The Masked Dancer Premieres Tonight (Dec 27) on FOX
The Masked Dancer premieres tonight (Dec 27) on FOX before it moves to Wednesdays at 8 pm beginning on January 6. The new series will be similar to The Masked Singer, the show it spun off from. However, there are a few key differences.
Ken Jeong is the lynchpin between the two shows. He’ll sit on The Masked Dancer judges panel alongside former American Idol and SYTYCD judge Paula Abdul, actress Ashley Tisdale and former Masked Singer contestant Brian Austin Green. On The Masked Singer, Ken shares judges duties with Jenny McCarthy, Robin Thicke and Nicole Scherzinger. Actor and comedian Craig Robinson will host Dancer, vs Nick Cannon on Singer.
Of course, format-wise, the biggest difference is singing vs dancing. While The Masked Singer contestants use their real voices while performing songs, the judges will only have the dancers movements to judge during performances. However, that didn’t stop Paula from figuring out the identity of a contestant based on the dancer being pigeon toed. That means clues in the latter show will need to be tweaked slightly! Also, costumes will need to accommodate breathability and movement.
The Wrap spoke with Craig Plestis, executive producer both shows, who outlined the main differences. The Masked Dancer is also executive produced by Ellen Degeneres, who kicked off the concept as a parody skit on her afternoon talk show.
The contestants’ speaking voices will be revealed
Masked Dancer will include a new “Word Up” clue element that allows the judges and viewers at home to hear the speaking voices of the contestants, something that never happens on Singer, said Plestis.
The clue packages are “more in-depth” and “much more story-based”
“You get a deeper feel for who the celebrity is underneath the mask,” Plestis said. “We’ve also included a lot more clues within those packages as well, since you don’t get to hear their singing voice — but you get to hear their speaking voice. On top of that, there are clues within the dance routine, all around.”
The Masked Dancer is limited run
Only 10 contestants will compete–fewer than any season of Masked Singer. The Top 10 dancers will be broken into two teams of five at the start, and they will merge throughout the course of the season as more celebs are unmasked.
The costume team isn’t led by Marina Toybina–she’s busy getting ready for Season 5 of Masked Singer
“We had a different team of costumers … but we had a team of individuals who worked on Singer as well, to ensure the DNA,” Plestis said.
The costumes were a lot more work than Singer’s
“Singer, you have to sing in the costume, so there’s an acoustic element that we have to have. But with these costumes, you have be able to move around, lift someone above your head. You had to take a beating and survive. And then on top of that, we had to make sure there was great airflow with these costumes, that they didn’t become overheated,” said Plestis.
The big prize is even “shinier”
“The trophy is the Diamond Mask Trophy. It’s a giant, diamond-encrusted trophy. It’s so sparkly and beautiful,” Plestis said. “It just might be the heaviest trophy we’ve ever made for the series.”
The level of celebrity you’ll see unmasked might be a little bigger than what you’ve seen on Singer
Contestants on The Masked Dancer have amassed more than 38 million albums sold worldwide, 20 Emmy Award wins, 20 Grammy Award nominations, 10 World Dancing titles, five New York Times best-selling author titles, four Olympic gold medals and three Broadway show appearances, per FOX. Will any So You Think You Can Dance alums be included among the contestants?