have more celebrities in season 2 and the calibre of celebrities has gone way up and so that just proves to me that the show is a success and celebrities are watching and they want to be on it. I don’t blame them! It’s a really good opportunity for actors or athletes to come on and show a talent that we might not know about and now they can do it.

Can you talk a bit about the performances this season?

The performances this season I knew were going to be even more amazing but I had no idea these celebrities were in on how to really play this game. They came in going not only am I going to sing but I’m going to trick the judges, the viewers. I don’t want anyone to know who I am. So they’re coming in and singing all kinds of genres. They come in and they’re singing a country song and you go oh this is a country star and the next week it’s an RnB song and then they’ll have an accent one week! The celebrities this season are so much fun because they’re actually playing the game. They’re wanting to trick us and they’re doing a good job because we’re having a tough time. Trust nothing!

Do you have a favourite costume this season?

First of all the costumes are all beautiful I must say but if I had to pick one it would be Butterfly. It’s so gorgeous, I can see all the little girls that watch the show wanting to be Butterfly. It’s just magical.

Are you doing well at guessing?

I think I’m doing pretty good. I’m probably wrong but overall I feel like I’m holding my own. I mean anyone can look really good sitting next to Ken judging so I guess the bar isn’t really too high! I do feel proud of myself thus far.

Why is Nick such a good host?

Nick Cannon is the perfect host for this show. He’s got a personality, he’s also very good at doing our jobs! He seems to know the celebrities before we do and I don’t know if that’s because he can maybe hear them more closely or if he just knows a lot more celebrities than we do! He’s quick, he’s funny and he’ll call us out on our mistakes and bad guesses and it’s kind of fun to have someone do that.

Are there any clues you look for in particular, aside from the clue packages?

My method to my clue madness starts the moment the celebrity walks out on stage – I’ll go how tall are they, okay are they skinny?, Is that outfit masking their physical appearance and then when they open up their voice and sing I can hear maybe an age group – okay they’re in their 20s or 30s or 40s. I use each thing to kind of narrow it down.

And then the clue packages, I know they trick us a little bit with them but I do try to weed out the ones that maybe match the other little things that I picked up – height, sound, weight so I put them together like a puzzle.

Tell us about the security on the show

The security is the coolest thing ever. I’m kind of jealous of it. They get to walk in with hoods on and shirts that say don’t talk to me – who wouldn’t want that?! – and their managers and their agents are all dressed up so they’re not even recognisable because a lot of them are, especially in this business. I’ve never seen anything like it. I can only imagine what the secrecy was like on Game of Thrones but this seems comparable in terms of confidentiality.

Are you excited for this season?

I’m so excited because I’m so proud of this show. It’s everything I want it to be and more.

***

KEN JEONG

Tell us a bit about the show and why fans love it so much…

The Masked Singer is actually based on the number one show in Korea. I’m of Korean descent and it’s my mother’s favourite show in Korea. That’s how I first really heard about the show and it really is a worldwide phenomenon. The format of the show is unbeatable. It’s part American Idol, it’s part Voice, it’s part What’s My Line. There are so many different elements fused into one show and it’s a bit of everything for everybody. To me it has evolved into the number one family show. My kids are 12 years old and it’s their favourite show. It’s what they talk about with their friends at school. It’s become a show where households get together to watch. It’s event television and has evolved into something bigger than ever I thought it would be and it’s truly an honour to be part of this.

What did you think when the show was such a hit?

I knew it would be a good show but I had no idea it would be this big. I have been fortunate enough to be a part of some projects that have gone on to be global sensations and the power really is in the fans and the audience. I really think this format is unbeatable and is the true star of the show. It’s an addictive show, even if you’re working on it.

Do you think because the show did so well last year that celebrities asked to take part this time?

I definitely think because of the popularity of the show celebrities have called in this season. I think because of the success of the show it’s just got more interest in general. Behind the scenes as well as with audiences. There’s something really pure and entertaining about it. It’s giving everyone an opportunity – for example an actor or actress who isn’t known for singing and then they can belt out a tune or maybe they’re classically trained and no one knew that or maybe they became famous not for what they were classically trained for. That happens in live. From what I’ve noticed contestants are savvier and smarter and I have been fooled and swerved on a level that maybe didn’t happen last season and I’ve definitely been bamboozled more than once. I’ve been played. I’m the easiest person to be played, I’m like not the brightest bulb on this show. I’m the dimmest bulb. There have been times where, even universally as a panel, we’ve all been played. The show is evolving into just an even better show.

Tell us about your fellow panellists…

I think Jenny is the smartest judge. Her pop culture sense is really impeccable. There are times she just zeroes in. And what Nicole and Robin both do really well, because they’re trained musicians, they have an ear where they can just guess the singer. As they did in the first season. They knew it was Gladys Knight! Nicole and Robin have such a trained ear to the point where they can guess who the actual singer is. Between the three of them they have these unique approaches of how to crack the code. Me? I have no code to crack because I don’t know what I’m doing at all. I’m like a vanilla wafer – I’m just there. I’m not the sweetest or the saltiest of all the crackers but I’m there. I’m like the vanilla wafer – like oh my gosh this is television, that’s a vanilla wafer. I remember that wafer from last year! Every pie needs a little crust and I’m that little crust at the bottom of the pie that is used to buffer the meringue from the tin foil so I’m the crust at the bottom of the pie plate.

Did you do any celebrity googling to prepare yourself for this season?

The only thing I google is myself every day just for daily affirmation. I make it a point to not google anything because I’m really just trying to judge it from the clue package and the performances and the overall fun of it. Even at home I think that you want to enjoy it for the moment. To me I really think the presentation should be the google, that’s the search engine and it’s packaged in a way that’s so entertaining. It’s actually taking you on a journey through these contestants’ lives and why they want to do the show. You can’t google heart! Well, you can…you can google ‘a heart’ and find some fascinating information from a cardiac standpoint. Me being a physician. There are two atrias, there are two ventricles, there’s an aorta and a vena cava. So, you can google heart but you can’t google ‘heart’.

Tell us about the performances this season

I think there are already more memorable performances this season than last. There are so many quality performances it’s an embarrassment of riches. I didn’t know who was going to win last year because I don’t know anything but even if I knew something I know even less. No one has any idea. It’s going to be really exciting.

What are the costumes like?

They’re amazing. I think my favourite one is the Leopard. There are so many elements of the Leopard that are just beautiful to witness and watch but also the performance inside that costume is equally as good. It’s a little bit of everything. It’s part performance and part costume. What I’ve noticed is the really good contestants, even between the songs - and this really appeals to the actor in me - they’re really playing a part. And there’s a lot more of that this season and that really keeps you guessing.

Tell us about Nick Cannon…

The shortest host in TV history. He is as tall as a laptop. He and I go back and forth. I always say ‘he is so short’ when in actuality he is much taller than me. I get it. From a psychological standpoint I am projecting my own height issues onto Nick Cannon. He has these amazing glittery shoes and he just shows off. I’m a little jealous of Nick. He’s got all this success and the shoes going on. But seriously the chemistry is great and with Nicole, Robin and Jenny. We’re now even closer friends than we were when we started the show. We’re so comfortable with each other and I think that adds to the show. There’s a comfort there, we can literally say anything. We tease each other and we all love each other. It’s become like a family. We even have a text chain going on and we text all the time, even during the off season. They’re all such a joy to work with. It really is such a joy going to work each day.

***

ROBIN THICKE

Tell us about The Masked Singer US

It’s kinda like a Coachella trip meets a family vacation. The costumes are some of the highlights of the show. These elaborate incredible costumes and you get celebrities in these costumes and covered in masks and they sing and they perform and they try and throw you off who they are and we have to guess who’s behind the mask. Really the show is so funny – working with Dr Ken and Jenny and Nicole, we all are so foolish and have such a great time working together. It’s all based and spirited around family fun.

What did you think when the show did so well

The first thing you want is just to love coming to work and we all love working together. You figure well if it’s that much fun for us then it should work on television. And the producers did an incredible job, by the time it hit TV screens it really connected with the audience and we were really lucky that it did what it did.

How did it feel to be part of something so big?

At this point in our careers, Nicole, Jenny, Ken and myself have all had pretty good careers and we’re just happy to put some icing on the cake.

Do you think that because the show did so well that celebrities called in this time and requested to be part of it?

I definitely think that. Every night someone was revealed that person was trending worldwide and I think there’s a lot of careers that could use that upswing.

How is Nick Cannon as a host?

Nick is just an all-round incredible talent. He’s a musician, he’s a stand up, he’s a host and an incredible businessman. He and I worked together on the Kevin Hart series Real Husbands of Hollywood and we became very good friends.

Tell us about this season…

Really the most glaring difference is that the producers are making us look as dumb as possible. They are tricking us at every turn, the celebrities are throwing their voices, they’re changing their physical traits. Anything we can do to not guess correctly. I think the audience at home are going to be more challenged too which makes it an enjoyable experience.

Did you do any preparing at all, any celebrity googling?

I did a lot of push ups for this season and it hasn’t made a dent!

Do you have a favourite costume?

I think the Leopard. It’s just elaborate, it’s gothic and it’s pretty cool.

What about the performances?

I believe that the bar has been raised. They’re pretty darn good.

Aside from the clues in the clue packages what are you looking for?

I listen for vocals and look for physical traits which is why I’ve been thrown off so much this year. They can very easily throw some clues into the packages that could make you think everyone’s a member of Destiny’s Child but it doesn’t always work out like that! I try to just really listen in for the voices. The most helpful thing is the panel we have because sometimes I might not be close and Jenny will say something that opens up a porthole and I look a little smarter. I think it’s the helping each other out that gives us a chance to guess correctly. It’s nice to not be alone in this pursuit!

Who do you think is the best guesser?

I think Jenny and I are probably the strongest guessers. Ken thinks everyone is Björk and they can’t all be Björk. Jenny is very thorough. And Nicole in the first season was just figuring out things but she has shown up this year! She’s writing everything down and we’re going toe to toe this year. Ken – just throw him out the window, doesn’t really matter!

How excited are you?

I’m very excited. I love coming to work and working with these people. I’ve done a bunch of stuff in my life and this is definitely one of the positives.