15 surprising things you didn't know about the bizarre competition show 'The Masked Singer'

Michael Becker / FOXThe Monster contestant and host Nick Cannon on an episode of ‘The Masked Singer.’
  • “The Masked Singer” is the buzzy new singing competition show on Fox.
  • On the show, the singers have secret identities and they perform while wearing costumes.
  • The series is based on a South Korean game show.

“The Masked Singer” is Fox’s new singing competition show that has celebrities conducting over-the-top musical performances complete with back-up dancers, choreography, and special lighting each week. The catch is that the competitors are dressed in elaborate costumes that hide their true identities, which will only be revealed when they are eliminated from the competition and are unmasked.

And it seems the over-the-top show has had people interested from the very first episode – it debuted to an audience of 9.37 million viewers, according to an Associated Press report.

Whether you’ve tuned in every week or haven’t seen a single episode, here are 15 things you probably didn’t know about “The Masked Singer.”

It’s based on a South Korean show.

MBCentertainment/YouTubeThis performer sang ‘Creep’ by Radiohead.

The viral competition series isn’t an American original – it’s based off of on the South Korean show, “King of Masked Singer,” which premiered in 2015. The American series dresses contestants in full-body costumes whereas the South Korean series relies mostly on masks and oversized clothing.

The show was such a hit in South Korea that it has also been recreated in China, Vietnam, and Thailand, according to Fox.

Actor Ryan Reynolds was on the South Korean version of the show.

YouTube/ MBCentertainmentHe wore a sparkly cape.

In 2018, as a part of his promotional circuit for “Deadpool 2,” Ryan Reynolds made an appearance on the Korean version of the show. Dressed in a unicorn mask and cape, Reynolds sang “Tomorrow” from the musical “Annie.” Of course, fans seemed to be really shocked when he took off the mask and revealed who he was.

Some staffers who used to work on “Dancing with the Stars” now work on “The Masked Singer.”

Henry S. Dziekan III/Getty‘Dancing with the Stars’ is a dancing competition show.

Perhaps part of the reason for the show’s pizzazz is that two “Dancing with the Stars” alumnus help bring it to life. Izzie Patrick Ibarra, an executive producer for “Masked Singer,” used to be an executive producer for “Dancing with the Stars.” Alex Rudzinski, who also works on the masked competition series, used to be a director for “Dancing with the Stars.”

The show is pre-recorded in front of a live studio audience.

Michael Becker / FOXThe show isn’t streaming live to your TV.

Even though each episode may be new to viewers at home and the screaming audience on TV may make the show seem like it’s being recorded live, the performances are not actually happening in real-time, according to Entertainment Weekly. All of the episodes were pre-recorded in front of a live audience.

The contestants have an entire team that helps them with their routines.

Michael Becker / FOXThe Unicorn was eliminated before the finale.

Every competitor works with a team in order to prepare for their performance, which is especially useful because many of the contestants are not professional singers and performers,

In an interview with People, the show’s host Nick Cannon said contestants have access to voice coaches, choreographers, and a production team.

The contestants are accomplished in many different fields.

Michael Becker / FOXThe Alien was later revealed to be La Toya Jackson.

The contestants are not all professional singers, but that doesn’t mean they’re lacking in talent. According to Fox, the competitors have a collective 65 Grammy nominations, 16 multi-Platinum albums, 16 Emmy-Award nominations, four stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and four Super Bowl titles.

The contestants got to choose their own costume from a selection of 20 designs.

Michael Becker / FOXThere are fans hidden in the costumes that help keep the singer cool.

The costumes are all crafted by one designer, Marina Toybina. Toybina designed 20 costumes and each of the 12 celebrities chose the costume they most identified with, Izzie Patrick Ibarra, the show’s executive producer, told E! News.

Read More:

Fox’s new singing competition with goofy masks is the biggest unscripted TV show debut in 7 years

Some of the costumes’ designs have been influenced by movies.

Michael Becker / FOXThe Rabbit’s costume was inspired by the cult-classic film ‘Donnie Darko.’

“‘Donnie Darko’ and ‘Edward Scissorhands’ had a huge influence on the rabbit costume,” Toybina told the New York Times. She also said the costumes for the Lion and Unicorn were inspired by Narnia, the fantastical realm from the book and movie series “The Chronicles of Narnia.”

The costumes aren’t easy to wear, but some are a bit tougher to don than others.

Michael Becker / FOXThe Raven was later revealed to be actress Ricki Lake.

Some costumes, like the one for the Hippo, were pretty easy to put together but the looks for the Unicorn and Raven took much longer to create.The costumes are also not easy to wear. For example, the Raven’s wings are 9-feet wide and very heavy, Ibirra told E! News.

The costumes also make it tough for competitors to see the audience. “They really cannot see very much. And that’s the most disarming thing for them is getting on stage,” Ibirra added.

In terms of judges, the show’s host thinks Ken Jeong is the worst guesser.

Michael Becker / FOXAfter each performance, every judge says who they think is under the mask.

“Ken makes the worst guesses,”Cannon told People earlier this year. “The fact that he’s a doctor and super intelligent all of that goes out the window because he’s just throwing names out there. But it’s hilarious.”

He also said that, in terms of judges, Robin Thicke takes the show “extremely seriously” and he really listens to the voice to try to figure out if he recognises it.

Contestants wore masks during rehearsals and fittings.

YouTube/The Masked SingerWhen they’re not performing, contestants wear special masks.

On the set and during rehearsals,the contestants wore masks so even production people wouldn’t know their identity. And they rehearsed at different locations and arrived on set at different times during filming.

Margaret Cho, who was later revealed to be the Poodle, told E! that contestants had to wear balaclavas (ski masks) and big hoodies that say “Don’t Talk to Me!” whenever they arrived anywhere related to the show to add to the anonymity.

Even the contestants’ entourages had to go undercover.

YouTube/The Masked SingerIf recognised, family members or friends could spoil one of the reveals.

With the prevalence of social media, some stars are as identifiable by their posse as they are by their faces, so each competitor’s friends, agents, and family had to wear masks any time they were on set.

Audience members were not allowed to have any electronics and they had to sign a special contract.

Michael Becker / FOXNo cell phones are allowed on set.

“Our studio audience is also under extreme scrutiny,” Cannon said in a behind-the-scenes video for the official “Masked Singer” YouTube channel. “They must sign contracts binding them to secrecy and all electronics are banned.”

After someone is eliminated, the big reveal doesn’t happen right away.

Michael Becker / FOXThe show’s editing makes it seem like the reveal is immediate.

Although those watching on television see an immediate reveal, when the losing masked singer is announced, their mask isn’t instantly removed. According to Entertainment Weekly, the singer first goes backstage to touch up their hair and makeup so that they are camera-ready for the big unveiling.

Even when someone gets eliminated from the show, fellow competitors are not allowed to know who is under the mask.

Michael Becker / FOX.Margaret Cho is an actress and comedian and she performed as the Poodle.

Margaret Cho told E! News that when someone gets eliminated and is unmasked, the other contestants are not able to watch it happen live. Like viewers from home, they have to wait until the episodes air to figure out who is hiding in each costume.

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.