“Look, we’re getting the message out about wearing masks, guys,” quipped judge Ken Jeong during the TCA session for Fox’s The Masked Singer. “If you want to wear a mask out in public; if you want to wear a mask on television — I mean, how better than to get the message out and [make a profit] than to wear masks!”
Dr. Ken is part of the popular “Masked” franchise as he is on The Masked Singer, which debuts its fifth season on March 10 and The Masked Dancer. When the producers asked if they were concerned about the expansion of the franchise to something like The Masked Chef or even The Masked Athlete, they had no issue because of the popularity of the existing shows. Jeong added, “The Masked Singer is the mothership — this is such an exceptional show!”
Fellow judge Robin Thicke chimed in: “The level of star power in season 5 is at another level!”
Jeong and Thicke were joined at the virtual TCA session by fellow judges Jenny McCarthy Wahlberg, Nicole Scherzinger, guest host Niecy Nash (who is filling in for Nick Cannon) as well as Executive Producers Craig Plestis James Breen and Rosie Seitchik (EP) to talk about what is in store for season 5 — because it’s not going to be your typical season.
In addition to giving us a sneak peek at a performance of the performer in a Russian Doll costume singing “Shallow” from A Star Is Born (it was both moving and bizarre), it was revealed that this season will introduce “Cluedle-doo”, the show’s first-ever secret celebrity guest who will stir the pot with new clues about identities.
McCarthy Wahlberg pointed, “He messes with us! we think he’s going to give us an amazing clue — sometimes he does, but sometimes he’ll steal it or not tell us!”
This season’s roster of masked singers includes Grandpa Monster, Chameleon. Black Swan, The Piglet, Porcupine, Phoenix, Russian Doll and Snail — but it won’t stop there. The season will also feature wildcard rounds (costumes to be announced) which will feature an unknown number of masked celebrities who will take the stage during the run of the series. At the end of the show the incognito wildcard will attempt to take the spot of another masked celeb in the group to compete for the trophy. This will definitely mix things up.
“It just adds a freshness to the whole show,” said Plestis of the wildcards. “It brings a whole new life to the series so we’re excited by it.”
This season also brings Niecy Nash into the fold as guest host while Nick Cannon is sidelined by Covid-19. Breen said that Cannon will return halfway through the season, but the EP said that they were incredibly lucky to have Nash on board as host fill in last minute. “She had chemistry with the panel — she was just a producer’s dream,” said Breen. “She was absolutely fantastic.”
“Niecy’s a boss…she’s a queen,” lauded Scherzinger.
“I have never felt so welcomed,” said Nash. “I just walked in the door and every single person supported me and was so kind.”
Because of Covid-19, the show was impacted in the fourth season and the protocols will stay in place including the virtual audience, social distancing, and of course the masks. In terms of booked celebrities to step in the costumes, the producers say that so many celebs have wanted to be on the show and a lot of them have the time now.
“Celebrities have said, yes, their schedules are [freer] but they want this platform — they miss performing, they miss the stage,” said Scherzinger. “This is the perfect opportunity to get back out there.”
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