Every weekend, the UK watches in anticipation (and shouts guesses at the screen) as another celebrity takes off their elaborate costume and reveals their identity on The Masked Singer.
The country’s favourite guessing game has returned for another series, with Gloria Hunniford and Heather Small already being unmasked.
There are some pretty tight protocols in place to ensure that the famous faces remain shrouded in mystery.
Here, Metro.co.uk breaks down all the rules for the contestants, judges, staff, and audience.
Is The Masked Singer filmed live?
The Masked Singer may not be broadcast live, but it is filmed in front of a live audience.
The audience was scrapped in the second series of the show due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, but they have made a triumphant return in series three.
Host Joel Dommett said that the inclusion of a live audience has a ‘big impact’.
He told the Radio Times: ‘It makes such an impact on the show. We had so much fun and just seeing people there who are full families, like kids and grannies and parents.
‘It was honestly such a blast to film. We had such a fun time.’
How do The Masked Singer celebrities keep their identities a secret?
There are many procedures in place to keep the celebrities’ identities under wraps.
Derek McLean and Daniel Nettleton, executive producers of The Masked Singer, previously gave Metro.co.uk an exclusive insight into the strict rules.
When it comes to keeping the famous faces a secret, they revealed that body doubles were used in the creation process so designers are in the dark as to the identities, and on-set all-stars are referred to by code names.
For example, Pasty Palmer was nicknamed ‘Square’.
According to the rules, each star is also required to wear a helmet and visor, complete with a sign reading: ‘Do not talk to me’ to avoid any giveaways before their epic on-screen unveiling.
In 2020, contestant Alan Johnson revealed to Metro.co.uk some of the more extreme security measures in place.
The politician, who was hiding under the Pharoah mask, admitted that he was even put up in a hotel under a different name during his time on the programme.
He said: ‘The car came to pick me up from the hotel which I was registered as George Larkin.
‘The car came to pick up Mr Larkin and on the backseat, there was a bag, and as soon as we came to the gates I had to put on a balaclava, a visor.’
Alan continued: ‘Every time the contestants were going out to the loo or leaving their dressing room for any purpose, they had to have all that on.
‘Very few people know [the identities of the other contestants]. Obviously, the make-up lady had to know and people doing the costumes, nobody else. They did it very skillfully.’
Former US contestant Adrienne Bailon explained to Good House Keeping that the crew members who knew the cast’s real identities, and contestants were therefore allowed to talk to, wear special shirts that say ‘You Can Talk to Me’.
The rules don’t just apply to the stars – the judges also have to adhere to tight restrictions in the name of secrecy.
Jonathon Ross recently told Metro.co.uk that fellow judge Rita Ora got in trouble for using her phone during a break.
He said: ‘Rita – who’s lovely and we love working with Rita, she’s great on the show – but Rita got told off for using her phone in all the breaks, because you know young people and their phones cannot be separated.
‘In the end now, they take her phone off her. When we start recording, they remove Rita Ora’s phone so she cannot have access to the gram while she’s doing the show.’
Even audience members aren’t safe from the phone ban.
The executive producer of the US version of the show, Craig Plestis, told CinemaBlend, ‘We confiscate their phones. When they go home I’m sure they’re googling like crazy; we ask them not to. But on the set, they don’t have that luxury. They have to use their brains. It’s real time information. They have to guess.’
Before entering the studio, the audience has to sign a non-disclosure agreement, which prevents them from spoiling the results before the episode airs, according to Bustle.
The Masked Singer continues tonight at 7pm on ITV.
Who is behind the mask?
- UNMASKED: Chandelier
- UNMASKED: Snow Leopard
- WHO IS: Bagpipes
- WHO IS:: Lionfish
- WHO IS:: Doughnuts
- WHO IS:: Traffic Cone
- WHO IS:: Panda
- WHO IS:: Rockhopper
- WHO IS:: Mushroom
- WHO IS:: Firework
- WHO IS:: Poodle
- WHO IS:: Robobunny