OTI MABUSE DISCUSSES HER DETERMINATION TO GUESS THE MASKED DANCERS
The series is back. What can we expect from series two?
This series is amazing. I think the standard of dancing is higher. There’s a lot more diversity in the style of dances that the contestants are doing and we have a new panellist joining us, Peter Crouch who has been lots of fun.
How well is Peter doing with his guesses?
He’s loving it. It’s also really nice not to be the new person. Peter’s been brilliant and a fantastic addition to the panel. Jonathan is getting very competitive with me this season, which I love. Peter’s really good as well – he hears one clue and just goes down a rabbit hole, but it’s a brilliant rabbit hole. His knowledge is incredible. His guesses are really good.
Now you have a season already under your belt, do you feel that you’re able to spot the clues?
No and I get so frustrated, I just want to know who they are. Although, in a way, it’s like a win-win situation, because when I get someone right it’s great but then when I don’t I really enjoy the surprise of the reveal. For me the reveal is my favourite part. There have been some reveals where my jaw has dropped, it’s like, ‘Wow it’s you.’ I love it.
Intrigue: Oti also spoke about the challenges of not being able to hear the celebrities’ voices on the show – unlike its sister show The Masked Singer – and said her celebrity knowledge from her podcast helps her identify the stars
How hard is it not being able to hear the voice?
It’s so hard. The clues can lead you to anyone and most of the time you just have to go off a specific clue and then try and make the other clues fit. There are lots of clues and it can really help you hone your guesses when Joel gives us some extra clues on each show.
Do you get any lightbulb moments when you’ve left the studio that makes you think, ‘oh I now know who that is?’
Yes, Davina and I text all the time trying to guess who they are. Davina is my co-detective on the show. Backstage she and I are throwing ideas around on who the celebrities could be. She’s the person I go to with my ideas. I honestly don’t stop thinking about the show.
Is there a character this year who you are desperate to know who it is?
There are some incredible dancers in this series, but I just don’t know who they are. I can’t figure them out. They’re so brilliant.
Do you think you’ve been better at deciphering the clues in this series?
No. They’ve made them much harder because they know the panel knows lots of people in the entertainment industry. They’ve made it really hard because it could be someone that I’ve worked with before and I’d know their movements, like with Craig Revel Horwoord who was Knickerbocker Glory in the first season. I guessed him because he has a very distinctive walk that I had observed lots of times. Not everyone would have known that.
Due to your dancing background do you think you pick up on the celebrities movement, more than say the other panellists?
It’s not just their movement. I have a podcast where I talk to celebrities and I know their history and things that other people don’t necessarily know about them. I’m really interested in stuff like that and you never know when this information is going to come useful on this show.
Without giving anything away are there any standout moments that you can tease?
It’s back! For the first time, when the programme airs this autumn, a duo will compete for the first time dressed as Pillar and Post, whose outfit features one person wrapped in letters and another dressed as a bright red post box
I think this season their personalities are really out there. Stand out moments is seeing Pearly King with Joel. Pearly King is an absolute character, a big personality. It’s not about how they dance but how they interact with Joel and how Joel reacts to them.
Being a dancer, does it amaze you at how the celebrities dance in these costumes?
It’s incredible what they do. Whilst it is hard, when they are unmasked and you see the smiles on their faces, you know, it’s all worth it. You can actually see the joy on their faces.
Have you been surprised by who is hiding behind the masks?
Yes definitely. Viewers will be shocked by the reveals. There was literally one where I didn’t speak because I was so gobsmacked. I just couldn’t fathom how they were literally on the show dancing!
DAVINA MCCALL SAYS SHE TEXTS OTI IN THE NIGHT TO SHARE GUESSES
What can viewers expect from series two?
What I’ve realised during my Masked entertainment journey is that I like it even more when I am so desperately confused about who is hiding behind the mask. We record it beforehand, so we can’t watch what’s happening on social media and can’t get any clues.
Oti and I message all of the time; it was midnight the other night when Oti sent me random pictures of people and asked ‘same body shape as…….? I mean, we’re just literally clutching at straws, but I am having such a hoot.
I think being on the panel for The Masked Singer Live and being able to see the audience up close, I’ve realised that the audience don’t really care who is in the costume, they just love the masks, the dancing, it’s so fun. It’s the whole spectacle of it.
The sets and the backing dancers’ costumes are hilarious. There aren’t many shows where the backing dancers are dressed as giant eggs. It’s quite bonkers. But then last week I was watching a performance from one of our masked celebrities that made me cry and you think, ‘This is crazy’.
Determined: Davina (pictured with Cactus) said: ‘Oti and I message all of the time; it was midnight the other night when Oti sent me random pictures of people and asked ‘same body shape as…? I mean, we’re just literally clutching at straws, but I am having such a hoot’
Is Masked Dancer harder?
That’s the appeal of Dancer in that it is much harder. Which makes it in turn funnier. You know, it could be Mary Berry! Who knows. We’ve had some quite amazing people on this series, with the reveals making our jaws drop.
Jonathan has literally met everybody. He will see something quite quickly but he can’t get everybody on Dancer, which is really good. When he says that he thinks he’s guessed someone, do you want me to tell you? I always say, no, don’t tell me because it’s a lot more fun when you don’t know.
I like that it’s tougher. With The Masked Dancer there are some amazing costumes where you really can see the physicality of a person. I enjoy that side of it. I’ve spent several weeks trying to work out whether some of the characters are male or female.
Do you think the clues are harder this series?
I don’t think they’re any harder. I just think that Dancer by the sheer fact that it’s more difficult, but that’s what I like about it. When we’re taken down a path with the clues, that’s actually inaccurate or can be interpreted in so many different ways it’s actually really clever.
Why did you think the Masked Dancer really captured the nation?
Masked Dancer and Masked Singer are formats that everybody loves. So a three year old loves it and an eighty year old loves it. There are not many shows that everybody can hand on heart sit down in front of the television and say we all love this programme as a family.
Generally speaking, if your three year old wants to watch something, you watch it and think, ‘Oh for the love of God, I’m doing this for the kids’, but The Masked Singer/Dancer series’ are good, fun family entertainment that appeals to all ages from toddlers and grandmas which is brilliant. Secondly, the world has worked in our favour.
We had lockdown and television was our lifeline, so in a sense people really got used to us and we’ve embedded ourselves into the national psyche now. It’s a format that’s fun and everybody can watch. I think once again this kind of appointment to view on programme television is going to have a comeback. Just because of the sheer economy of life. You know, times are hard and this is the show you want when times are hard, it’s funny, it’s uplifting, it’s engaging and it’s exciting.
So how is it having Peter Crouch step in for Mo Gilligan this series?
Well, I mean, apart from making me the most popular person ever with all my male friends. My son was so excited. He’s given me massive kudos with all the men and female football fans in my life. So I’m really pleased about that.
How are his guesses?
It’s quite nice because he and I struggle quite a lot, but he’s actually done quite well.
And tell us about the costumes, what are they like this year? Are they even more bonkers?
I think they are really colourful, really bright, extremely clever, the way that they’ve been designed and made so that people are completely unrecognisable. You can’t tell if it’s padded in places, you can’t tell if a costume is very thick or if it’s super thin. You don’t know anything about that person’s physique, it doesn’t really give you any clues. So that’s very clever. I also think hats off to our dancers because we film The Masked Dancer in spring/summer and it’s hot and dancing makes you even hotter. The designers have to think of a million different things in order to help these people get through it. I’ve got to just also say major kudos for all the backing dancers and the choreographer because the choreography is brilliant. And the backing dancers are dressed up in the best outfits ever. It’s brilliant.
Are there any standout moments that you can tease?
Yes, there are some amazing performances and one that was so beautiful it made me cry.
Do you think that the celebrities have upped their game? Is the dancing better?
What I love about this show is that everybody gives it 100%. It’s interesting, there are no half measures. I think there is something about being behind a mask which means that a celebrity is less encumbered with self consciousness and will definitely kind of give 100% in everything that they do and we’ve seen that in every series. It can be embarrassing dancing but when you’ve got a mask on it isn’t, they just go for it. It’s brilliant.
When you leave the studio do you find yourself having a lightbulb moment with names of potential celebs popping into your head?
Yes. I mean, I definitely take clues away with me and I think who could that be? I think about it nonstop. It’s exhausting.
JONATHAN ROSS SAYS THERE IS ONE STAR ANOTHER PANELIST SHOULD GUESS
What can viewers expect from series two?
It looks amazing. The costumes are, I think, even better than ever. The characters are wonderful. They’ll be characters that the kids fall in love with and some really cool characters that I think the grown ups will love. The people under the masks are even more impressive and harder to guess.
And why do you think this series has won the heart of the nation?
I think people love Masked Singer and Masked Dancer because there’s so much fun and there’s no meanness onstage, there’s nothing really at stake. The problem with a lot of big talent shows, even though I love them, is even though you want to see people win, when you see people who don’t win you can sometimes feel a bit sad. So it’s bittersweet. On this show the people involved are already successful and come along because they want to have fun and they want us to have fun watching. I think it’s just a kind of win, win.
You came out on top in The Masked Singer with your guesses, how well have you been doing on The Masked Dancer?
Who could it be? Jonathan (pictured with duo Pillar and Post) also teased that there is one contestant who he believes another panelist should have got correct, as he hinted that it could be a close pal of one of the panel
You know what, there are some real surprises. There is one person at least who, when they get unmasked they were such a surprise because you’d have thought that they would have picked The Masked Singer but they did it deliberately because they knew that we’d all think that. They had the panel stumped and none of us guessed them.
Do you think it’s harder to guess the celebrities on The Masked Dancers than Masked Singer?
Well, it is and it isn’t. I mean, it is in that you don’t have a kind of actual example of what they do or what is kind of natural to them but in some ways, I think it’s got easier as we know to pay so much more attention to the clues. You do have to learn how to ignore some of the clues, because some are designed to take you in the wrong direction. There is one person who I think I’ve guessed, not because I know how they dance particularly, but I know how they move. There’s something quite distinctive about their movement. So I think in some ways it’s easier, but at the same time overall, both the shows are hard. I’m kind of glad about that. If it were too easy, it wouldn’t be fun.
Did you think you’ve got an advantage because you know and have interviewed every person on the planet?
No I don’t have an advantage because I may have met everyone but bear in mind I’m older than everyone else on the panel so I’ve forgotten almost everyone I’ve ever met!
How is it having Peter Crouch stepping in for Mo?
It’s great. I mean, we love Mo and can’t wait for him to return to the panel, but Pete has been great. So much fun. The audience loved him. He’s having a great time. He’s so lovely to work with and he’s very funny. We do make him do the robot (Pete’s signature dance move) a lot. So he’s doing a lot of dancing. He’s throwing more moves than the rest of us.
Can you tell us a bit about the characters? You mentioned earlier that they are bigger and better.
There are some really lovely costumes that catch the eye. Sea Slug, I know when you say Sea Slug you don’t think it’s going to be very pretty, but Sea Slug is very glamorous, very sexy and very sophisticated. I think viewers will love Sea Slug. Scissors is amazing. They have an amazing physique and an amazing physicality about them and the costume is really slinky and fun. One of my favourites this year is Pig. Pig is such a sweet, lovely costume. There is such a lovely energy about the way Pig dances. Tomato Sauce is cute and flirty and has got a little twirly skirt on and throws a few signature moves. There’s so many great characters. Astronaut is the one I think probably had the hardest costume to dance with, because it’s like a big thick Astronaut suit, but they did a great job as well.
Do you think you’re better at deciphering the clues in this series?
The problem with the clues is once you think you’ve got an idea, if the clues half fit that idea then you talk yourself into guessing the wrong person with even greater enthusiasm. A lot of the clues are deliberately designed to work for a number of people so they are not so specifically spot on that it can only be one person. Normally there are different ways of interrupting clues. On the one hand, yes I think I have been better and on the other hand it’s not always helped me.
Without giving anything away, are there any standout moments you can tease?
There’s someone about to be unmasked who I think I’ve got correct and I think someone on the panel should definitely have guessed them but they haven’t. Like on The Masked Singer earlier this year, Rita Ora failed to guess Jamie Winstone who is a really close friend. So I like it when that kind of thing happens, it will be a fun moment for the audience.
When you leave the studio do you find yourself having a lightbulb moment with names of potential celebs popping into your head?
A little bit because you mull over the information you’ve got. So if for example the clues seem to point to someone who was in the charts at the same time as someone else, you’ll be racking your brains thinking what other music was I listening to then? Is that person still relevant? Then they get unmasked and you find out none of that counted for anything. So you’ve wasted a lot of time. You do find yourself thinking about it afterwards and trying to run through the clues again and see if they can fit in a different direction.
PETER CROUCH SPEAKS ABOUT JOINING THE ITV SHOW
The show’s back. What’s it like joining the panel on the most bonkers dance party on TV?
It’s madness. Completely different to anything that I’ve ever done before. My kids love the show. I played football for England and Liverpool, I played in Cup finals, played in the Premier League and played in World Cups but my kids, the only thing they want to talk to me about is The Masked Dancer. They absolutely love it. They came and watched one of the shows and absolutely loved it and it’s all they’ve talked about since.
Was that one of the reasons you wanted to do it?
Yes. I had a football career, which I absolutely loved and now I’m doing things because they look like they’re going to be a lot of fun. I feel in a real privileged position to be able to do that. I just absolutely love doing The Masked Dancer, it’s loads of fun. No one’s taking themselves too seriously and the dancers are just really going for it. My kids are just so proud of me which is great.
Is it what you expected it to be?
It’s probably more mad than I thought and more secretive than I thought. Literally no one knows. We’re constantly asking the production team trying to get clues throughout the whole day but no one will say anything. I also didn’t realise quite how serious I’d be taking it, you know. Oti and I are quite competitive and it’s sort of taken over my life a bit because I’m constantly thinking wherever I am, ‘Who’s the Prawn?’
Do you find that even when you leave the show each night, you’re still thinking about it?
Definitely you think about it all the time. Even now in the back of my mind I am sitting thinking I might have guessed one of them and now I’m thinking of things that relate the clues to this particular person, I need to go and write it all down before I forget. So yes it has taken over but it’s a lot of fun.
Amusing: Peter has found out that his signature ‘Robot’ celebration that he used during his playing career is less intense than the requirements for the smash-hit show, admitting he nearly injured his hamstring while copying one of the contestants
Were you surprised when the likes of Teddy Sheringham and Michael Owens took part?
Yes. Teddy Sheringham and I were on holiday together and he never said a thing. I work with Micheal Owen and Glenn Hoddle and everyone at work was totally flabbergasted by both of them. We knew Glenn could sing but with Michael we had no clue that he was hiding in a doughnut costume.
How are your guesses now you’re on the panel?
I’m finding it tough but I feel like I’m doing alright. I’m pretty certain on a couple. There are some that I strongly think I’ve guessed correctly and others where I have no clue. I think I’m doing ok.
How are you finding the clues?
The clues are so hard. Even some of the ones unmasked, I think back at the clues and try to see how they relate to that person. They are tough, but the clues are all there. It’s so clever how they are all linked to that one person.
How have you been getting on with the other panel?
It’s a really good dynamic. I’m the new boy, but I’ve moved clubs so many times in football I’m quite used to that anyway. Everyone’s just been so friendly. Jonathan and Davina, they have both been in this world for so long and are absolute legends at what they do. Oti’s been lovely, she’s the proper dance critic. And Joel’s fantastic at what he does. He always brings a smile to everyone’s face. I’ve really got on well with the group and it’s been fun.
Do you have a favourite character?
I like Scissors and Pearly King, they bring a smile to people’s faces.
What do you think of this year’s contestants?
There are some fantastic dancers and it’s an absolute privilege to see. It’s hard and fair play to everyone who’s done it. It’s fun to watch.
Are you trying to sneak peaks at them as they leave the stage to see if you can see any clues as to who it could be?
Oh, yeah. During their performance Onomatopoeia was next to me when they started their routine and I was trying to see through the costume, which you can’t. We’re trying to get clues all the time.
What was it like seeing those costumes the first time?
It’s amazing. I don’t know how you would dance in them. The costumes are amazing but how they are managing to dance is incredible.
Without giving anything away. Are there any standout moments that you can tease?
One of the character’s did a dance which when I turned around I saw that Davina was quite emotional about the music and the standard of the dance. Another character did a routine that had lots of lifts and difficult moves which was impressive to watch.
We’ve never had a duo before so was that a shock when you first saw them?
Yes it was. We’re not sure if it’s a television couple, a radio couple, Ant and Dec. Is it an actual couple, like a real life couple, is it a father and son or father and daughter? When you see a couple on stage, so many things go through your head.
MO GILLIGAN DISCUSSES HANDING OVER THE BATON AS PANELIST TO PETER
Are you missing being on the panel this series?
I miss it. You get into a routine every couple of months and you see the rest of the gang. You start getting prepared on who it could possibly be, who you might have bumped into that might have been a bit hesitant and who might have unwittingly, given you a little clue. I have missed it.
You’ve handed the baton to Peter, how’s he’s getting on?
Peter’s great. I’ve met Peter before and I know he’s got a couple of moves and it’s great. He’s definitely holding it down.
You join this series as a guest panellist and a little birdy tells me you don’t know anything about the character’s this series, do they keep everything so secretive?
Yes it’s always like this. There are no hints or clues, you don’t see anything around. There’s nothing. Until you get on the stage, then you’re like ‘oh my gosh, these are the characters’. You get absolutely no clues at all but it makes us all so much more determined to try and correctly guess who they are.
Guest: Although Peter has taken over as a panelist, Mo will still return to screens for The Masked Dancer, as he will make an appearance as a guest panelist for one show
The guessing can get competitive, do you think Peter will want to win?
Yes because he comes from a sporting background. Everyone I’ve met from sport is always competitive when they are on any kind of show. He might be quietly secretly competitive, deep down he’s going to want to win.
Your back for one show this series, was it nice to be back?
So pleased to be back with the rest of the gang, we have a lot of fun on this show so to be back with everyone, I was really looking forward to it.
Have the panel given you any tips on who they think could be hiding inside the costumes?
No. Whenever there’s a guest panellist we never give them any clues so they go into it completely fresh as they’ve not seen anything. You also find the guest panellists are really good without even needing any clues.
Do you find it harder guessing a dancer than a singer?
The Masked Dancer is so hard. With The Masked Singer at least we can hear the voice. For Dancer there are so many clues, is the stage the clue is Joel a clue? It’s so hard.
Will we get to see some of your dancing moves?
100%. One thing I love about this show is getting my dad dancing moves on, I’m not even a dad, but I’m representing the dad dancing at home. That’s one of the things I love about this show, the playlist selection is always top tier and The Masked Dancer makes you want to dance as well. You get so into the performances you forget you have to guess as well.
Have you been grilling any one of your guests on your talk show to see if they slip up and reveal that they could be a Masked Dancer?
I don’t trust anyone. No one can be trusted. It could be my mum behind the mask, I have no idea!
You did really well with your guessing on The Masked Singer? You even managed to guess Charlotte Church due to her boots.
Sometimes on this show there are big clues that production goes above and beyond to protect but sometimes it’s the smaller things like people’s wedge boots that you notice. So I’ll be looking out for people’s footwear!
Are you looking forward to being back in the seat for The Masked Singer?
Definitely. I’m really looking forward to joining the gang again. Obviously The Masked Dancer is great, we did The Masked Singer Live as well and it was great to see how the audience connected with the characters. It’s the only show I do where people in the street come up to me and say, ‘who’s that person or that person’ and this is grown adults. I love how it has become a guilty pleasure. So definitely, looking forward to being back in the seat for The Masked Singer.
JOEL DOMMETT DISCUSSES HIS ‘BOND’ WITH DANCER PEARLY KING
We’re back, what can viewers expect from series 2?
Bigger and better than ever really. I think we’ve gone full ham for weirdness. It’s really incredible and the names are bigger and better than ever I think. There’s more clues and more dancing.
You often say that you can hear the celebrities giggling in their costumes at the panel’s guesses. Is there lots more of that in this series?
Yes, there’s lots of that. There’s also lots of panting with Masked Dancer that you don’t get on Masked Singer because obviously, they’re very tired at the end of it. So there’s a lot of heavy breathing. So whereas everyone else is trying to guess with the clues, I’m trying to guess who it is from their heavy panting. One particular character, Pearly King, makes a lot of noise in their costume, whatever they’re doing they’re having a lot of fun.
Hit show: The Masked Dancer, hosted by Joel Dommett (pictured with Odd Socks), is set to return to screens next month as 12 stars conceal their identities beneath extravagant costumes and bewilder the panelists and viewers
The other panelists have said that you and Pearly King have a unique relationship?
I don’t really know what’s going on. Sometimes I don’t really know whether it’s sort of a father and son relationship or whether it’s sort of a flirting relationship. I’m not really sure what is going on, but it’s very dynamic.
Do you think it’s harder for the panel to guess on The Masked Dancer than on The Masked Singer?
It’s definitely harder but there’s so many more clues. There’s so many more games that we play now to help with the guessing, with extra clues up for grabs, which I think is quite fun. It’s difficult and the spectacle of it is so odd that I think sometimes the panel forget about the guessing because you’re just watching the madness in front of you. It’s so fun and there’s some incredible dancing happening as well.
Can we expect to see some spectacular performances?
Yes. It’s just the way that some people can move in these costumes. To move like that outside of the costumes would be a feat but the fact that they’re doing it with a massive head on is bizarre. I can barely move in these suits, let alone what the masked celebrities are moving in. I think people who are looking for a dance show won’t be disappointed.
Talking about outlandish costumes, can we expect to see more colourful suits from you, this series?
Yes absolutely one is very pink and has a Pink Panther vibe. We’ve gone for some very bright ones, especially for the final we’ve gone all out. It’s an exciting array.
Do you still get to pick them and help to design them?
Yes. I love it. It’s a really fun part of it. I love putting it all together and helping to make sure that we get the right mix of crazy and interesting and making it feel different for each episode. We’re reusing suits as well, so that’s really nice. It’s one of my favourite parts of the whole process.
We have a new panellist this year, how is Peter settling in?
Peter has been so good. He’s really taking it seriously. He’s a sportsman so he wants to win and that’s made him a great sportsman and also a good detective on the show. He’s very good at it. He just loves piecing together all of the clues. What makes me laugh the most is when all of the panel stand up, because Peter is so tall there is such a huge gap between the table and his legs that you could fit a whole person through the gap. He is so tall.
Other than Pearly King, are there any other characters that you think the audience are going to love?
Costumes: This year’s Masked Dancers will include Sea Slug, Pig, Pearly King, Onomatopoeia, Tomato Sauce and Cactus
There’s some great ones. Pearly King is a really great costume. I also really like Scissors, because it’s very simple. I do think that Pearly King is my absolute favourite. They’re really good and embrace the whole character. It’s amazing and what makes this show wonderful is that it’s not really in any way a talent show. You can be an amazing singer or dancer, but Pearly King isn’t the best dancer by country mile but he’s embracing it and courts the audience, he’s really enjoying it and I think that can get you really far. The more you enjoy it, the more people enjoy watching you. It’s really fun.
How have your guesses been?
Terrible! I’m terrible at guessing on the show. I’m really happy that I’m the host of it and not on the panel because I would get absolutely nowhere.
Do we get to see more of your signature dance moves?
There’s loads this year, actually. I think you’d have to put the word dance in quotation marks because I don’t know whether technically it’s dance. Like Pearly King, I put in all of my effort and I look like I’m enjoying myself and that’s the main thing as for whether it’s good or not…I’ll leave that up to you all to decide.
Without giving anything away. Are there any standout moments that you can tease?
One of the characters does the splits and that was very exciting. I tried it afterwards and almost pulled a hamstring. Onomatopoeia is another great costume and this person is a great dancer. They can really move, so I’m excited to see who is hiding behind the mask because I have absolutely no idea.
https://www.soundhealthandlastingwealth.com/celebrity/oti-mabuse-reveals-she-and-davina-mccall-text-to-work-out-the-stars-identities-on-the-masked-dancer/ Oti Mabuse reveals she and Davina McCall text to work out the stars’ identities on The Masked Dancer