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27 Behind-The-Scenes Facts About "The Masked Singer" That Are Actually Pretty Darn Cool

The show's writers, directors, and studio team actually have no idea who's under the masks.

1. The US version of The Masked Singer is actually based on a South Korean show called King of Masked Singer.

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In 2018, Ryan Reynolds was a contestant on that show.

2. The show isn't actually live. All of the episodes are pre-recorded months in advance in front of a studio audience.

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3. All electronics are banned from the studio audience, and audience members must sign contracts binding them to secrecy.

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The show's executive producer, Izzie Pick-Ibarra, said that whenever someone in the audience asks for their phone, the crew will make fun of them and give them a sash to wear for the rest of the taping.

4. One audience account said they didn't actually get to see who was unmasked at the end of the episode they watched.

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Because the show is filmed so early in advance, the producers want to keep the contestants' anonymity for as long as possible. The studio audience hears which contestant will be unmasked, watches them struggle to take off the mask, but then the contestant is "whisked" offstage still wearing the mask. Then, the audience films their surprised reactions — which we see edited into the episode on TV. The majority of the audience is asked to leave the room, leaving behind reps, friends, and family members of the contestants who get to witness the actual unmasking.

5. And before the contestants are unmasked, they're sent backstage to touch up their hair and makeup.

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6. The audience actually votes for their favorite contestant using custom Masked Singer voting devices.

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7. Even though the episodes are only an hour long, the tapings can take up to 14 hours to shoot.

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The first two episodes of Season 3 were shot on the same day, and Drew Carey said he was on set for about 14 hours.

8. Nick Cannon was always Izzie Pick Ibarra's first choice to host the show.

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She liked that he was fun and experienced but also had great fashion sense.

9. The competitors are also not allowed to know who's unmasked until the episode airs on TV.

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10. The judges' responses are totally candid, and they can say — or guess — whatever they want.

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11. At first, none of the contestants are allowed to interact backstage or listen to each others' performances, which helps maintain everyone's anonymity.

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In an interview with Variety, Drew Carey said, "I was under the impression when I signed up that all the celebrities would be hanging out and we’d get to talk, and then we’d put on our masks. But then I found out, you don’t even know who anybody else is. They keep everybody separate. I never saw anybody until we were doing pictures together in costume. We’re under strict orders not to talk to anybody."

12. In fact, every contestant rehearses in a different location, has a remote dressing room, and a separate production team to avoid any extra run-ins.

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13. But as the group gets smaller, the contestants are more likely to pass each other during sound checks and listen to other performances.

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Wayne Brady told Entertainment Weekly that he had his own suspicions about who else was under the masks.

14. The judges aren't involved in any behind-the-scenes work and actually aren't allowed to communicate with the contestants offstage.

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They have no idea what's going to happen until they see it for the first time with the audience.

15. The contestants aren't coached or given voice lessons before performing, and "everything they do is their own talent."

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16. To keep identities secret, the show also sends out drivers to pick up the talent and their entourage at random places around LA.

17. The contestants' faces are also covered before they even arrive at the studio.

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Drew Carey also revealed, "I had to go into the Grove shopping center and park in the parking lot and change into the hoodie and the mask, and get in the back of the car while they drove around the block back into CBS."

18. The contestants are sworn to total secrecy. Before filming, they sign non-disclosure agreements and can't tell anyone they're on the show until they've been unmasked.

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Drew Carey said, "I didn’t tell best friends. I had people over watching the Super Bowl that day who wanted to watch The Masked Singer, and I had to get them to change the channel after the White Tiger got done. I was like, ‘Can we watch something else? This show sucks!'”

19. But there are exceptions, of course. If a contestant wants to tell family members or their spouses, they also have to sign NDAs and wear masks if they're on set.

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Wayne Brady mentioned keeping his inner circle very tight and didn't tell his mother, but his ex-wife and daughter knew.

20. Because the celebrities have such busy schedules, the show often uses stand-ins.

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Joey Fatone said that whenever the Rabbit was onstage performing or talking to the judges, it was actually him. However, as for clue packages, Joey recorded the voiceovers, but a stand-in was used in the video portion.

21. Before filming, the contestants are shown different character designs created by Marina Toybina, and they get to choose which one they want to be. Sometimes, they also get to help design the rest of the costume.

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Wayne Brady said, "From the first time we all started talking, they asked me what I saw in terms of the costume and then they laid out all these designs in front of me. At first, I looked at the Rottweiler, and I thought it would be cool to have this hip-hop dog, so I kind of helped to design that look, but then I saw the fabulous Mr. Fox and I thought, 'Wow.'"

22. Each contestant has a whole team of people that helps them get in and out of their intricate costumes.

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23. The contestants get to choose the songs they want to sing, but on rare occasions the producers will pick for them.

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24. The show's producers ask famous people if they'd be a contestant, but some celebrities will reach out and ask if they can be on the show.

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Wayne Brady said the producers reached out and asked if he'd be on Season 1, but he said no. He changed his mind after watching the show and asked if he could be on Season 2.

25. The contestants are never fully alone onstage.

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Executive producer Craig Plestis' daughter, Clara, is a trained singer and voice artist who stands on the corner of the stage wearing a black mask and does the background singing for every performance.

26. The show's writers, directors, and studio team don't even know who's under the masks, and they only refer to contestants as their characters' names.

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The show's executive producer, Izzie Pick Ibarra, said, "I was extremely, extremely careful about how many people were really privy to that information. People were learning who the cast were as we were taping the show."

27. And finally, the contestants can't see too well out of their masks, and Nick Cannon has had to catch people before they fell offstage.

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